Sex Talk: Are You Ready To End Your Celibacy Practice?


Although it’s spring, we are already thinking and preparing for the summer months, which can mean having a bit more fun and exploring our sexuality. But what if you’ve previously committed to celibacy? How do you know when it’s time to pause to get back out in the streets? Your best bet is to reflect to see if you’re truly ready to indulge in another “Hot Girl Summer” or transition out of your celibacy practice. According to sex expert Nikquan Lewis, there are several important factors to consider. “Embracing your sexual journey after a period of celibacy is like relearning the language of your desires and boundaries, possibly with yourself and definitely with others. It’s a deeply personal process that involves tuning back into your body’s signals and, just as importantly, communicating those rediscovered feelings and needs to your partner. Because this journey of celibacy is deeply personal, you get to choose whether you engage in solo sex (masturbation) or not,” she says to ESSENCE.

Lewis continues, “There’s no right or wrong choice; it is completely up to you. If you choose to engage in solo sex during your celibacy practice, then you may have insight into what your body craves and may have the language necessary to communicate this to someone else.” 

She believes that reintroducing sex after celibacy is about fostering a richer, more understanding connection with your body and your partner. It’s about creating a safe space where your needs are heard and respected, paving the way for a pleasurable and satisfying sexual awakening.

If you don’t choose to engage in solo sex, we encourage you to take some time exploring your body and relearning it. Here are some expert tips to consider: 

Take a Deep Dive into Who You Are In This Season: Things could have changed depending on how long you have practiced. Identify your values, principles, morals, boundaries, needs, wants, and desires. This is essential so that you continue to love yourself intentionally and find partners who align with you.

Sexually, start with Self-Exploration: Before diving back into a sexual relationship with a partner, take time to reconnect with yourself sexually. This could mean understanding what has changed about your body’s likes and dislikes since you last engaged sexually. Masturbation is not just an act of self-love but a crucial step in rekindling your comfort with sexual activity. Know what ways you like to experience pleasure.

Prioritize Your Sexual Health: If pregnancy is a possibility for you, consider what form of contraception you’ll use as well as what STD prevention is best for you by talking to your healthcare provider about options and getting tested if you haven’t done so in a while. Sexual health needs to be a priority and a conversation so I encourage all to ask their partners about their sexual health, including when was the last time they were tested and if they are having sex with others, whether protected sex or not. Also, discuss what type of relationship you want-monogamous or an alternative relationship style so that everyone makes a well-informed decision. Consider the impact of your sexual health journey and work with your doctor to manage this. This could include being perimenopausal, having a hysterectomy, or chronic illness. If there are mental and emotional barriers such as past trauma, past sexual experiences with pain, anxiety, etc, work with a sex therapist to assist in these areas. 

Partner Choice: Choose a patient and understanding partner to help ease anxieties and create a positive sexual reawakening. Make sure you’re in alignment with whatever your sexual goals are, and if you choose a monogamous relationship, be sure to build a healthy foundation with that person by discussing all of the points you learned about yourself during that deep dive. 

Communicate Openly: Transitioning from celibacy isn’t just about the physical aspects; it’s about communication. Discuss your feelings, apprehensions, and expectations with your partner. Let them know it has been a while; be mindful and caring. Ask for what you need. These conversations can deepen your emotional connection and enhance your sexual experience when you’re both on the same page. Talk about what you like and what you don’t like, and always use lubrication as it enhances pleasure and is not only for dryness.

Go at Your Own Pace: There’s no need to rush this process. Allow yourself to ease back into sexual activities, and be sure to focus on various types of intimacy and foreplay to start to awaken this part of you. If anxiety pops up, acknowledge it—it’s perfectly natural. This might mean starting with activities that bring less pressure, like sensual massages or other forms of non-penetrative sexual intimacy. I encourage all to manage expectations, understanding that reinitiating sexual activity may initially feel awkward and may require time to become pleasurable, and that’s ok. 

Consult Professionals if Needed: If you find the transition particularly challenging or if there are deeper issues affecting your sexual health, don’t hesitate to seek support from a sex therapist. Sometimes, having a professional guide you through these changes can make a significant difference.

Prioritize Consent and Comfort: Always ensure that consent and mutual comfort are at the forefront of any sexual activity. This reaffirms trust and respect in the relationship, imperative factors for a fulfilling sexual reawakening.

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