I think it would be more correct to say, ‘5 reasons why WE gave up sex for lent’, seeing as this insane choice of abstinence was not a lone decision, but instead one of the most sane joint decisions my lady and I have made to date.
It all began before lent. Obviously. While the weather was still deciding whether it would give up rain or sun for lent, I too was contemplating what to give up. You see, I didn’t just want to give up something I knew I could easily avoid and then claim gratitude for going 40 days without it, no. I wanted to give something I would find it hard to go without, but with the end result being a lesson learnt through discipline. This rendered things such as, particular type of foods (which is usually the obvious option) and simply not going out as insignificant. I needed something more specific. Something more challenging. If you haven’t already guessed, I am in a committed relationship with an amazing lady, so I thought that since an important aspect of our relationship is to help better each other, why don’t we give up something together!? Genius! Yet, the ‘what’ was still unchecked.
So I proposed a method to my lady. I suggested that we both take turns in adding what we want to give up to the list. My first suggestion was takeouts and eating out. I figured that if we could eat out and order takeout less, we could save more money but more so, cook more at home for each other. This would force us be more proactive when we’re hungry so we don’t become accustomed to being lazy. This was the sort of outcome I was looking. Giving up something that would make you a better person. Otherwise what’s the point of giving someone up?
To cut a long story short, what I really wanted to give up was sex. I didn’t exactly know why at the time, but before I could suggest it, my lady made the mistake of suggesting it with very little thought. She didn’t think that I might actually agree with her. To her surprise, I did!
So we had our list:
1. No takeouts
2. No eating out (as in restaurants)
3. No sex (This involved oral as well)
As you might have noticed, the decision to give up sex for lent was pretty impulsive. We discussed the benefits of giving it up but also feared that it might hinder the relationship. This is exactly why we decided to give it up.
If sex is a significant factor to whether your relationship survives or not, I would suggest you rethink whether or not you want to build your relationship on a foundation such as sex. Sex is an enhancer. It enhances what is laid before it. So for example, if you lay love, trust and self contentment as part of the foundations of your relationship, sex will enhance those things as the positive elements they are. If you were to lay self satisfaction, doubt and insecurities as part of the foundations, sex will enhance those things as the negative elements they are. The act of sex itself is neutral. It’s main ability is to enhance what you build before it. This is why some couple can’t fall asleep cuddling after sex and others, well, find it hard to look each other in the eyes let alone stay in the bed with each other for a minute longer after they climax (or after he climaxes).
I knew that sex wasn’t the foundation in my relationship but I didn’t want it to become the foundation either. I’ve seen relationships fall apart because sex was momentary unavailable. I’ve advised people who don’t know whether the person who they are seeing is there for them or the sex, to take sex out of the equation. Someone who is in it for more than the sex will stay. So now my lady and I wanted to apply that to our own relationship.
You would think sex was the only type of intimacy and oral sex was the only type of foreplay. You see, getting to know someone in the bedroom is no different than getting to know someone outside the bedroom. Patience is required when getting to know someone’s mind and emotions, but why do so few people believe that this concept is applicable to someone’s body? You don’t just meet someone and invade their personal space with breath to breath contact and questions about their darkest secrets. No! You listen and learn about them as they listen and learn about you.
Intimacy is the act of listening and learning about someone’s body.
Intimacy is gentle, patient and kind. Sex is the act of, “I want you”, while intimacy is the act of, “I want to know you”.
At first, I would avoid being too intimate as I feared we my lose our restraints and call it human nature or cash in our, “I guess we both have needs” chip. But she said something to me during one of our intimate encounters that got me thinking. She said, “what’s the point of avoiding intimate encounters?” “Wouldn’t it be worth more if we had them and didn’t have sex?”
Psychologists often engage some of their patients who are suffering post traumatic stress syndrome or panic attacks in something called exposure therapy. Without going into too much detail, some patients feel fully recovered when they are away from the scene of a traumatic accident but when they are exposed to the scene again, their symptoms surface.
The fact is that they are not recovered if they cannot overcome being exposed to the scene. So therapists conduct the treatment at the scene. You could say that my lady and I were undergoing some exposure therapy ourselves. We would expose ourselves to each other instead of avoiding what we feared. We would sleep naked and have intimate encounters which in turn, focused our attention on each other’s needs. Listening and learning became so powerful that we became satisfied with satisfying each other intimately as opposed to sexually.
This was something that became more visible outside the bedroom. Something as small as holding her hand while I kissed her or firmly pulling her waist towards mine when I hugged her, topped with a kiss to the cheek, became most satisfying to us both. Our journey lead us to enhance this power via something called tantric sex which we are still engaged in.
As you would imagine, this was not an easy journey. We had so many weak moments but it’s because of those exact moments that we stand even stronger today. To say you need sex as though you cannot do without it is a lack of discipline over your desires. A lack of discipline over your body. To many, sex is simply a physical connection – a method of releasing oneself from build up and concentrated energy that resides in only 2% of their entire being! That alone is enough to highlight how insignificant the desire is. People that don’t have a great understanding of sex would say that losing control is one of the benefits of sex. I believe different. I believe that the best sex is that which you have control of. To stay in control is to be in control of your desires, to be in control of your partner’s desires and to be in control of who you let have control over you. Why would you let someone take control of something you have little control of?
Discipline that body.
If you don’t believe in overrated sex, you’re probably having it.
Repetition is the most readily walked path to mundanity.
The only thing that speeds that journey up is frequency.
Some of you are lucky enough to remember the first time you had sex with your partner. For some it was lovely, candles, warm room, lots of foreplay and intimate gestures. Effort was at it’s all time high and well, as the weeks, months or years have passed, you’ll be lucky to get a hug before the act of sex comes to an end. Sex is different for a man and woman, but here’s a free tip:
If you want that effort to remain at an all time high, stop telling him that it’s his.
It’s not his, it’s yours. Let me explain.
When it was yours, he had to make an effort to get to it. He didn’t have daily access to it and because of that, his approach was subtle. He had to approach you indirectly. That fact of the matter was, he had to engage in “before foreplay”. He had to please you in various ways before he could even get a look at whether you were colour matching or not. But somewhere down the line, you went and said something silly like “it’s yours.” You gave him ownership of a part of your physical body. Now I don’t know about you but the last time someone had ownership over someone else’s body, nothing good came from it.
The frequent repetition reduced what was once something special to something more ordinary. I spoke to one of my friends who hadn’t had sex with his girl for a while. He told me that he felt as though he was partaking in my lent journey as well but after he spoke of his amazing night with his lady, it dawned on me that absence doesn’t only make the heart grow fonder, it also makes our desires grow stronger. My lady and I have discussed this and agree that we wouldn’t abuse the freedom of sex but instead, moderate it so that our desires remain high for each other, in turn, ensuring that the majority of encounters are far from ordinary.
Real life can feel very ordinary at times but don’t allow your sex life to become one of the mundanities of everyday life.
This was for no one else but us. We often look at each other and say, “we did it.” I can’t explain to you the type of smile it brings to our faces. Removing sex from a relationship will reveal true intentions and the strength of your relationship, and for us, it brought us even closer. We both have something that we accomplished together. Something we struggled with and overcame together. It doesn’t always have to be children or moving into a place with your significant other that classes as duel ownership.
Right now, we are stronger than ever. This doesn’t mean that we won’t go through more struggles, because we will. But what it proves is that we both know what lengths we would go through to overcome those struggles.
That’s the kind of woman I can build my future with.
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