When asked about the sexual satisfaction they feel in their relationships, a majority of men (54 percent) and nearly as many women (42 percent) said they were unhappy with the frequency of sex, according to a report published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. For the most part, the men were dissatisfied with the lack of sex in their relationships, while a small portion of women admitted to wanting more. However, a majority of the women surveyed said they were getting more than they wanted and actually would settle for less. It’s clear that when it comes to sex within a partnership, men and women are not always on the same page. So what does this mean for people who want to abstain from having sex altogether, but already happen to be in a relationship where intercourse is pretty consistent?
Being celibate, or rather, abstaining from sex for a period, seems to be a lifestyle choice that many people are making these days in the hopes of strengthening their bonds and building something more wholesome with another individual. We see the smiles, hear the success stories and listen to all of the benefits of being in a celibate relationship, but we rarely hear stories of couples who tried abstaining from sex and found that it ended up doing more harm than good. Some have a hard time making it work, and it’s usually because one person is on board and the other isn’t. Transitioning to a sexless relationship when sex was routine is tough, but with time, patience and willpower from both involved, it’s not impossible.
Clear Communication And Intent
You wake up one day and decide you’re bored with the way things are going in your relationship, therefore, you find yourself less and less in the mood for sex. There’s no intimacy in your relationship, and you just want things to change, so you think going without sex is the answer to getting things back on the good foot. However, you fail to communicate this to your partner. It starts with a brushoff after a date night where he tried to cop a feel to get things going. The brushoffs become frequent and problems start to arise. You find yourselves bickering about small things, arguing, and avoiding spending time together. He begins to question whether you’re still physically attracted to him, even though you are, but you feel like at this point in your relationship, something’s gotta give. The problem is, you don’t adequately communicate these things to him.
Making the choice to abstain from sex is much like dieting. It shifts every aspect of your life, and if there isn’t a set goal or intent, it’s easy to fall off the wagon and relapse on the things that are problematic. There should be a verbal dialog happening between you and your partner, not just a physical change. This open communication should be able to clearly and thoroughly explain to your partner what the goal is so that you’re both actually working towards something, together. Is this a temporary situation? Are we abstaining from ALL forms of sex? What are some things we need to work on during this process? Never leave your partner in the dark about something that affects them as well.
Find Productive Replacements
Given the fact that you’ve been dating for quite some time, you’re at a place where you know each other’s triggers. The best thing to do when transitioning is to avoid those triggers. You’re aware that touching the back of his neck turns him on, and he knows that your thigh is a sensitive spot that should not be toyed with. Date night is twice a week and the night is usually capped off with some between-the-sheets fun. Try replacing it with something less physical. Maybe just cuddling?
Remember: Baby Steps
Be aware that you are the example that your partner is following, especially if they’re having problems with getting on board. Stand firm in your decision, and when your partner sees how serious you are, they’ll have no choice but to act accordingly. But if you’re preaching about a celibate relationship, and then creating a bunch of self-serving terms that still allow you to get off, such as receiving oral sex and hand play, then they will see that loophole and make it bigger. As I said, it’s not easy trying to be in a sexless relationship with someone you’ve already been sexual with while trying to ignore those natural urges. But it gets easier as time goes by and habits are formed. You can expect a few slip-ups in the beginning, but the conversations and intent set should be the things to hold you accountable and keep you on track.
Abstaining from sex, for you, is non-negotiable. It’s something that you won’t back down on because you truly believe it will make for stronger relationships with others and most importantly, with yourself. Giving up sex is a non-negotiable for your partner. It’s not something they feel will fix your problems, and they believe that it will make things worse. So what do you do? Well, there’re only two things that can happen: Either you give up abstaining from sex to satisfy your partner or they give up sex to satisfy you. At the end of the day, someone will be compromising something they feel strongly about, which means you really have to evaluate your relationship and whether both parties feel the other is worth the work and give-and-take.
Celibacy isn’t just a trending topic these days; it’s an entire lifestyle change many are taking seriously. It affects you in a physical way, but also spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It affects the way you interact with others, and it affects the way you love and view yourself. Making the choice isn’t easy, and there will be some highs and lows, especially when you’re in a relationship and you really want it to work with the person you love. It’s a tough transition, but not an impossible one.
Home with your partner and hours of time ticking slowly by? As the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread widely in the US and beyond, restrictions that promote social distancing do, too. By now, you may find yourself essentially quarantined at home with your partner. While this can be a wonderful time to connect with each other, you may have questions about how much intimacy is safe.
A refresher course on how the coronavirus spreads
Evidence shows that the virus spreads person-to-person through sustained close contact.
- The virus is carried in respiratory droplets transmitted by sneezing and coughing. If people are nearby, droplets might land in their mouths or noses or possibly be inhaled.
- Viral particles called aerosols may float or drift in the air when an infected person talks, sings, or breathes. People nearby may inhale aerosols.
- Research shows the virus can live on surfaces and may be spread when a person touches those surfaces, then touches their face.
- The virus may be shed in saliva, semen, and feces; whether it is shed in vaginal fluids isn’t known. Kissing can transmit the virus (you obviously would be in very close contact with the infected person). Transmission of the virus through feces, or during vaginal or anal intercourse or oral sex appears to be extremely unlikely at this time.
The definition of “sustained close contact” may change as we learn more, but running or walking by someone who has the virus is a lower risk scenario. Being in the same room as an infected person so that you’re breathing the same air for a while is a higher risk scenario. Expert opinion differs on what close contact entails and how many minutes of close contact is high risk. Generally, being within six feet of someone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 for longer than a few minutes can put you at increased risk of getting the virus.
How safe is intimacy with a partner?
True, many forms of intimacy require a closer distance than the six feet of separation recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yet this does not mean that you should isolate yourself from your spouse or partner and stop being intimate at all. If both of you are healthy and feeling well, are practicing social distancing and have had no known exposure to anyone with COVID-19, touching, hugging, kissing, and sex are more likely to be safe. Similarly, sharing a bed with a partner who is healthy should not be an issue.
Be aware, though, that the CDC reports that some people may have the virus and not yet have symptoms during the early part of the incubation period (presymptomatic). Additionally, some people never develop obvious symptoms of COVID-19 (asymptomatic). In either case, it’s possible that the virus might spread through physical contact and intimacy.
What about intimacy if one partner has been ill?
If you or your partner have been sick with COVID-19 and are now recovering, this CDC page explains ways to prevent the spread of germs, including not sharing bedding –– or presumably, a bed –– and abstaining from all intimate contact until
- at least seven days after symptoms first started
- and other symptoms have improved
- and at least 72 hours fever-free without the use of any medications.
However, one study suggested that the virus may shed for up to 14 days, so you may want to minimize contact for up to 14 days.
During this time, the person who is sick should self-quarantine and limit use of common spaces as much as possible. It’s important to wipe down all common surfaces, wash all bedding, and take other steps recommended by the CDC if a person is ill.
The good news? Public health authorities in Shenzen, China found that there was a 14.9% transmission rate among household contacts. Risks to household members are minimized through steps that include self-quarantine for the person showing signs of illness and excellent hand hygiene for the whole household.
What if your partner works in a job where there’s a high risk of catching the virus?
If your partner works in a high-risk field such as healthcare or has contact with the general public, decisions around intimacy or even self-quarantine in the absence of symptoms are personal. Some healthcare workers have quarantined themselves from their families, while others practice good hand hygiene and have a separate set of clothing dedicated for work. You and your partner should discuss what you are both comfortable with, since there are no evidence-based guidelines currently, given that this is a novel virus.
What about starting a new relationship?
For those people who would like to start a new relationship, that should be considered carefully. All of us should be practicing social distancing at this time due to the pandemic, and dating does not comply with recommendations for social distancing. While this time is challenging, social distancing is of the utmost importance to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Are any forms of intimacy and sex completely safe right now?
Six feet of separation required by social distancing may not entirely slow you down. Masturbation, phone sex with a partner who doesn’t live with you, and sex toys (used just by you) could play a big role in sexual intimacy, particularly in this moment. And if you’re not in the mood for sex and are wondering how anyone can engage in intimacy in this moment, that’s also normal. People have different psychological responses to stress. If living through a pandemic has dampened your sexual desire, it will return once life returns to normal.
If you do have a regular intimate partner, keep in mind that coronavirus is not the only issue that you should be concerned about. You should use contraception if you are not planning on conceiving, and you should use a condom to protect against sexually transmitted infections. For more information, see the Harvard Health Birth Control Center.
For additional information on coronavirus and COVID-19, see the Harvard Health Publishing Coronavirus Resource Center and podcasts.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond
The physical transformations the body undergoes with age have a major influence on sexuality. This Special Health Report, Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond, will take you through the stages of sexual response and explain how aging affects each. You’ll also learn how chronic illnesses, common medications, and emotional issues can influence your sexual capabilities. Finally, you’ll find a detailed discussion of various medical treatments, counseling, and self-help techniques to address the most common types of sexual problems.
Sex should be fun, but it can also be complicated. Allure believes in everyone's right to a healthy, safe, and joyful sex life, including access to info that helps them have one. Welcome to Sexual Resolution, a biweekly column by sex therapist Vanessa Marin that answers your questions about sexuality. This week, she advises two readers in search of more satisfying sex lives with their long-term partners.
When you're in a relationship, getting what you want in bed is a process, not an end point. Needs and desires change all the time, which means that ongoing communication with your partner is pretty much the only way to make sure you're both satisfied. This week, I'm addressing one question from a reader looking to prioritize sex with their partner and one question from a reader wondering how to ask her boyfriend if they can play with her vibrator together. Spoiler alert: My answers to both involve honest discussion. That said, even when honesty is the best policy, we can all sometimes use a little help finding our words.
QUESTION: Help: My long-term partner and I haven't had sex in weeks. While it's probably due to our busy schedules and not at all a sign of our relationship's demise — we're happy, I swear — I think it's past time we got it on. How can we make sex a priority? —Underactive, But in Love, 27
VANESSA: Your question speaks to one of the most frustrating realities about relationships: It is so easy to let your sex life fall by the wayside. Even if you’re happy, even if you love each other, even if you're attracted to each other, it's shocking to see how quickly you can fall into your daily routine and forget about sex. You come home from work, scrounge some dinner together, veg out in front of the TV, and before you know it, you're so exhausted you can barely make it into bed.
There's also a funny kind of inertia that operates around sex. The longer you go without having it, the easier it feels to just keep not having it. All of a sudden, you realize you can't even remember the last time the two of you got naked together.
If you want to have a more consistent and active sex life, your first task is to think about how often you want to have sex. People always ask me how often they’re "supposed" to have sex, but what really matters is what feels healthy to you.
Then, it's time to have a conversation with your partner. Say something like this: "I've been missing connecting with you in the bedroom. How can we clear out some time in our schedules to make sure we give ourselves the space for intimacy?" Go over your commitments and responsibilities, asking yourselves, Is this more important than us having quality time together?
People ask me how often they’re "supposed" to have sex, but what really matters is what feels healthy to you.
We all feel like we're so busy, but when you sit down and actually look at how you spend your days, you'll probably feel a little sheepish about how much time you spend scrolling through Instagram or how often you answer "yes" when Netflix asks you, "Are you still watching?" We all need time to unwind and you shouldn't fault yourself for relaxing at the end of a hard day. But this is a matter of priorities. No matter how busy you think you are, you do have time to be intimate with your partner — you just have to be purposeful about carving out and protecting that time.
This might mean actually making sex dates the same way you'd add a work meeting or catch-up drinks to your calendar. If you're worried that sex won't be fun if it's not spontaneous, here's another way to look at it: Planning ahead means you can get excited for intimacy with your partner in advance so that you're already in the mindset to enjoy it when the time comes. (Of course, if you're really not in the mood when it does, that's OK, too; life happens.)
Plus, it gives you time to daydream about what you and your partner can do together or to build the anticipation with flirty texts — remember, foreplay can begin long before you're in bed together.
QUESTION: I'm a woman who only gets off with my vibrator unless I'm having a really long sex session with my boyfriend. How do I introduce a vibrator to sex with him without making him feel like he's not satisfying me? I want to bring in something else so I can get off when he does, but I'm worried he might be embarrassed or uncomfortable if I bring it up. —Ready to Get Off, 27
People go through dry spells in the bedroom for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they’re busy, or maybe they’re single. Or they might just decide they want a break.
If that break goes on long enough, though, it can have an effect on your body and some parts of your life. But it’s important to remember that there’s no “right” amount for everyone. What’s key is that you find what works best for you.
Anxiety and Stress
If you don’t have sex with your partner often, that may make you feel less connected to them, which can mean you don’t talk about your feelings much or get a lot of support in managing day-to-day stressors.
And sex makes your body release hormones, like oxytocin and endorphins, that can help you manage the effects of stress. Oxytocin has the added benefit of helping you sleep.
Research is in the early stages, but some studies have shown that people who have sex often are better at recalling memories. And there are signs that sex can help your brain grow neurons and work better in general.
Regular sex helps you feel emotionally close to your partner, which opens the door to better communication. Couples who have sex more often tend to say they’re happier than those who get less of it.
But it doesn’t have to happen every day — once a week seems to be enough. This seems to be true no matter your age or gender, or how long you’ve been in the relationship.
Regular sex can help your body fight off illness, so having it less often might lead to more colds and the like. In one study, college students who had sex one to two times per week were shown to have higher levels of a certain antibody (called immunoglobulin A) that plays an important role in your immune system.
Vaginal Walls and Lubrication
If you’re a woman who’s gone through menopause, you have another reason to keep having sex. Without regular intercourse, your vagina can tighten and its tissues can get thinner and be more likely to get injured, tear, or even bleed during sex. This can be so uncomfortable that women with these symptoms avoid having sex, which can make it worse.
Changes related to menopause, such as vaginal dryness and irritation, can be treated with lubricants, moisturizers, or low-dose estrogen.
For men, how often they have sex may be linked to their chances of prostate cancer, but the evidence is mixed. Some experts think that sex might actually raise your odds, by possibly exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases that lead to inflammation.
But in one large study of almost 30,000 men, those who said they ejaculated more than 21 times a month on average had lower chances of prostate cancer during their lifetimes, compared with those who ejaculated four to seven times a month.
Anxiety.org: “Why Having More Sex May Lead to a Healthier Mind and Body.”
Kinsey Institute Research: “Frequent Sex is Linked to Better Memory.”
Society for Personality and Social Psychology: “Couples Who Have Sex Weekly Are Happiest.”
Psychological Reports: “Sexual Frequency and Salivary Immunoglobulin A (IgA).”
The North American Menopause Society: “Changes in the Vagina and Vulva,” “Vaginal and Vulvar Comfort,” “Lubricants, Moisturizers, and Low-dose Vaginal Estrogen.”
Mayo Clinic: “Erectile Dysfunction.”
American Journal of Medicine: “Regular Intercourse Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Does Sexual Activity Affect My Risk of Cancer?”
International Society for Sexual Medicine: “What is the “Normal” Frequency of Sex?”
Sexual abstinence can keep you from getting pregnant and protect you from STDs. Some people choose abstinence for other reasons as well.
Many young people and adults are choosing to abstain from sex these days, for many different reasons. Even if you’ve had sex before, abstinence may make sense at certain points in your life, for both your emotional and physical health.
Abstinence means different things to different people. Many heterosexuals who choose abstinence consider it to mean not having vaginal intercourse, particularly to preserve virginity. Others say abstinence means no vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. For some, abstinence means avoiding all sexual behavior, including kissing.
Why Do Young People Say No to Sex?
Abstinence from vaginal intercourse is the only 100 percent effective means of preventing pregnancy, and it is viewed by some as the best way for young people to avoid both pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases.
However, if you still participate in oral sex or anal sex, you do stand a chance of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Only abstinence from all forms of sex can protect you from STDs 100 percent of the time.
There are also long-term health-related reasons for young people to remain abstinent until later in life. Women who abstain from sex until past their teenage years are less likely to get STDs that can lead to cervical cancer and infertility. Likewise, young men who avoid sexual activity may be at lower risk of STDs associated with condoms and employing other safe sex practices.
Why Might Adults Decide to Say No to Sex?
Adults who are no longer virgins often choose to practice sexual abstinence for reasons other than birth control or avoiding STDs. They may be:
- Waiting for the right person to be sexually active with
- Mourning the loss of a significant other
- Focusing on work or education
- Recovering from an illness
- Maintaining a moral or religious principle
Sticking to Your Sexual Abstinence Decision
It can be tough to remain abstinent. You might have to deal with peer pressure to become sexually active, particularly if you're a virgin. Or you might be in an intimate relationship where sex seems like the next step.
You can more successfully maintain your abstinence if you:
- Talk with your partner about your decision to abstain from sex, especially before things reach that level. Be open, honest, and straightforward about your limits — even if it feels embarrassing.
- Don't participate in physical contact that could lead to arousal.
- Don't reconsider your abstinence in the midst of a sexual situation. Step back from the situation and take time to reflect on the factors that influenced your decision to remain abstinent in the first place.
- Think ahead about what you would say or do to stop physically intimate activities if you feel things are going too far. Practice actually saying the words, and think about what your partner's response would be.
- Don't let anyone pressure you into sex. It is your decision alone to give up your virginity or participate in sexual activity.
- Take part in activities that involve friends or groups, such as going on double dates.
One drawback to abstinence is that many men and women decide to end it without fully preparing themselves. If you do decide to become sexually active, be certain to guard against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by consistently using condoms and employing other safe sex practices. Take the time to learn about the various methods of birth control and make sure you have access to them if you so choose.
Welcome! L&R is a Blog established to share views about LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS, and address problems in our Relationships, in addition, inspirational Love and Relationship Tips, Quotes & Lyrics.. Everybodys fair views and comments are welcome.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
HOW TO ABSTAIN FROM SEX IN A RELATIONSHIP
In the Region i find my self today, SEX is the order of the day; for money or for the price of being in a Relationship (long or short term). In some societies, religions, or simply personal preference, people may choose to abstain from SEX until marriage.It is a matter of choice but most individual find it difficult to make and stick to the choice of ABSTINENCE .
If you want to stay SEX-FREE with your boyfriend or girlfriend, i suggest you follow these tips.
* Have a discussion about your views/reasons for abstinence. Engage your partner in a good give and take discussion about your ideas concerning the timing for sex. Seek their input, but explain where you stand, so there will be no misunderstandings later.
* Be active together. In your free time hike, bike, swim, walk, exercise, play sports, and so on. Get up and go out, working your muscles, to relieve pent-up tensions, visit friends, reading books or you can start writing.
* Spend time together in public places away from home. Do not study together at home, for instance, go to the library or school classroom where you can not do things in private.
* Do NON-SEXUAL activities. Do things together that are not necessarily sexual, like playing games (likes of cheese, scrabble or monopoly) or other activities such as giving each other massages (not romancing), shampoos, pedicures, and manicures.
* Be loving. SEX is not LOVE, so don’t confuse SEX for Love. Without SEX , you can show your LOVE for your partner by kissing, holding hands, hugging, sitting close, cuddling, snuggling, and so on.
* Meet with other people. Have group meetings with like-minded people to reinforce your ideas concerning SEX, giving each other feedback and a chance to describe strategies to help you abstain.
* Give your partner positive feedback. Do not take him/her for granted. Compliment him/her on his/her looks, mental prowess, and skills with hobbies or sports, for example. Tell him how much you appreciate him being on the same page as you are as far as SEX goes.
* Remind your partner that abstinence is not forever, and there will come a time when you will have SEX. Talk with him about making plans for that time.
* Finally if you can’t deal with any of the above tips, i advice you to AVOID any form of relationship with the opposite sex. “AVOIDANCE IS BETTER THAN PREVENTION” . What you AVOID, you don’t need to PREVENT it from happening. –>
I haven’t had sex in over a year, and the trek through my personal Mojave Desert has been both enlightening and frustrating (for obvious reasons).
Why the self-induced dry spell? It all started in late 2015, when a hot guy in one of my friend’s Instagrams made me stop mid-scroll. After some double taps on his page, he let me know the interest was mutual by sliding into my DMs. And much to my simultaneous delight and surprise, there was actual substance in our conversations. It didn’t take long before the DMs turned to texts and the texts turned to phone calls every single day. I had a serious case of OMG-am-I-about-to-be-in-a-relationship giddiness. But that didn’t last long. Amid entering we-are-but-we-aren’t territory, I learned that he had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and wasn’t looking for anything serious. Instead of making peace with that and letting it go, I acted like I was fine with his disclaimer because the chemistry between us was too strong to ignore (and, let’s be real, I was in denial).
Clearly, things were a pretty healthy start.
I kept trying to tell myself that I was cool with having sex with a guy who didn’t want to be my boyfriend. I was cool with knowing that he was talking to other girls. I was cool with the fact that it was just sex and nothing else, because as R. Kelly said, there’s nothing wrong with a little bump and grind. Except none of that was true and R. Kelly should never be someone you turn to for advice on anything, ever.
Our generation tends to look at sex as a means-to-an-end instead of a privilege.
I couldn’t hold up the façade with our situation for long, though, and my DM Casanova became the catalyst for making a much deeper lifestyle change. I was tired of playing out the same scenario with different guys, so after coming to terms with the fact that I wanted something he wasn’t willing to give me, we turned our situationship into a platonic friendship, and I started doing some inward digging to figure out why I was always engaging in behavior that never aligned with what I wanted.
Whether it was my first boyfriend cheating on me because I was scared to ditch my V-card or the mere fact that our generation tends to look at sex as a means-to-an-end instead of a privilege, I was somehow made to believe that having sex was necessary to make a guy like me — and if I didn’t do it, then poof, he was going to disappear and it’d be my fault. Sad!
So, in an effort to alter that mindset, I decided I was going to abstain from casual sex. I told myself I wouldn’t give it up until the guy I was talking to made me feel like the goddess I am. No more worrying about other women, because the right guy will make it clear that I’m all he sees. Boom. The trouble is: finding that guy and ending my dry spell might take longer than I thought.
I was so hyped those first few months, because I felt like I was finally reclaiming my power and no one could tear me down. But when I surpassed the six-month mark, the initial surge of self-empowerment began to fade, and I found myself doubting the whole experiment and wanting to throw in the towel. The little horny devil on my shoulder would say things like, “Does this really matter? Get some, girl!” And in all honesty, I was starting to get pissed, because all I kept coming across were what I like to call “sometimey” guys — the I’m-only-in-it-when-I-want-to-be-in-it guys. That’s frustrating enough on its own, without adding the fact that I had to fight overwhelming sexual urges just to prove a point to myself.
I had to fight overwhelming sexual urges just to prove a point to myself.
Meanwhile, some of my friends made the idea of quitting this journey that much harder to ignore. Because I’m the token single friend, some of my girlfriends loved living vicariously through me, so my decision to willingly give up “wild sex with strangers” was almost like putting them on lockdown, too. “Ugh, Bruna, it’s just sex, stop thinking so much!” they’d tell me. I wondered if they were right.
Then I’d have the maybe-joking-but-probably-serious sexual invitations from some of my oh-so-generous guy friends and former flings to put me out of my self-induced misery with a casual hook up. Temptation was at an all-time high, to say the least. But ultimately, I never gave in. I was going to power through, because I owed it to myself, and it didn’t matter if anyone understood why I was doing this or not.
After that hump (pun intended), the hormones settled down a bit (or they just gave up). My urges came to a simmer, and I found myself approaching the one-year mark — and I’m still going. I know that going a week without getting laid may seem like cruel and unusual punishment for some, and although a year of no sexual intimacy whatsoever has been tough, it’s not that difficult for me. My sex life wasn’t off-the-charts to begin with, so it wasn’t like I was dodging D everywhere I turned. I went on dates as usual, but nothing really panned out.
Still, I find myself having mixed feelings about the entire experience. There was a hint of sadness at the realization that I’ve gone a year without coming across a man I liked who was also willing to invest in me. Why was that? Was it the men I was choosing or was it a consequence of having an old-school approach in a time where people don’t value basic dating principles anymore? I can’t say. All I know is keeping the proverbial chastity belt on lockdown didn’t become the secret trick to get a guy to drop his roster and make me his MVP. But I’m OK with that, because that was never the motive to begin with.
This experience was like giving myself some tough love. And as frustrating (sexually and otherwise) as that lesson was, it was necessary. I did this experiment to help trash the mentality of having to throw sex at a man to keep his interest, and to remind myself that I am worth loving without having to spread my legs first. I stuck to my guns, and for that reason alone, the disappointment was overshadowed with immense pride. I wanted to stop putting myself in scenarios that made me feel disposable, and I did. I wanted to wait for the man who would bet on me, and I still am, because I know what I bring to the table.
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with an STI, you’ve likely peppered your doctor with a rundown of questions. But once you’ve pinned down what’s going on in your body or what treatment(s) you need, a simple question remains: Can I have sex?
Stacey A. Rizza, M.D, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic outlined a few distinct scenarios. The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no.
If You Are Treating Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, or Syphilis
When you’re being treated for an STI, you generally have two options, says Rizza: Abstain from sex entirely or use barrier protection. Which is best depends on the STI you’re treating. If you have chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, or syphilis and are being treated for it, assuming you don’t have any exposed lesions (read: open sores)—which could infect a partner—it’s safe to have sex with a condom, says Dr. Rizza.
If You Are Treating Herpes or Primary Syphilis
If you have a lesion outside of the area a condom covers (common in STIs such as herpes or primary syphilis), sorry: You’ll need to wait until said lesion clears up before engaging in sexual activity. This’ll prevent you from infecting your partner.
If Your Partner Is STI-Free
If you’re in a monogamous relationship and your partner is STI-free, you can go back to having oral, anal, and vaginal sex sans protection a week after your antibiotic course has finished, Dr. Rizza says.
The bottom line: Make sure both you and your partner are up to date on STI screenings and use condoms until you’re certain your STI is totally cleared up. We promise: Safe, worry-free sex means better sex for everyone.
What a fascinating question! Because jock itch lives on the genitals, it totally makes sense to wonder whether or not it’s transferable between people. Let’s take a look first at what jock itch is and then we’ll address the underlying question: Is it kind of an STI?
What Is Jock Itch?
Jock itch is a fungal infection that lives in warm, moist areas — like the groin or between folds of fat on some people’s bodies. Jock itch can be spread to other parts of the body, where it’s called “ringworm.” (But don’t be fooled by the name — it’s a fungal infection, not a worm.) It’s actually the same fungus that’s called “athlete’s foot” when it shows up on the feet! So if someone has athlete’s foot, they should make sure not to use the same towel that they use to dry their feet on their groin, or the infection may spread.
Jock itch can also occur when the right environment — read: warm, dark, sweaty, and with lots of friction — makes it so that a small amount of the fungus on the skin is able to take over beneficial bacteria and multiply. It looks like red skin that starts at the crease of the groin and can spread to the thighs, abdomen, and other parts of the groin. There can also be small blisters, which might itch or flake or burn.
It sounds gross — and it’s certainly unpleasant — but it’s totally treatable with anti-fungal cream, although persistent cases may need a prescription cream. But other than not feeling great and looking kind of icky, there are no serious health repercussions for jock itch.
Is Jock Itch An STI?
Jock itch isn’t classified as an STI — but it can be transmitted sexually. Think about it: This is a fungal infection that likes to live in warm, dark, moist places. When you’re having sex, there’s usually contact between your warm, dark, moist places and your partner’s warm, dark, moist places. It also likes friction and, yeah, sex often involves friction. So if there’s jock itch hanging out on your partner, it’s possible it could be passed on to you.
But body parts do matter here. Jock itch is most common on people with penises — mainly because external genitalia that hangs down (penis and scrotum) is more likely to cause friction than external genitalia that’s close to the torso (vulva) — but it can live on the groins of people with vulvas, too. It’s not as likely, but it can happen. (Fun fact: The same fungus can also show up under your boobs if you’re really sweaty!)
So Can I Have Sex With My Partner If They Have Jock Itch?
The short answer is: “Probably not a great idea.” The longer answer is: “No, but…”
Here’s what I mean by that: Sex is a calculated risk. Whether it’s a risk of getting pregnant when you don’t want to or getting an STI or getting your heart broken, there are always risks that come along with sex. So considering the fact that treatment for jock itch can take a couple of weeks, you might not want to wait that long without having sex. And if you have a vulva, the risks of contracting it are pretty low, anyway, although I would be concerned about re-infecting your partner. If you have a penis, however, and are having sex with another person with a penis, you can definitely easily pass it back and forth between you.
So really, it’s up to you. Do you want to risk it? Is it worth it to you? I mean, I sometimes kiss my boyfriend when he has a cold, even though I know it might make me sick. Is that the best choice? Probably not. But it’s worth it to me when I do it. And, like I said, if you do get it, jock itch is totally treatable and doesn’t have long-term health consequences, although it doesn’t feel or look great.
How Can I Prevent Jock Itch?
One thing your boyfriend can do, however, is be diligent about not getting jock itch in the first place. Good hygiene practices are key here — although some people seem to be cursed to get it no matter how clean they are. The goal is to make sure there isn’t a hospitable environment for the fungus to grow in the first place.
To prevent jock itch, doctors recommend changing underwear at least once a day; washing workout gear after use; avoiding tight fitting clothes; using powder on the groin after showering; not sharing personal items; and treating athlete’s foot so it doesn’t spread.
But if your boyfriend has jock itch and you’re willing to take the risk? I say why not! It’s not going to kill you, make you infertile, or make you lost your mind. But it just might make your crotch burn for a while.
When I share with other women that I practice abstinence, it is usually followed by an inquisitive look. Most want to know how long I’ve been refraining from getting busy and how long much longer I plan on continuing with it. How long? Almost three years. Until when do I plan to hold out? My wedding night. The responses that I usually receive following my answers vary. Sometimes I get the eye roll, which is usually followed by girl-bye-no-one-abstains-in-2012 look. Sometimes I get a “good for you.” Other times I get a response that goes something like, “That’s great, I tried that once, but it didn’t work out,” or the infamous “That’s sweet, but get a little older honey and see if you’re singing that same tune.” However, the most frequent response that I get is “I always thought about it, but I could never do that,” which is probably somewhat true. By telling yourself that you can’t, you’ve already sabotaged yourself.
What many don’t realize is that celibacy isn’t something that is merely physical. From my own personal journey, I’ve come to realize that it is more of a mental battle than anything else. It is about making up your mind that you are going to refrain from sex and wanting it bad enough to truly stick with it, regardless of what opportunity presents itself and who comes along looking to change your mind. While there are plenty of people out there who will preach why you should become or remain celibate, not many are providing enough insight as to how. So, I’ve provided some of the tips that have helped me in my own personal journey, as well as some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Recognize why you’ve chosen or are considering celibacy – Not knowing the reason why you’re doing something can greatly hinder your progress and success. I personally decided to abstain from sex for religious reasons. As a Christian, the Bible advises against participating in premarital sex. While I had already made the mistake of engaging in sex outside of marriage, I didn’t wish to continue with it. I no longer have the gift of virginity to give to my future husband; however, I didn’t wish to continue giving away what I did have to a guy that was undeserving of it.
Inform your current sexual partner (if you have one) that you’ve kissed that life goodbye – Unless you plan on cutting all ties with the current boyfriend or friend with benefits that you’ve been engaging with, then you should probably inform them that you will no longer be taking part in the festivities. Now, I can’t guarantee you that their response will be the most encouraging, because realistically speaking, it probably won’t, but verbally putting it out there takes pressure off of you and it decreases expectations.
Refrain from putting yourself in compromising situations – Just because you’ve chosen to take on the challenging task of locking down the goods, that doesn’t mean you’re superwoman. You are still human. With that in mind, try to avoid putting yourself in situations that might tempt you to give in to your desires. We’re sexual beings and to think that because you’ve decided to be celibate you are somehow exempt from getting “turned on” is foolish.
Don’t lead him on – Participating in 4-play knowing that you don’t have any intentions of going all the way is crazy. Besides, celibacy means abstaining from all sexual activities, not just the main attraction. By doing this you also make things more difficult (tempting) for yourself. It is unfair to him as well.
Inform anyone that you are seriously dating or considering seriously dating of your decision – This just helps you to avoid headaches in the long run, it always shows you where your love interest’s head is at. First, it puts everything on the table. You are letting it be known upfront that sex is not on your agenda. Allow them to then make the decision from there whether or not they wish to continue a relationship with you.
Align yourself with other women like you – The decision to be celibate can be challenging at times. Having support from people that have embarked on similar journeys can be really helpful and encouraging, especially on those rough days.
Be selective with the men you choose to date – Practicing celibacy while dating a sexually active man is really difficult, some would even call it impossible. Practicing celibacy while dating a sexually active man who doesn’t respect your decision to be celibate is a recipe for disaster. It’s probably in your best interest to date those who have also made a decision to practice abstinence.
Control your thoughts – There will be times where your mind wants to wander back to how it used to be. You’d be surprised at how vivid and accurate your memory can be sometimes. You have the ability to be in control of your thoughts. While you may not be able to completely filter the thoughts that pop into your head, you can definitely decide what you choose to dwell on.
What are some things that you found helpful during your journey with celibacy?