Musings From 18 Months Of Self-Imposed Celibacy

It wasn’t that hard…

Joe Bee


You might be peering at my profile picture, wondering why someone who could double as the heartthrob from “My Girl 2” would willingly sideline themselves from the dating circus for a considerable time.

Let me lay it out for you. In college, I played the field like a kid in a candy store. I wasn’t picky about who shared my bed, and much like a Medium writer fishing for clicks, I believed that more was bound to lead to better.

By some miracle of the universe, I managed to dodge what my mom affectionately called “love bugs” — her cutesy term for venereal diseases. But believe me, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I wasn’t a sex-crazed maniac like Tiger Woods or Charlie Sheen, but if winning 15 majors or landing a syndicated TV show had been on the table, I might’ve been.

Eventually, my carefree flings gave way to some meaningful relationships that, quite frankly, crashed and burned. However, one girlfriend taught me more about sex than I could’ve gleaned from a thousand episodes of “Sex and the City.” Ironically, her lessons led me to endure eighteen long months of mostly self-imposed celibacy.

This extraordinary woman had weathered a tumultuous upbringing and carried the scars of past traumas linked to sex. She wrestled with these demons daily, and she rarely opened up about them. But what little she shared transformed my entire perspective on sex and convinced me to hit the pause button.

So, here are my top three takeaways from my year-and-a-half-long stint of living like a shipwrecked sailor:

Love Isn’t a Proxy for Sex

Some might find this obvious, but I had the knack for confusing love and sex, like trying to tell identical twins apart after seven beers. They looked similar, and it took stepping away from the game for me to realize how often I used my “love” card to score in the bedroom. In case you missed the memo, what I wanted was sex.

My drinking habits at the time didn’t help. It frequently led me to emotionally manipulate women into bed by professing my love within minutes of meeting them. It always felt genuine in the heat of the moment. I never spewed those words as bald-faced lies…