Conscious Celibacy Vs. Not Getting Laid by Janet Raftis.
Something strange is afoot.
I don’t want to have sex. I mean, I do, of course; sex is awesome. In fact, I’d love to have sex. The difference is that the type of sex I’ve used as a crutch in the past just doesn’t sound appealing anymore. And that’s not to say there was anything wrong with that and I am in no way judging or condemning casual sex. It has definitely served a wonderful and fulfilling-in-many-ways purpose in my life. Some of the best sex I’ve had has in fact been outside of a formalized relationship. The reason that it doesn’t attract me anymore is completely beyond the scope of a kiss or even an orgasm. It has to do with me.
For many years there was a part of me that didn’t feel like I deserved to have it all. I would allow in bits and pieces but I would never permit a full consummation. So, if I really liked the person and the sex was great, there might be a level of emotional unavailability involved. And if the person really liked me, I might not want to be fully available. The dynamics could shift, but it was never all-inclusive.
Many of my trysts were mostly secret because the element of covert affections naturally dictated that the level of emotional involvement remained safe and stunted. I found safety in clandestine affairs as the very secrecy itself worked as a shield over my heart. I really didn’t have to risk a whole lot, and risk in love was a very scary idea to me. If I “lost”, my shame would be public and it would prove my lack of self-worth in a very open forum. That was not something I was willing to deal with in most cases.
For me, I had the whole sexual empowerment thing wrong. The reason I say “for me” is that I believe each woman and man to be different and what doesn’t work for me might really work for someone else. I believed for many, many years that casual sex – fucking – was empowered sex, and that was because I was very disempowered when it came to the experience. Even before I was raped, sex was confusing to me. It didn’t come from my parents – they’ve been mostly happily married for almost 50 years, but it was present from a young age. I imagine that it comes from growing up in a society that objectifies women as sexual objects in powerful forums such as media and print ad. Even before adolescence I equated being desired by another as validation and power. And I was not attractive as a young girl. I had really puffy hair and braces and acne. I was an insecure mess and all I wanted was to be desirable. I believed that to understand how that fit into the sexual game was the necessary key to being a bigger and better me.
After being raped, I cried my way through sex with men that I cared about, completely shut down and disassociated from my body. I remember once thinking that I had reached the point of raping myself every time I engaged in sex. I would watch from above as my psyche betrayed me. It was much easier to not have deep feelings towards anyone. By remaining emotionally distanced from the man, I could attempt to wield a power that I felt I didn’t have. It was a clumsy attempt at not feeling vulnerable. If the sex was casual, I could have perceived control in the situation. When there was hurt because emotions towards the person later arose, as can happen when being intimate with someone, I would choke them back and deny them with all of my heart.
If, God forbid I did like someone from the outset, I would unconsciously create some sort of distance between us. This typically manifested with men that were emotionally unavailable. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t have them because I just couldn’t have them. Then I could have some sort of control over the lack of control. This often manifested as a variation of the covert affair situation. There was a sense of security with respect to my self-worth within that configuration, as it shifted the responsibility from me to someone else. I was not aware of this at the time – this has all been learned as I’ve done the work to really get into my subconscious programming in order to liberate it.
This is not a reflection of the men out there. I’m sure that there are plenty of good ones. The truth of the matter, though, is that I haven’t been able to find one that is good with me. My story with the unavailable type tended to go something like this: I would find a good man who would tell me that I was awesome and great and that he couldn’t believe how wonderful it was that he met me. He would tell me that I was pretty and sweet and that he loved spending time with me. He would touch me and hold me and say nice things to me and draw me in. And then the shoe would drop, and I’d find myself on the outside looking in.
I was recently granted the opportunity to view this pattern completely. At the time it really hurt and I felt completely out of control with respect to the situation. When the familiar scenario began to play itself out, I realized that it was time to be done with these old worn out patterns; they had far out-stayed their welcome. I’m grateful for it, painful as it was. I had been doing all kinds of healing work to get to the point where I could finally have a mutually uplifting romantic partner experience. I was healing and growing and rediscovering myself in a new way, and so when this pattern popped up I was at least in the space to recognize it. I could actually see and feel that it was not in alignment with who I really felt myself to be. I saw myself behaving in ways that were no longer comfortable but that I almost couldn’t avoid. Through detached eyes I was able to see that this was an unconscious pattern that was stuck on the repeat button. I saw the dominos tracing back through time and decided I was ready to topple the stack.
I sat with the pain and did my best to communicate through it. I still fumbled, but with each stumble, I checked in with myself. What I realized was that if I want to have a wonderful, actualized, mutually loving, communicative, and uplifting relationship, I needed to do some more work to get there myself. I could only attract to the level that I was at or below, and what I wanted was vibrating a little higher than I was. It was time to get serious.
I realized that I was going to have to spend some really good quality time with myself. It was time to explore my terrain as an independent and empowered woman, to dig deep, to open and expand. I needed to do this before I got into relationship with someone, and sex from a disempowered place can confuse things for me. I want a relationship that has it all – a partner that I consider a best friend who is also a delightful lover. I want a man that knows what he wants and is living his soul purpose. I want a man that is so confident in himself that he has no doubts about us. In order to have all of that, though, I need to be all of that. And I couldn’t find that while looking for validation or a false sense of bravado through sex. Until I am fully and authentically empowered, sex cannot be fully and authentically empowered. I need to create space and then respect the space to learn and understand exactly what it is I want so that I don’t forsake it and therefore myself. Already I’ve been granted the opportunity to be tested, so to speak. I’m grateful to myself that I did what I needed to do to move through it while maintaining alignment with my current personal ideals.
And so I was lamenting to a dear friend my plight, which isn’t really a plight except that I have had less sex in the last year and a half than I have in the last many and that was feeling a little grim to me. And she asked me if I felt that conscious celibacy might feel a little better. Well, I’m still not getting laid, but yes, conscious celibacy seems like a much more empowering choice. The moment I stepped into that circle felt like a breath of fresh air along with a gentle and loving nudge of personal accountability. This is a space I can hang out in for a while.
When not running around with her 11 year old son or chasing after a member of their menagerie, Janet Raftis plays as an energy healer, psychic medium, and wellness coach. She focuses on helping women to break through fear and trauma that is holding them back from expressing their true selves and from finding their authentic and empowered voice. Writing is one of the tools that she has used to heal herself and to reach others. She has been featured on Manifest Station and elephant journal, and she maintains a personal blog as well.
Janet has a new website under construction (janetraftis.com), but until that is up and running, you can still reach out to her at either totemguidance.com or through her personal blog happilyyes.wordpress.com.