The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


The question of celibacy, or sexual abstinence, has come up several times in posts and e-mails recently, so I thought I'd address it. In general, I think that it can be an absolutely first-rate idea, a way of saving energy and investing it in healing and growth. Especially if there have been heart, body, or sexual wounds, the chances of investing yourself in inappropriate, demeaning, meaningless or just plain damaging sexual relationships is substantial. In such cases, it is better to sit out a few innings,take stock, heal, and re-connect with yourself.
After all, our sexual relationships are mirrors of our inner relationships, the balance of male and female within. Sexual promiscuity (seems) to often be linked to inappropriately early sexual activity, or a betrayal in the home space. I've stopped being surprised at the women I've known who were super-hot items in the bedroom, and later revealed that they were molested or raped by family members. Ugh. It's almost as if a hole was torn in their hearts, and they are bleeding all over the bed sheets. With men, well, I know of some cases of abuse there, as well. It seems to manifest in a revulsion of their own body image, a bizarrely warped reality map of their own physical presence, such that they work out like crazy, and still look obese. Heart wounds can have the same effect.
A little closer to home, my own wife, Tananarive, made a commitment that she would abstain from sex until she was in love with someone who would actually love her in return. The result was a happy marriage. There are few things more demoralizing than sharing your sexuality with someone who does not care a whit about your well-being, and few things more healing than healthy, lusty, sweaty, no-holds-barred, Hot-DAMN! Sex with someone who is, at the very least, a genuine friend, someone who cares about you, and genuinely treasures your time together. That should be the bottom line, folks. My own pattern? Throughout most of my life, I've tried to treat women as I would want someone to treat my my sister, daughter, or mother. If I wouldn't take a call at 3:00 in the morning from a past lover in emotional need, then she shouldn't be a past lover. What was I doing with her? Only once (well, maybe twice) did I ever end up in bed with someone where I regretted it, knew I'd made a real mistake. Ah, well, we learn as we go.
At any rate, we're going to start delving into the Soulmate process, the path that brought me the love of my life, a process I have detected in dozens of other successful relationships. The right man or woman can be a superlative medicine for an ailing heart. See you then.


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