What Does Modern Celibacy Look Like?

Does it look like this?

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What about this?

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Or just this?

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Sometimes I kind of regret the title of my blog. The original intent, besides being kind of catchy, was an alternative take on the “Sex and the Single Girl” view, endorsed by magazines like Cosmopolitan and shows like Sex and the City. (The book, Sex and the Single Girl, was written by Helen Gurley Brown, who was the editor-in-chief at Cosmo for over 30 years.) As someone who used to subscribe to Cosmo and was a fan of Sex and the City (the show is now cancelled), I can say that each of those media outlets – particularly Cosmo – gave me the idea that to be a normal, single woman was to be promiscuous. 

In other words, casual sex was the way to have fun and be fulfilled. 

I call bullshit.

I suppose the problem with the word “celibacy” is that it is so often attached to the word, “lifelong.” That is why the images of nuns come to mind. And the chastity belt… well, that was mostly a joke, but it also symbolized, for me, that choosing celibacy means opting for a masochistic lifestyle based around self-denial and a lack of pleasure.

But I am going to put aside whatever dictionary definition there is for celibacy, and give my own:

Living as a celibate woman means rejecting that sex is a normal part of dating a someone. Celibate women choose to respect themselves by respecting their bodies, instead of letting their bodies to be used as someone else’s means to an end.  

I am not sure if I ever mentioned it here, but I am not a virgin. It has been my experience that the “farther,” physically, I go with a guy, the more it breaks my heart when the relationship ends. The first (and only) guy with whom I had intercourse took me years to get over: it damaged me.  I never want to have sex again with someone with whom I will one day part ways (in this world anyway).

Therefore, I would say that remaining celibate is a way to avoid breaking your own heart.

At least, that’s what it is to me.

 

 

 

 

All images appear courtesy of wikimedia commons:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Camino_-_Nun_in_Prayer_-_Walters_371306.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sally_Field_The_Flying_Nun_1968.JPG

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fomfr_chastity_belt2.jpg

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How to Feel Like an Old Woman

Uhde_Old_woman_with_a_pitcher
How to feel like an old woman:
1. Visit your college alma mater (in my case, UC Davis)
2. Go to its alumni center
3. Chat with the 18 year-old working at the front desk
4. Ask her about joining the alumni situation
5. Have her say, “You probably graduated a while ago, huh?!”
6. Realize that to her, you look like the lady pictured above…

Image url: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AUhde_Old_woman_with_a_pitcher.JPG

Making Out: How Far Should You Go?

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I remember I was almost thirty when I had to sheepishly ask someone about the system of measurement used in high school whereby guys, especially, evaluated “how far” they had gotten with a girl. 

For those not in the know:

1st base = “French” kissing (kissing that involves tongues in each others’ mouths, as opposed to the lips simply pressed together

2nd base = hand-to-(female) breast contact

3rd base = hand-down-the-pants: the vagina is touched

Homerun/scoring = sexual intercourse

Now, that was embarrassing to type out.

But it is a convenient, if childish, way to refer to the various levels of physical affection. (I will not use those terms here, though: I merely list the above as a public service!)

There are some women who may never feel the need to ask themselves the question of how much physical affection they are willing express while dating, and I respect that.

For me, though, waiting to have sex (um, again) before marriage is part of being a Christian. And part of the reason I created this blog is that I believe that no matter a woman’s religion (or lack thereof) it is spiritually – and emotionally – healthy to refrain from casual sex.

I have found it important to set limits for myself when it comes to, well, “making out” with a guy. I have been a Christian since high school, and before I had so much as kissed a guy, I had vowed to save sex until after I was married. Culturally, that had been the acceptable norm for my parents and their peers: which is to say, the older Baby Boomers.  Then, came the ’60s and the Sexual Revolution. Things got complicated.

And they got especially complicated for me when during my college years I finally met a handsome, sexy guy who was as enamored with me as I was with him: something that seemed miraculous. All of my hypothetical resolve melted once real lust was at stake and the real-life chance for sex was finally at hand. I didn’t last long.

I’m not proud to say that being young, I foolishly acquiesced to sex with this young man because he said that if we didn’t have sex we might as well break up.  I think this is common, though — and perhaps the more lonely a woman feels, the more likely she is to cave. I was just getting used to this uncommon privilege of having a boyfriend and I didn’t want to lose him. So I lost my virginity instead.

I was 22, and now I’m 37. Nowadays, of course, if a man dared to issue that sort of ultimatum to me, I would be out the door before he finished his sentence, laughing scornfully on my way out. But I was so very attracted to this young man, and wanted so much to please him, that my virginity seemed worth sacrificing.

I think two seconds after my now-infant niece finally turns twelve, I am going to warn her of the time-tested lines that no doubt young men still use with their girlfriends today to push them into having sex. If I believed them fifteen years ago, no doubt there are girls still believing these lies today:

We should have sex because…

“Once you start, you can’t stop.” (I think that eventually became the ad line for a popular potato chip brand)

“You can’t get me excited like this and then just stop things.”

“It hurts when I (get an erection) and I don’t have sex.”

And if the girl wants to wait until she’s married?

“I love you.”

“We’re going to get married anyway.”

The most ridiculous one is, “Now that we’ve gone this far, we have to go all the way.” The implication was that once the guy had an erection, my not having sex with him was some outrageous violation of his human rights. How cruel of me! What teases we women are! Oh, I have been called a tease, believe me.

I once asked a male friend of mine, a young Christian man whom I respected a lot (I still do) – about what the truth was when it came to a guy getting “stimulated” and what happens if he doesn’t get to have sex. Did it really hurt him? Did he simply have to take his pants off at this point?

He actually laughed at this (though not at me)! He said that of course that wasn’t true — that it didn’t even make sense that a man who had an erection “had” to have sex, or at least have to somehow ejaculate — as if he was a female cow who would suffer in pain unless she was milked before sundown.

After all, I’ve never had an erection, but I do know that it would not be convenient or socially acceptable to simply demand sex of whomever was around every time you had an erection. Neither could you probably masturbate conveniently every time this happened.

*

I remember in college a Christian girlfriend told me about a mutual friend – also a Christian – who had begun dating a fellow Christian man, and it was pretty serious. Right from the start, they decided they wouldn’t even kiss until and unless they got married!

My friend reacted with a kind of awe and admiration: wonder, even. But to me: no kissing? Why date, right? I pretty much saw dating as a way to get kissed, and a convenient thing to do if you ran out of things to talk about.

Then, of course, came that gem of a guy who said have-sex-or-we-break-up. But since that time, I have managed to avoid intercourse. Sadly, I have not been celibate, however: I have not managed to refrain from sex altogether. And I didn’t always want to refrain, either.

But it took me years to get over the heartbreak of that first boyfriend. And I knew it was because of our sexual relationship. Knowing that helped build my resolve to wait until marriage.

But I believe that remaining celibate has to do with regarding your body as a sacred thing: not just anyone can touch it.  In other words, keeping yourself healthy emotionally and spiritually while dating means setting stricter limits (beyond swearing off sex) when it comes to physical affection.

For instance, I remember the heartbreak I felt when things ended with a man I had only known for a few weeks, but whom I felt pretty close to: an artificial closeness based, in part, on the fact that we had made out to the point where we were both naked, although we never did have sex.

In contrast, a few months later I dated a man with whom things actually became serious. We even planned (prematurely) to get married, and yet this time I decided to put on the brakes. Kissing only. That’s it. Nothing more. And however sad I was that we broke up, I never felt that almost physical sensation of my heart being wrung out like a wet towel. And I believe that the lack of long-term pain was due to our commitment to holding off on short-term pleasure.

In my experience, once you get comfortable kissing and feel confidence in your own desirability, it’s all-too-easy to go from kissing to having sex. In fact, as soon as your is in his mouth, you’re on the way to sex and it’s up to you to put on the brakes. If you let the part of your brain take over that demands instant and easy gratification – consequences be damned — well, you’re going to have to plan ahead if you don’t want to get pregnant.

Once I found out how easy it was to slide into sex, I understood the reasoning of the weird-sounding Christian couple who decided to  avoiding even kissing.

That is not to say that I am ready and able to take on that policy: I just recognize its wisdom.

PS: It would not be fair to avoid answering the question I posed in the title to this post. Thus, I will say from personal experience that you should stop at French kissing. It’s worked for me.

Image: The Kiss, by Italian artist Francesco Hayez, 1859; available via public domain, thanks to Wikimedia

 

 

 

The Worst Thing About Online Dating is Everything

Celibacy and the Single Girl

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Perhaps saying “everything” about online dating is bad is going a bit far. I mean, online dating has its virtues, right? Absolutely not.

In fact, I have a new theory. The reason that anyone ever tries online dating is that they know of heard of “someone” who has meet “someone” online.

I submit to you the following: WE ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT THE SAME COUPLE (who just happen to have a wide circle of friends).

If it sounds like I have just had a bad experience on lonely.people.are.suckers.com*, then you’re right. (*fictional website: so far. millions can no doubt be made.)

The sad truth is, it wasn’t even the worst experience I have ever had using my computer to find a future… whatever.
It’s just that when I recently gave online dating another try, enough time had passed that I forgotten what a stinking cesspool it can be.

But to…

View original post 722 more words

(Less) Fun with Feminine Hygiene

The following might read like a joke, but believe me, it’s not funny: how long do you need to try to inserting a Diva Cup before realizing it’s time to give up?

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The short answer, unfortunately, is: FOREVER. At least, that is, if you heed the instructional insert which tells a girl something it would be helpful (though deadly from a selling standpoint) to print on the box: this device is non-returnable.

Luckily, your ability to get your money back is not necessarily up to DivaCup: it’s up to the store where you might need to return the thing. And so if you think you can work up your nerve to bring in a used (albeit, cleaned up) menstrual cup back into the store, check in advance with the store in question in advance.

And of course, being a completely kick-ass kind of place, Good Earth Foods in Fairfax, California did that for me!  (Sorry guys: I really did plan to keep it.)

And believe me, you’re going to want to return it, unless you’re Oprah Winfrey, whose menstruating days are probably a thing of the past anyway. The DivaCup, in all of it’s non-disposable goodness, costs around $35-$40. It might be a bit cheaper to buy online, but with postage and handling, I don’t know that you’ll make out any better.Paying $40 for a single toiletry item is a big commitment.

That is why I was DETERMINED to make the DivaCup thing work: dammit!

But ladies? Remember what a pain in the you-know-where it was to get your first tampon up in thar?

Picture having to shove a much larger, rubber/plastic-type device up your vagina, all the while thinking, “If I don’t make this work, I’ll have just wasted 40 bucks!”

Now this brings up an interesting point, re: celibacy.  I began to wonder: if I was sexually active, or had given birth, would it be easier to insert something like the DivaCup? I don’t know: it’s not worth doing either to find out! But I do know I bought the smallest size, and it still wasn’t small enough.

Bear in mind, too, that a tampon seems to be shaped specially with insertion in mind. But the menstrual cup almost seems like they had someone design the thing, and only later mentioned to her that it would actually need to be put inside a vagina. “Oh,” the inventor of the DivaCup would respond, hesitantly. “I suppose if the woman kind of folded it up first? 
The DivaCup revealed:

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Maybe she could get it up there?”

Maybe. If the darn thing stayed folded up. But. Good luck with that.

And I am so sorry to say that!  Gotta love the convenience and minimum-spot-on-white-pants risk that a tampon gives me, but the prospect of all of that non-biodegradable flushable stuff is really depressing. I doubt the DivaCup itself is biodegradable. But since the thing is meant for long-term reuse, that helps ease one’s guilt.

Thus, I have yet to find a “sustainable” tampon.
Which reminds me, I should probably test-drive more than one option before giving up entirely.

Fun with Feminine Hygiene! GladRags

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The monthly crimson tide has finally ebbed. A few days later, it’s time to empty the waste basket. The bathroom waste basket. Now, I am not ashamed of being a woman or my body or whatever, but let’s face it: garbage is disgusting. And if you happen to encounter your used tampons and/or maxi pads in the garbage it’s just not…. how shall I say… aesthetically pleasing.

My first, fleeting thought is: “Ewww.” They second, more lasting thought is, “At least I’m doing my part to add to the county landfill!” It gets depressing. And so like many women, I decided to try to find a way to use non-disposable “feminine hygiene” methods.

And like a handful of women, I was pretty lazy about it. Note my wording. I “decided to
try.” I didn’t actually try, yet. But I thought about it, and felt appropriately guilty, right? But disposables are easier. And the easiest way to stop feeling guilty is to simply get someone else to take out the trash. (Why not pull a Tom Sawyer and try to make it look fun, and recruit people that way?)

You figure — hey, not only do I recycle. That’s a given. I also compost. I bring my own bags to the grocery store, I drive a Prius. I do use aerosol hair spray, but that’s only because the pump kind sucks so very much. Don’t those things help cancel out some monthly trash?

And that brings me to Good Earth Natural Foods, of Fairfax, California. (www.genatural.com)
Good Earth

On my way to the checkout counter at Good Earth, I happened by the “Feminine Hygiene” section of the store. That might not be what they called it. Perhaps they referred to as “Personal Care.” Or, more likely, “Goddess Needs.”

This means my purchase of GladRags was essentially an impulse buy.

Well-played, Good Earth.

I also bought the Diva Cup. I was especially looking forward to giving that product a test drive. Well, not looking forward to it, exactly. But I was definitely looking forward to not having to use tampons anymore, and I was hoping I had found a solution with the Diva Cup. I shall discuss that product, however, in a different post.

The GladRag. At first I had a bit of sticker shock at the price. The little box, which was essentially one maxi pad, was $15. It seemed steep, until I realized that I could easily spend $15 on a few boxes of disposable maxi pads, and hopefully this thing would last me a lot longer: with the added perk, of course, of not becoming landfill fodder anytime soon.

Positives:

1) One GladRag will hopefully replace hundreds of disposable maxi pads.
2) Made of soft, comfortable organic cotton.
3) Fastens securely to underwear.
4) Comes with extra inserts to accommodate a heavy period.
5) You get to channel your inner hippie. You’re one with the earth, or whatever.

Neutral (aka stuff that seems negative but then you realize it isn’t):

1) Price: around $15, as of November 2013. Theoretically will save money because of reusability.
2) You are supposed to wash it first. Duh, right? But usually I buy maxi pads with the intention of wearing one as soon as I get home. So unless you have a second set which is pre-washed, you’ll need to wait.
3) Slight staining may still exist, even after washing. Again, duh. Blood is a stain, right?

Note: I decided to go ahead and wear my second set without washing it. This was not a problem. Importantly, the reason I chose not to wait was because I needed to wash the first set. And I liked the GladRags so much, I was unwilling to go back to disposables while I waited!

Negatives:

1) Slightly bulky
2) A bit inconvenient when you’re “on the go,” and would need to have been carrying a whole other pad with you. However, many of us have big ass purses that would accomodate such a thing.

Overall Grade: A

Below: This is the insert. One standard package comes with two of these.
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Below: Put the insert inside the cover, which snaps around your underwear. I’m bad at this sort of thing, but even I figured it out how to do this pretty quickly.
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Below: This is what it will look like when it’s good to go, right before you snap it into your underwear.
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Although at first I thought, based on the name “GladRags,” that this was some sort of ill-advised retro product, along with lines of the “Kotex Classic” Saturday Night Live skit, I was wrong.

I like it so much, I would buy it as a Christmas present for all of my girlfriends, if that wouldn’t be a sort of creepy thing to do.

Really? You mean right here in the store?!

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Maybe I would take them up on the offer, if I had decided I didn’t care if I was ever welcome back at Good Earth Natural Foods, in Fairfax, California. As seen November 17, 2013.

Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady

Toastmasters Speech – November/December 2012.
Inspired by a housesitting job I did in Fairfax, CA

F*ck Yeah! Chocolate Cake

F*ck Yeah! Chocolate Cake

My Least Favorite Cookbook

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Nothing against Jessica Seinfeld, and certainly not against the adorable cover of this book. Kudos, graphic designers: you got me to pick the thing up. The adorable retro look of the book and the enticing promise of being able to eat bad-for-you crap and somehow make it healthy was a too-good-be-true package that I wish I had recognized as such. (Of course, it helped that it was being sold by a now-defunct independent bookstore I was trying to support. It was called The Next Chapter and it was in the charming downtown of Woodland, California.)

Here is a review I wrote of the volume, and had posted on www.goodreads.com some time ago.  Consider yourself forewarned, but if you do find the need to buy the book, please please please buy it from your local independent bookstore.  Or if you love you some online shopping, try www.powells.com, where you can even get it used! http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780061251344-0

I don’t have kids and am not particularly interested (necessarily) in having them, so that might in part explain my bad attitude. Maybe if you’re doing something for someone else (like a kid) you’re more motivated.

Anyway, here’s the review:

I hate this book. Obviously, I’m not trying to be objective, and I’m kind of in a bad mood as I’m writing this 😦

I feel like this BOOK is deceptive!

The deal is, if you want to “sneak” healthy stuff into kids’ foods (or, into your own food, as I was hoping to do)you have to make an actual major lifestyle change: prepare to spend hours at a time to boiling up vegetables and and  liquefying them in a blender, then freezing them for a future date when you can trick your kids into eating them by saying, “Hey, kid, how about some banana cream pie, partly filled with liquid squash?”

Who would do all of this, unless they were actually, certifiably crazy? I don’t know how this book got published!  About 1% (or less) of the people who purchase this book are going to follow the strange plan of this loony lady…

Actually, to answer my own question as to how it got published, it’s because it has an appealing cover and title, and when you flip through the thing it’s filled with colorful photographs of delicious-looking recipes.  It’s only when you sit down and give it a good read that you see that this mom is insane.

I guess my biggest question is, are this lady’s cooking tactics really of nutritional value?  She (probably) can’t hurt the kids with her soupy concoctions, but isn’t it true that once you boil the heck out of vegetables and liquefy them, the vitamins and other good stuff go completely down the… well… toilet?

Speaking of which, maybe the sneaking-in-the-vegetables thing is purely for roughage purposes.  So why puree them?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

My alternative title would be, “How to Give Your Kids Diarrhea”.

I’m bitter because this book was kind of expensive and I felt duped. 

Therefore, I consider this review a sort of public service message: use it well.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/30428503