Celibacy refers to abstaining from sex. This can be for religious reasons, health reasons, because you aren’t in a committed relationship, or for a variety of other reasons. Choosing to practice abstinence is a highly personal decision that many people make on and off throughout their adult lives.
Adult virginity and celibacy are not typically studied, but the available data suggest that a near equal percentage of American men and women go through life sexless. In the 15–24 age bracket, it’s 27.2 percent of men and 28.6 percent of women, according to a survey conducted between 2006 and 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control. In the 25–44 bracket, the figures plunge but remain close together: 1.3 percent of women, 1.6 percent of men.
Some men and women claim to find mental clarity while celibate. Freeing the mind of thoughts of intercourse and focusing on work, health, and other healthy activities can give people a better outlook on life. Others don’t engage in sex but practice masturbation as a way to release sexual energy. Most people don’t consider foreplay as “sexual acts” and continue to engage in kissing and other intimate acts. Those who practice celibacy can do so for weeks, months, or years. It is up to you how to conduct your sex life.
As long as you are protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy and are happy with your sex life (as is your partner), the amount of sex you are or aren’t having isn’t important. Celibacy works great for some people and not so well for others.
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