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7 Tips To Navigate The Dating Scene While Celibate

Advice from someone nearly five years in on how to keep your legs closed and your heart open.

Dating

Without a doubt, celibacy was the best decision I've ever made. I gave far too much of myself in my last relationship, and when it started to deteriorate I made a promise that moving forward, I wouldn't compromise my morals for a man again. I walked into my relationship happy, and eager to have sex with a man I loved, but I walked out broken using my body as a means to keep us together when I knew years before, it was time to leave.

Ultimately, taking sex off the table altogether was the only way I knew I'd keep my word because I'd be setting boundaries with the next man from the door.

But the beautiful thing about celibacy is that it's taught me so much more than just how to abstain from sex and toxic men. It's brought me closer to God, given me immense self-control, confidence, and it's allowed me to tap into talents inside myself; I never knew I had. What hasn't come as easy in the journey is dating. Because let's be real, your dating pool decreases significantly and the ability to stay strong requires discipline. What's great though about what being celibate in 2020, is that it's slowly is becoming a lifestyle that's embraced in the mainstream with celebrity couples such as Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, Ciara and Russell Wilson, and Chance The Rapper and Kirsten Corley. Even television shows are joining in by displaying characters like Nia from Lena Waithe's Twenties, David from Boomerang, and real-life couples discussing their journey on the hit TV show Black Love Doc.

So if you're considering celibacy, or you're celibate by force thanks to Rona, keep these tips in mind to help you tap into some self-control and, withstand your new normal.

1. Know your triggers.

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Most people who are celibate will tell you to be mindful of what you watch and listen to, and they're right, but you should also ask yourself what triggers you specifically. Masturbation and watching porn are a no for me (because it was important for me to completely surrender to the process), but I can have drinks at the club with my girls, listen to R&B music (in moderation), and not be tempted at all. But dating a man who's consistent, baby, that can trigger me to want to be all in, and sex is the closest you can be with someone. Realizing what would cause me to go from playing "My Goodies" to "Body Party" helped me navigate those moments with men much easier because I was prepared.

2. When it gets hard, remember your why. 

Sexual frustration is a real thing, and it can get to you if you aren't reminding yourself of the long-term goal. There are days where I want to just say forget this and have sex, but then I had to be real and ask myself, "Is sex worth me compromising what I know is important to me?" While it might seem like a moment to give in to something that feels good, you'll soon realize that it's actually self-sabotage, and you learn to avoid those moments because you see them from afar off. And because my celibacy is rooted in Christianity, I remember what my life looked like when I wasn't listening to God, and it didn't result in happiness.

3. Once you know you really like someone, tell them.

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The question of when do you tell someone you're celibate is always something people who are new to this lifestyle ask me. The answer is there is no perfect time, but I'd say that once you know you're really interested, be upfront with them. It's a scary conversation to have because the reality is they may not be up for the challenge, but you don't need every person you meet to be open to celibacy - you need the one person that's for you to be on board.

4. Get an accountability partner(s) you can be vulnerable with.

Whenever I meet someone new, I make sure that I talk with my godsister and my best friend more than ever. They remind me of my triggers, give me the advice to stay committed, and if I get a little too close to a man, they call me out on it. It's also important to mention that both of these women aren't celibate, they just love me enough to support my decisions (I say that because many people feel like you need celibate friends and, while it's good to have them, your friends should support your journey period.)

5. Be prepared to get ghosted.

This journey is not for everyone so more often than not; you'll find that men will ghost you. My first year of celibacy, there was a guy trying to date me and I wasn't ready at all, but he was so persistent I gave it a shot. The second he found out I was celibate, that man was Casper; but it was a valuable lesson for me, and it gave me thick skin. Ultimately you don't want to spend years of your life with someone that has no intentions on marrying you so, while it hurts at first, getting ghosted is actually a good thing. Now when men run, I get excited because all that means is I'm one step closer to meeting the man that thinks I'm worthy of waiting for - my husband.

6. Read 'The Wait'.

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The Wait, a book written by Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin on their celibacy journey, was the cheat sheet I needed to understand what this life would entail. If I'm honest, it's the reason why I'm celibate as it came out around the time I decided I would really change my life. The book covered everything I needed to know from controlling sexual urges, bouncing back if you slip up, discovering your purpose before marriage, healing from past relationship trauma; it was one of the best books I've ever read. What I loved most about it was they addressed celibacy from the perspective of a woman and a man.

7. Once things get serious, establish boundaries with your partner.

Once you meet someone willing to wait with you, you'll need to establish rules and specify what works for the two of you. Some couples don't go over each other's houses past a certain time, avoid the bedroom, or refrain from kissing each other in certain areas. Ultimately only you and your partner know what gets you hot and bothered, so once you're committed to being together, you need to be honest about what you need in order to make abstaining work.

Bonus: Celebrate the self-control you've tapped into.

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Celibacy has taught me that if I can control my sexual desires, there's nothing I can't do. Establishing discipline in my sex life has allowed me to better decide what I eat, who I spend my time with, and what I work toward because my mindset is different. This lifestyle isn't easy, but the benefits are rewarding and, if you're focused, there's nothing you can't accomplish, including finding the love of your life.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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