Living the Celibate Life: Avoiding Physical Intimacy

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Before I start this post, I just want to say that I have debated, talked and prayed about the sub-title of this blog post. That is a story in and of itself. 🙂

The basic point of this post is that human emotions and desires sometimes rear their ugly heads.  But, through prayer and knowing yourself (including your triggers) God always provides a way out of every tempting situation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Earlier this year I conducted a workshop at a Women’s Conference.  One topic of conversation was avoiding physical intimacy. I entitled our conversation “Pillow Talk: An Intimate Conversation about Dating and Relationships” (feel free to borrow it – I did.) I posted about it here. Whenever I am asked to speak to groups of young women or singles, avoiding physical intimacy is always a topic of conversation – in part because small, seemingly innocent acts can quickly lead to larger, less innocent acts.

It is easy to remain celibate when you are in between relationships or not seriously dating one person. But, when you are dating – talking to him on the phone, seeing him regularly, texting and developing a certain level of emotional intimacy, there are inklings or desires for physical intimacy. These desires for physical intimacy can come into play even when you are casually dating here and there or aren’t dating at all, so you know feelings can be intensified, especially when you are in the beginning stages of a budding relationship. (That was a long sentence.)

When you are celibate and trying to maintain your celibacy, you must pray for strength. You have to know yourself. You have to make emotional intimacy be enough.  Even though I have been celibate for a while now, there are times when I have to remind myself that I have to make emotional intimacy enough. But, I can’t do that on my own. I have to pray and ask God for strength – not only during the date, but before the date. The more you rely on God for strength, the stronger you will become.

My tips on avoiding physical intimacy:

  1. Build and maintain a strong relationship with God – Anything is possible with God;
  2. Stay busy – An idle mind is the devil’s workshop;
  3. Have Likeminded Friends – After all, birds of a feather flock together;
  4. Know Your Triggers – Only participate in activities that won’t make you want to have sex;
  5. Workout – I’m happier when I work out. You probably are too;
  6. Be Conscious of Your Attire – Don’t dress to entice; and
  7. Be Conscious of Where Your Dates Take Place – That one speaks for itself. 🙂

When you’re celibate you have to make sure not to let the kissing, touching and snuggling go too far. Recently, I read a quote somewhere that said a kiss can be a period or a comma. When I read it, it instantly made sense. I had to nod and smile. A kiss can in fact be a period (stop) and a comma (pause) or even an exclamation point (exciting, causing a desire for more). This relates to knowing your triggers.  If drinking and certain types of music make you want to have sex, then that means you probably shouldn’t do those things. If kissing makes you want to have sex, you simply have to tell yourself that you can’t kiss him (whether at all or just not at certain times is a determination you have to make for yourself). In my opinion, it is all about moderation and knowing what atmospheres, events, etc. make you yearn for physical intimacy.  When you identify those things, then you have identified your triggers.

We all have these natural, fleshly desires. But, we are only to experience certain things – specifically sex (all versions) within the confines of a committed, marital relationship. Temptations give us opportunities to grow in God. That is something of which I am certain. We all want permanent love, so we have to pray and push past desires of temporary lust! 

 Amazed by grace,


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