Voluntary celibacy: Why do young people choose not to have sex?
Sexual abstinence can be due to external factors or force majeure, but sometimes it is the result of a real choice that affects both men and women. The voluntary celibacy is on the rise among young people and the day #voluntarycelibacy on TikTok it has millions of views. What are the reasons for the phenomenon? We spoke to about it Gaia PolloniPsychologist, psychotherapist, clinical sexologist and expert in andrology.
What is voluntary celibacy?
“By voluntary celibacy we mean the decision to abstain from sexual relations. It differs from involuntary celibacy, where “incels” (abbreviation for) involuntary celibacy) wants to have emotional and sexual relationships, but cannot find partners with whom to develop them. Likewise, it differs from asexuality, a sexual orientation in which there is no sexual attraction to a person. The practice of abstinence “full cells” (out of voluntary celibacy) It may change. Some refrain from any form of sexual contact with third parties, others indulge in sexual practices such asouter cors (i.e. non-pervasive practices). Still others practice total abstinence, which excludes both sexual activity with others and masturbation,” explains the doctor.
Are young people having less and less sex?
“We know from various European and American surveys that there is a significant percentage of young people, especially Millennials and Gen Z, who are not having sex. The Censis Bayer report estimates that in Italy there are people between the ages of 18 and 40 who have been practicing sexual abstinence for at least 6 months 13 million. However, we do not know how many of them did so voluntarily. We must also take that into account power of social influence. The #voluntarycelibacy trend, which is increasingly depopulating social networks like TikTok, may have fascinated or influenced many people,” the sexologist continues.
Why do people voluntarily choose not to have sex?
“If you discount religious motivations, which don’t really fall under this phenomenon, it often happens after a period of hyperactivity.” take one Break out of the chaos of casual sex or compulsive dating. They choose to “detox” like those who go on a diet after the culinary excesses of the Christmas holiday. Sometimes there is also a detox phase unfulfilled sexualityboth physically and emotionally. Then there are those who want it value or restore sexuality, waiting for the right partner. The reasons are personal and different for everyone. The common root seems to be a desire to eliminate distractions in order to bring attention back to oneself. Center yourself and focus on other important aspects of your lifelike psychophysical well-being, schooling, passions, friendships, and most importantly, a career.”
Sexual abstinence in response to traumatic experiences or toxic relationships
“There are those who feel the need for it end of a relationship, even more so when one suffers. Especially if there were any traumatic experiencesB. sexual harassment or assault, a broken condom during sexual intercourse, an unwanted pregnancy or infection with a sexually transmitted disease. Even one toxic relationship can lead to a period of abstinence. Perhaps there is fear of encountering other people from whom one cannot protect oneself and falling back into unhealthy dynamics. Or the fear of returning to a sexuality marked by negative experiences or physical pain. The voluntary celibacy can be triggered by relationship avoidance, such as form of protection» continues Gaia Polloni.
The benefits of voluntary celibacy
According to the expert, “It helps in cases of sex and pornography addiction. In addition, it could be beneficial in situations love addiction. In those where sex is the only way to maintain bonding and closeness to one another, or a way to fill a void or distance yourself from an inner discomfort. In all of these scenarios, the person is having sex not because they really feel like it. He is moved by fear, by the need for personal validation, by feelings of boredom or loneliness. Also, distance yourself from promiscuous or compulsive sexuality reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases And unwanted pregnanciescan be used to observe one’s own dynamics more clearly. It makes you more aware of your emotional and sexual needs and teaches you to say no.
The importance of psychotherapy
“A period of voluntary celibacy, especially when accompanied by psychotherapy, can result in sex being experienced as a choice to be made with desire, with full awareness and respect for oneself and the other.” therapeutic way However, it is fundamental, especially if there are aspects of it sexual or emotional addiction or previous sexual trauma. In these cases, abstaining from sex will not be enough, but it will be necessary dig deep» the therapist explains.
Voluntary celibacy: what are the possible risks?
“The risks are related to the duration of the abstinence. Voluntary celibacy for a few months is risk-free and will have happened to most people at some point in their lives. Instead, years of abstinence can lead to it lonlinessTo difficulties in interpersonal relationships and to manage sexual urgesuntil you did depressive symptoms. Furthermore, if it is a reaction to past trauma (both relational and sexual), there is a risk that the unraveling of the inner knots will be delayed.”
Is sex good for health?
“We know that regular sexual activity has multiple effects psychophysical benefitsas well as maintaining a stable and calm relationship. Me too’Autoeroticism is important: helps to get to know your own body and helps men to prevent prostate problems. This trend could spread the idea that sex is the cause of lack of personal fulfillment or growth. Sex itself, if lived harmoniously, can only increase individual well-being; It’s the way it’s lived that can point to a deeper malaise.”
Can voluntary celibacy really help you rediscover your sexuality?
“In today’s society, there is greater freedom of exploration and expression than in the past.” However, ease of use and the variety of options available, thanks in particular to the internet, have helped reduce sexual desire. We invest less in emotional relationships. Modern sexuality is mostly individualistic, based on the satisfaction of physical pleasure and is detached from the relational and emotional components. Many are stuck illusory search for perfect partners, with a compulsive thirst for novelty that allows one not to have to reveal oneself with authenticity. The quick, ephemeral and distant sexuality often does not allow you to stay in touch with your emotional, affective, and sexual needs. Deceleration or a break can be useful in some situations and moments in life. There Selection but you have to be aware of it dictated by an inner drive and certainly not by a trend, an imitation or a need for recognition» concludes Polloni.