Is Celibacy Right For Me? Interview with Dr. Gardos

Healthy Relationships, Q&A with Dr. Gardos, Sex Ed, Sex Tips

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Is Celibacy Right For Me?What kind of women is celibacy for? What are the benefits of celibacy?

Celibacy is great for any woman who is looking to examine or redefine her relationship with her sexuality (even if it is just temporarily). For almost anyone, taking some time to become more conscious, aware and mindful about the role sex plays in your life can be of value.

Should women worry that if you don’t “use it,” you “lose it?”

There is actually some truth to that. Recent research on female desire shows that it is very different from the linear model of men’s arousal. For many women, desire comes AFTER arousal, so it is more about receptivity and responsiveness. In fact, when visualized, this new view of female sexuality does not look like the standard “climb” but more like a circle, with positive experiences and sensations feeding into more desire and arousal, sort of like a fly-wheel. Once that fly-wheel comes to a stop, it can take quite a bit to start it up again, especially if the woman is in a relationship. However, this need not be the case (see next answer)…

How can you keep your desire for sex in check if you want to be celibate?

Really, it is not about keeping your desire in check, it is about being mindful about your actions. What you need to do is define what celibacy means to you. Ask yourself what you are hoping to get from this period of time. Is it to focus more on a personal or career goal without distractions? To learn more about what you authentically want? Or perhaps simply avoid repeating previous mistakes such as jumping into a new relationship too soon? In many situations, you can legitimately be “celibate” while still being completely fulfilled sexually. You may decide, for example, that you would rather not engage in partnered activities, but that masturbation and sex toys don’t stand in the way of your “vows.” Maybe you feel that you can flirt or even make out but want to draw the line at intercourse. There is no right or wrong way to do it. In fact, I recommend starting with something easy, for a limited period of time, then reevaluate and adjust your program based on what is and isn’t working for you. If you go overboard and promise yourself things like you won’t have a single sexual thought, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Is there anything sexy about being celibate?

Absolutely! It is in the contrasts that eroticism lives. No matter how much you enjoy something, after a while you become accustomed to it and it no longer has such a strong effect. Think of the last time you walked into a room and noticed a pleasant smell. How long were you aware of it? A few seconds? A minute? By taking a break from certain activities we can come to appreciate them more, especially when we start up again.

Perhaps even more importantly, real passion comes from temptation and overcoming obstacles. The forbidden can be very enticing. If you know you can’t do something, you may find yourself desiring it all the more. In fact, don’t be surprised if you become a magnet for men once you decide to be celibate; men like a challenge, while you instantly come across as less needy and therefore more sexy!

Dr. Sandor Gardos is a licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist and founder of

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