In the current age of instant gratification and entitlement, the choice to remain celibate from sex can be seen as delusional. However, I find it quite easy to do, and so do many others.
One of my Facebook groups ran a poll on how many members were also celibate from sex. I was surprised to find so many others were also celibate for many years. A lot of the reasons they listed for their celibacy were the same as mine.
People listed coming out of bad relationships or a string of bad relationships. A fear of contracting one of the many STIs that are rampant. Not meeting anyone of interest. Being opposed to any kind of casual sexual encounters. All these are reasons why I too am celibate.
Yet, there is one important reason I have that is the basis for all my future reasons for remaining celibate: my past sexual traumas.
In previous Odysessy pieces, I've talked about how my past sexual traumas have affected me currently. I've also talked about ways I'm trying to rectify my ignorance of sexual education in general. I've even given brief glimpses into my exploration of kink/BDSM, my bisexuality, and my asexuality.
What I haven't talked about are the actual sexual traumas I've endured as a child. I used to talk about them often, but stopped when people around me stopped listening, and blamed me for what happened.
I grew up never understanding men and boys' reactions to me. I've always had a naturally large bust size. Boys at school teased and tortured me for how fat and ugly and dark skinned I was. Men however made disgusting comments about my body and frequently came onto me and/or followed me. I was the constant sexual fixation of older men.
As much as I do not relate to guys my own age due to their bullying of me all my life in school, the alternative of being with an older man reminds me of all the older guys who would constantly yell at me from cars, follow me around, and the man who sexually assaulted me in my basement.
I grew up in a two-family house on Cleveland's upper east side. At one time, a young family moved upstairs from us. A man, his girlfriend, and their two children.
There wasn't a day I didn't go outside where the man upstairs wasn't looking at me. I often saw him with a beer in his hand as he watched me play from his porch. Even when his girlfriend introduced my brother and me to their two children, the man only watched me. It made his sporadic casual touches of my arm or him asking me anything - even about stuff I should tell him as a fellow occupant of the house - extra uncomfortable.
My mom went to college and worked so my brother and I were latchkey kids. I'll never forget the Thursday night I went down in our daddy-long-leg spider infested basement to finish laundry before my mom got home for the night. The man upstairs was down there too. I thought he'd just creepily stare at me as usual before going back to his house, but instead, he started talking to me about how he always watched me and then he told me to look at his privates.
I was too stunned to say anything, I turned to go back upstairs when the next thing I knew I was on the cold basement floor, probably around a ton of daddy-long-leg spiders, while he was over me trying to get me to relax under him. That wasn't happening.
He smelled like liquor really bad and he was heavy on my tiny body and my back was cold on the basement floor and I'm scared of spiders. I just wanted to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer then run back upstairs so the spiders couldn't get me. My brother came down in the basement because I'd been down there too long and yelled at the man upstairs to get off me. Upon parting from me, the man was sorry I wouldn't relax, and promised when we were together again that he'd get me to.
This wasn't the only time I was assaulted in a basement by someone older than me.
I was friends with a little girl named Gabriel who lived about ten houses down from me. She had a 16-year-old brother Jermaine. My mother knew their mother casually, enough for us to be acquainted with them, but didn't like that I was so close friends with Gabriel because she was so much younger than me. Still, I went to her house one Saturday morning to play but she wasn't there. Jermaine was there, and he said she'd be back soon.
As I waited, Jermaine was all over me. Kissing me and touching me and saying he liked me. The kissing was okay. I didn't see him that way, but I was flattered an older and popular boy on our street liked me. I was curious about these boyfriends all the older girls on my street had. But he wanted to get naked with me and stuff, and I wasn't sure about that. I thought no one was ever supposed to see you naked.
Thankfully, Gabriel did come home, but only to pack some stuff because her aunts were taking her for the weekend. I tried to beg her to stay. I wanted to play, I wanted to tell her about her brother touching me. But her aunts arrived to take her.
I remember the ice cream man came. At some point, a few of Jermaine's friends showed up too. As I waved goodbye to Gabriel and started eating my ice cream, Jermaine said he had a foosball table in his basement. I didn't want to be alone with him again, but now that his friends were there, I didn't think he'd try anything.
Unfortunately, all of them were all over me in that basement. They tore off my clothes and tried to stick themselves inside of me. I kept closing my legs tight and threw my ice cream at them. I remember screaming and crying because they were laughing at me. My brother ended up coming and tried to get into the basement to me but Jermaine's friends locked him out. I was even more upset when my brother left, but he came back with my mother.
I was relieved when my mother chased Jermaine and the boys away, but then she came back and gave me a series of severe spankings. I shouldn't have been down in that basement. I shouldn't have been in their house. What was wrong with me? I ran home naked as my mom was right on my tail with the belt. When home I received more spanking.
Until I was a teenager I was not allowed to go five houses away from my house on either side of the street when I played outside. The only time I could was when my brother and I walked to the nearest store. Gabriel was only allowed to come down the street to play with me - I couldn't go see her anymore.
Both these assaults happened to me before I turned 13 years old. I hesitate to call them rapes because I honestly don't know if I'm still a virgin or not due to these situations. The hymen can be broken by any natural occurrence. I've even read that some are not born with hymens at all. I hope that I am still a virgin; my one wish was to share my body with someone I loved - instead of being forced or coerced into a sexual situation. But who knows how far all these guys got with me before I was rescued.
Perhaps the gritty truth of how far things went is locked in my still traumatized mind forever.
To this day, I still endure the constant barrages of older men coming onto me and following me. I'm propositioned at bus stops, on buses, on sidewalks, and at libraries. I can't get away from them. Everywhere I go, men are leering at me uncomfortably. A lot of them are extremely drunk, and some drink the same liquor as the man upstairs from me. I always tell people "I'm not here" because I don't want to be. That way men can't look at me anymore.
This is an extremely hard way to live as I want to be loved and valued by a man (and a woman) I connect with one day. When I was first accepting my sexuality, I came out as a lesbian. Why ever be with a man if their only good for sexual assaults and rapes? Could I live the rest of my life never having known what it would be like to be romantically loved by a man? To never be married? To never have consensual sex? Intellectually yes. But in my heart, no. So that's when I fully accepted that I was bi.
This still leaves me with my current celibate state. The last time I ever seriously considered voluntary having sex with a guy was 16 years ago. Since then, I can honestly say I'm celibate due to voluntary and involuntary reasons. Voluntary because of my past and my spirituality. Involuntary because I haven't met a man that I can trust enough to love. I meet creepy older men, horny younger men, and men my age who want women with less baggage and who are beautiful and confident and sexually open.
All I can do now is educate myself, and stay open to the possibility that there's a special guy out there in my own age range that won't sexually assault or rape me. A guy that will accept all my faults and sexual limitations. A guy that will accept my bisexuality and not use it for his own personal pleasure. A guy I can trust to love me.