"It wasn't something that just happened... I had an end goal in mind."
When blogger Filomena Kaguako, 26, gave up sex for a year, she couldn’t have anticipated the highs, lows and unexpected benefits it brought.
Filomena told STELLAR her story, and explained the – very understandable – motives behind her decision.
“Around the end of 2014, I told myself that I wasn’t going to have sex with anyone in the coming year and decided to be celibate from January 2015 to January 2016. I felt that my last sexual relationships coming up to the start of my celibacy had me in a place where I wasn’t content. I’d somehow linked sex with self worth, which is wrong on so many levels. I came to the realisation that I’d been going into the majority of my sexual relationships blind to the mental and emotional consequences that can come with sharing your naked body with another human being. I felt that it was time to put an end to it, and start focusing on myself.
“Not having sex for 365 days wasn’t something that just happened. My decision didn’t stem from having a lack of interest in sex or a low libido, it came from having a mission and an end goal in mind.
“It wasn’t easy: my mood swings sky rocketed, particularly around the time of month. I found that the only way it can be made easier is when you don’t put yourself in a situation where sex can happen. I’ve never been a one night stand kind of girl, so in that sense, I was able to manage better. But I’m naturally quite a sexual person, which may come as a surprise, because I think a lot of people were under the impression that I’d a low sex drive and that’s why I was able to commit for so long – it’s not true!
“The biggest challenge I faced was probably trying to keep myself distracted. Most people would automatically say ‘you can’t replace sex’, but what they fail to understand is that it’s not the actual sex that was being replaced, it was the fulfillment of an urge and desire, which I released in a different way. For the first few months it was food – no surprise there, ice cream, doughnuts, all the bad stuff that tastes good. When I realised all the junk was only making me feel worse, I redirected my energy into something I felt I could gain more from in the long run: fitness. I started going to the gym at least four times a week – of course the big muscly men didn’t help at all, but I was fine once I stayed in the women’s section.
“People’s reactions were very telling. The initial reaction from the majority was ‘there’s obviously something wrong with you’. Another reaction was ‘you must be gay.’ What surprised me the most was some of the backlash I received after writing about my year of celibacy on my blog. Most of it came from one of the images I used: it showed a woman with her legs crossed under the caption ‘hearts rarely get broken when legs are closed.’ Some people regarded this as me oppressing female sexuality, which was a slap in the face – it’s not something I’d do. Celibate or not, I’d never condemn promiscuity.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for someone who has the willpower to give up something that comes very naturally to them. In having more control over my sex life, I felt that it made me more disciplined in other areas of my life as well. I’m better able to make my needs known and express what I really want. It also gave me the chance to work on other attributes like patience, and I’ve learned that I don’t need to have sex to feel wanted, I don’t need to give my body to another person to feel loved and I don’t need to share one of the most intimate physical acts to feel worthy. Above all, I learned that just because someone desires you, it doesn’t mean they value you.
“Society continues to put pressure on women when it comes to sex. Women are more empowered, the feminist movement has brought us a long way. There are more women pursuing their dreams in predominately male environments… But, I still feel that our culture continues to have a double standard when it comes to female sexuality. Whether it is at a subconscious level or not, slut-shaming still exists, it still abounds for women. And it breaks my heart because when certain standards and expectations are placed on someone, they’ll never get the chance to truly explore themselves or be who they want to be, sexually or not.
“Now? I’m no longer celibate. The physical part wasn’t different, I mean how many ways can you ride a bike? What I felt was the most different about breaking my celibacy was my perception. My year of purposely abstaining from sex brought a lot of clarity to my love and sex life. I feel that anyone I have sex with from here on out won’t be as a result of me wanting to feel wanted, it will simply be me acting on my natural human instincts, and not doing it because I want to feel valued.”
Read Filomena’s blog at enhancewhatsyours.com.
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s May issue. Our September issue is on shelves now!