A New Kind of Celibacy

I am obsessed with men. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t hyperaware of men, any man, in my presence. As my awareness of men grew, my narrative became not defined by me, but by me in relation to men. Not a narrative about being watched, but about watching myself being watched by men.

How many times have you asked a friend “how are you?” and their response was similar to: “I’m going on a date this weekend” or “I met this dude on Tinder” or “I had the best sex last night.” Their response is not about how they are feeling, but about how they are feeling in relation to men. For far too long my answers have been of this ilk.

My incessant need for male attention and affirmation has driven me to make irrational decisions. It has driven me to maddening levels of ecstasy and bouts of depression. Because I have placed my self-worth in the hands of those who don’t cherish it, I’ve exposed myself to both physical and emotional damage.

But it’s not a man’s job to cherish my self-worth. How could he? When self-worth is inherently defined by confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. It is my job. And because it’s my job, I must unlearn everything I was taught as a woman. Specifically, I must unlearn that my self-worth is based on male pleasure, approval, or attention.

It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve done yoga. I’ve done yoga. Every. Damn. Day. I’ve made lists upon lists of things I admire about myself. I’ve power posed in many bathroom stalls. I’ve said positive affirmations into the mirror. I’ve meditated. I’ve read self-help books that insist I’m a badass. And still, all of my hard work can be upset by one seemingly positive or negative encounter with a man.

And so my last resort is this: celibacy as an act of radical self-love. On my journey to self-actualization, there is no space for men. There is only space for me. It took me a long time to realize that I can choose what defines me. And until my narrative is defined by me and not by me in relation to men, I will remain celibate. Thank goddess for vibrators.

By Bronte Treat

What is the message behind your piece?: 

Radical self-love! Being able to care for myself even if it means giving up something I love, like sex. Being able to redefine my story- and the story society places upon all women- by rewriting my narrative and being an active character in my own life. Resilience. Resistance. And raising my voice!

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