No Sex Zone: Why One Couple Is Practicing Celibacy
I've always been fascinated by couples who choose to practice abstinence, even considering it at one point before ultimately giving up the cookie because the temptations levels were mighty high.
I ask a lot of questions, wondering how women and more specifically, men, hold on to the steadfast belief that waiting to engage in sexual activities will make for a longer and healthy marriage. The answers I've received from couples who have held out before marriage range from the tenet that the passion between two people are heightened and strengthened, and a different level of trust is created. Of course, I've heard counter-responses from those who question the longevity of a union when partners are “inexperienced" in the bedroom or don't know how to arouse their partner.
The discourse is one that goes back and forth, with pop-culture references of so-and-so “teaching you" and arguments of learning along the way with someone you love. I understand both ends of the spectrum, while keeping in mind recent conversations of purity, what that looks like, and how it's defined. Bible scriptures are quoted as back-up and opposing ends cite out-of-date ways of thinking for relationships. But to each his own.
After further research on the top, these are some of what people consider the benefits of practicing abstinence before marrying and being down with the “purity industry":
Low to zero percent chance of contracting a STD
The avoidance of an unexpected pregnancy
“Meaningful" relationship without the emotional turmoil failed, sexual relationships bring
Fully understanding the love v. love debate
More sex (think about how many men say their sex life decreases post-marriage)
There's a great article on MadameNoire from 2013 on one woman's choice to practice abstinence, with her thought process on her decision stemming from looking at celibacy as “a place of self-discovery." She also indicted how celibacy aided in helping her break ties easier with men, brought about a sense of emotional clarity, and kept her away from the BS that comes with being in a committed relationship. Her points were very valid.
But celibacy isn't something practiced by the average Joe and Jane around the way. Tamara Mowry Housley is a celeb who believed and followed it prior to marrying her husband, Adam. The co-host of The Real has openly spoke on losing her virginity at 29, regretting her decision to do so before marriage, and remaining celibate until officially becoming a Mrs. More power to her!
So, I wanted to see if I could find a couple within my age range that is actively practicing celibacy and get their thoughts on falling back and holding out on sex, temptation, and what celibacy will do for them in the long run. I came across Brianna and Paul who shared their thoughts, individually and as a unit, on the subject at hand.
When and why did you make the decision to not have sex before getting married, and how far were you into your relationship before sharing this with your fiancée?
Brianna: I had a close relationship with Christ at a young age and was raised in church. However, during my teenage years I strayed away and wanted to grown up too quick, mainly because of daddy issues. In my heart, I wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. However, I didn't place the necessary actions behind my thoughts to hold virginity in high esteem. I gave into pressure and had sex for the first time in 2009 while in college, even though I had always wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. Shortly thereafter in November 2009, I joined a sexual purity movement called 'Worth the Wait' to have accountability in my decision to remain celibate until marriage. I made the decision to become a Reborn Virgin, or practice abstinence because I did not want my future relationships to be based on the physical and I wanted to honor God in my decision. I knew that he had the best for me, so I really wanted to trust him in this area of my life.
I met my fiancé at church in 2014, so he sort of had an idea of what type of person I was. But he also thought that church girls are the biggest freaks! So I had to show him that I was genuine in my relationship with Christ. But I wasted no time in letting him know that I had been celibate since 2009 and I can't wait to get married to release the beast! [Laughs] It may have come up in a group outing within the first week of us hanging out.
A lot of people assume practicing abstinence doesn't last long, hence short engagements. What helps in your journey in not being intimate sexually?
Brianna: I think not being intimate sexually gives you the ability to ask a lot of questions and really get to know each other. I really feel like I know Paul well and he knows me to the point where I can't hide anything from him. The best decision, which helps to stay away from sex, is to stay in public places and be open and honest about how you're feeling with each other. We definitely know the attraction is there and it will be VERY ENJOYABLE during the proper season once we are married, so we have accountability and do a lot of group outings with our family and friends.
What do you think abstaining from sex before marriage will do for your relationship in the long run?
Brianna: In the long run, I think it helps to develop trust and honor. Because we are practicing self-restraint during this season, I don't have to be worried about extra marital affairs, because we have disciplined ourselves in our foundation. So I can trust that if I'm having a health challenge or we may be away from each other for an extended amount of time, I'm not worried if Paul will be faithful because he has proven himself during dating, as well as our engagement, that he has self-control and restraint.
I don't feel pressured or guilty in our relationship in doing something that is against my morals, so I have a certain respect and honor for Paul for him valuing me enough to wait until marriage. Lastly, it will provide for some great intimacy because we have a lot of it pinned up! [Laughs]
What were your initial thoughts on Brianna's decision to practice sexual abstinence? Did you automatically accept it for what it was or did you have a hard time coming to terms with that?
Paul: Yeah...alright. When we didn't kiss for the first six months, I was like BRUH. But the funny thing was, I could have continued, but Brianna was the one who kissed me! [Laughs] I accepted it because every other relationship was just based on the physical, and I knew I wanted something more.
[Tweet "Every other relationship was just based on the physical, and I knew I wanted more."]
I desired a Godly woman, and if this is what it took to keep her, I was okay with that decision. And I was really able to open up to Brianna in a way that I had never done with any of my other girlfriends, because instead of sex, we talked and talked and talked... and continue to talk.
Paul: My friends didn't believe that I could do it or understand how I'm doing it. I let my friends know that I love Brianna enough to respect her decision and not to tempt her. My family is supportive because they are Christians as well.
Do you ever have those moments of wanting to "give in?"
Paul: OF COURSE! But I think of how it would change the dynamics of our relationship and how much I love and respect Brianna.
Do you worry about not being sexually compatible? Should that be a deal breaker in a relationship?
Brianna: I'm definitely not worried about being sexually compatible. I think communication solves everything. You have to tell someone what you like. I know that Paul is a giver and wants to please me in other areas, so this will definitely not be any issue for him. I also know that if God wants me to wait, it will definitely be worth the wait. He doesn't make any junk and he wants me to have the best in every area, including my sex life. I don't think it should be a deal breaker, because I believe intimacy and fulfillment can be attained through communication.
Paul: No, I already know we're sexually compatible. I can see it in her eyes! It shouldn't be a deal breaker. Communication is key.
Are you practicing celibacy before marriage? Share your story below!
- Celibacy: 12 FAQs About Why, Rules to Follow, Benefits, Risks, More ›
- 'I don't think we'll ever have sex again': our happy, cuddly, celibate ... ›
- 4 Lessons We Learned After Practicing Celibacy For Over 3 Years ... ›
- How Celibacy Strengthens Your Sex Life • EBONY ›
- The Benefits of Choosing Celibacy for a Few Months or More ›
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Can you believe that we’re literally just a few weeks away from 2024? I know I can’t. Hell, I still remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and even what I was wearing when we all rang in 2000 — and now, look at us. *le sigh*
Anyway, the reason why I decided to pen this particular piece is because I’ve got some women in my world who like to be up on the latest beauty (and fashion) trends, long before others are — and so, I penned this with them (and the women who are just like them) in mind.
If that is indeed you, please take out a sec to check out some of the things that will be pretty damn popular when it comes to make-up, hair, and even nails next year. All are relatively affordable (except for maybe one), all are easy to implement into the beauty routine that you currently have, and as a Black woman, all are ones that you can step out in and totally dominate with.
Are you ready to check out 12 beauty trends for 2024 that you can show the world as soon as today?
Beauty Forecast: 12 Beauty Trends Set to Dominate 2024
1. Side Parts
Although I’m a “middle/center part” gal myself, and a trend isn’t really gonna change that (LOL), if you are a huge fan of side parts, those are gonna be all the rage next year whether you choose to wear your hair up (which could create a side fringe) or down.
Something that’s cool about this particular look is, if you’re someone who happens to have fine hair and you want to create some volume, a side part can create that for you. Or, if you’re in the process of trying to grow out your hair and one side is longer than the other (which is completely normal, by the way), instead of constantly cutting the longer side (in order to make everything “even”), a side part can give the illusion that your hair is a bit asymmetrical…on purpose.
2. Colorful Eyeliners
Whether you want to make your eyes the focal point of a particular make-up look or you want to add something that can seamlessly take you from day to night — eyeliner has you covered. In 2024, rather than going with a traditional neutral color, seek out ones that are as bold and bright as possible. You can use a bold blue on your waterline to give your eyes more depth (if your eyes are a dark brown, it can make them stand out more, too) or a neon color to make a “winged eye” that could be fun when you’re going out with your girls. This trend is basically a reminder to have fun with your make-up next year. Life is short…why not?
Delmaine Donson/Getty Images
3. Mushroom Extract
Something that was building in popularity last year that will get even bigger next year is mushroom extract being added to skincare products. Apparently, the properties in mushrooms can do everything from deeply hydrate and soothe irritated skin to brighten up dark spots where hyperpigmentation may be an issue. Since mushrooms are rich in zinc (which is great at treating acne and eczema), selenium (which helps your body to produce antioxidants) and several forms of vitamin B (which reduces aging signs) — it would make sense that this vegetable would get its moment in the beauty world spotlight.
A word of caution, though: if, like me, you have a fungal sensitivity, do remember that mushroom is a fungus, so…to be on the safe side, this might be a trend that you’ll have to take a pass on.
4. Three-in-One Products
It wasn’t too long ago that CNN published an article on some of its editors’ favorite “multiuse” products. That’s because something else that you’ll be seeing more of is people opting for beauty-based items that they can use for more than just one thing: eyeshadow that can be used as a blush and maybe even a lip color base or foundation that also works as a concealer and finishing powder as well. If one of your plans is to ring in the new year with at least one less junk drawer, you can always get more space in by purchasing three-in-one beauty products. It’s an ultimate hack on a few different levels.
5. “Random” Rhinestones
The feature image for this article? The reason why I chose it is because it’s something else that is gonna be big in beauty over the next several months. Sure, rhinestones are pretty common on the nails (and sometimes even on eyelids); however, you’re gonna see them being randomly placed on hair, the face, the arms…chile, everywhere. So, if you’ve already decided that next year is the year that you really want to make a statement, add some rhinestones to some of your looks. Hell, invest in some Swarovski crystals while you’re at it; they definitely provide a solid “bling” effect!
6. Balletcore Nails
If you adore the look of super feminine nails, then this trend has your first, middle, and last name all over it.
If you’re wondering what the heck balletcore nails are, they’re nails that are designed in such a way where they look very similar to a ballet slipper — the shape of the shoe and color. The dope thing about this trend is, as far as the hue of pink and length of nails, you can totally customize it to your liking.
Anyway, I think we’re gonna see a whole lot of this in 2024 — so why not stroll into the holiday season with a set of ‘em?
7. Hair Ribbons
Speaking of ballet, when it comes to the signature hairstyle (the bun), it’s pretty common to see hair ribbons that are wrapped around them, right? Well, when it comes to hair accessories, ribbons are about to be EVERYWHERE, y’all. Ribbons interwoven through braids. Ribbons tied around ponytails. Ribbons used as headbands. So, if you’ve got a daughter and you like to dress her tresses up with ribbons, looks like she’ll be sharing them with you in 2024. Have fun!
8. Biodegradable Beauty Products
The mere fact that, in America, 350 metric tons of plastic is wasted on an annual basis — that should be reason enough for us to want to be more intentional about supporting the sustainable side of the beauty industry. A specific way to do that is to purchase beauty products that are biodegradable. From what I’ve (briefly) read and researched on the topic, because this is still a relatively new trend in the cosmetics world, some companies are abusing “biodegradable” in the way that a lot of food companies misuse the word “organic.”
Still, if you want to get more into doing what’s best for the environment as far as your own beauty products are concerned, looking for ones that are vegan (a cool list is here, here, and here) is a great place to start.
9. Embellished Chrome Nail Designs
Although I personally don’t wear it a lot (when it comes to make-up), I do like the look of chrome. It has a way of being modern and yet timeless at the same time. Plus, it’s very sleek and works well with the various skin tones of our ethnicity quite well. And even though chrome-polished nails have been around for several years now (as far as popularity goes), the next few seasons are going to showcase chrome nails that have designs on them or an upgraded French manicure where the tips are chrome (you can see an example of what I’m talking about here). I could see this look getting you a lot of compliments for Christmas. Just something to keep in mind as your holiday party invites get ready to roll in.
10. Genetic-Based Beauty Items
Are you wondering what the heck “genetic-based beauty items” are? I feel you. If the first thing that comes to your mind is genetic testing that, people get to find out more about their DNA, apply that to the cosmetics world, and there ya go.
Bottom line, as futuristic as it might sound, the beauty industry is now getting into genetic testing so that people can discover what works best when it comes to their own personal pigmentation, how their skin ages, and what their specific hair needs may be.
11. The Look of Minimalism
Sometimes, I’ll just sit on YouTube and look at different hair and make-up tutorials — just for fun. And when it comes to mastering the “no make-up, make-up” look, Sincerely Zee (here), Dimma Umeh (here), Tea Renee (here), Naakie Nartey (here), and Fatima Bah (here) all did a pretty impressive job (with the look and showing you how to create it for yourself.) Yeah, one of my favorite things about the whole minimalism trend is it’s such a standout reminder that less really can be more, in the most visually beautiful ways.
12. The Color Red
I’m a fan of color psychology. So much, in fact, that I wrote an article on it for the platform back in the day: “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life.” Well, when it comes to the color red, whether it’s on your nails, lips (Black women look STUNNING with red lipstick on), even eyes — it’s the shade that’s gonna be hard to beat next year. I ain’t got one problem with it either since red represents things like love, passion, sexiness, desire, and strength.
In fact, I can’t think of a better way to walk — or strut — into the new year than with that kind of energy, can you? So, whatever you do, remind yourself to pick up a few red cosmetics. You’ll be the belle of the ball for the holidays, for 2024, and when it comes to life, in general, if/when you do. Now get to beauty shopping, sis!
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