Single and Celibate

by Jen

By Kristin Naff

The world is full of advice for singles. Unfortunately, most of this advice involves tips for casual sex or seducing beautiful women through hypnosis. The fact is that “single” doesn’t always mean “celibate.” Although being both single and celibate in today’s world can be difficult, there are ways to make it easier.

First, remember why. For religious people, the “why” for chastity is easily answered, but what about the “why” for being single? Is it a lack of opportunity? Is there something more important to focus on? You can be single by default, but chastity is a conscious and ongoing choice. A clear purpose can strengthen your resolve.

Second, don’t believe everything you see in the media. The need for drama in television often paints a false picture of reality. Even if you stand firm in your beliefs, some television shows and magazines can create a sense of pressure and isolation. Contrary to popular belief, celibate singles do exist! If you’re faced with this kind of pressure, find some alternative media. Check out small presses, indie ‘zines, e-zines, podcasts, or NPR instead. You can ditch high-pressure media without living like a monk.

Third, become part of something bigger. Couples tend to feel that their relationship is something bigger than themselves as individuals, and most people long for that kind of a greater connection. Try volunteering. It is a great thing to know that you are making a difference to a person, a family, or a community.

Fourth, meet lots of people. If it seems like everyone you know is pairing off or hooking up, you might just need a wider circle of acquaintances. The more people you know, the more likely you are to meet other celibate singles who sympathize with the challenges. If you don’t know where to start meeting new people, join a local club or organization.

Fifth, get a hobby. It is more difficult to feel pressured about sex when your mind is occupied with other things. Sports or other forms of exercise can improve your health and elevate your mood. If you’re looking for something more hands-on, try painting, basket weaving, bookbinding, or cooking. You can usually find classes to get you started, or you can contact organizations such as the Colored Pencil Society of America or the International Jugglers’ Association.

Sixth, speak out! In a society where chastity is uncommon, many people will assume that you share their views. Holding your silence may help you blend in, but if someone is saying something to you that goes against what you believe, let that person know how you feel. It is possible to be assertive without being mean or preachy. If you are nervous about this, saying “I appreciate your thoughts, but I’ve made a choice to be celibate” is a good start. Keep it simple. You can manage the situation gracefully without going into your reasons (although it is perfectly okay to state them if you are asked.) Avoid blaming or judging others verbally, as this can cause friction, especially in groups. You have a right to walk away from a situation in which you feel uncomfortable.

Lastly, never compromise yourself for the sake of popularity or “love.” It will not make things easier. Someone who “loves” you but does not respect your decisions will not make a good friend or future husband. You–or the person people think you are–might gain some short-term acceptance from acting against your beliefs, but it is more difficult in the long run, and not worth the regret. Remaining chaste and single can be difficult, but remember, you are not alone.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheryl September 21, 2007 at 6:26 am

This was fantastic! I have faced all types of pressure and ridicule for my stand of abstinance before marriage these past (long!!) 6 years of being single again. Tough to live right in these times!


Anonymous October 1, 2007 at 11:59 am

What a fine article! When the Bible say we are “living in critical times, hard to deal with” that includes the sex-drenched world we are in now. When asked if you date, I find saying I am not a casual dater is an opener to discussing marriage and waiting for marital sex,etc. Hope this helps someone live up to their Christian vows, S/B I know it’d hard, keep up the good work.

Jehovah knows best for us.


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