Yes, we are celibate
In the past few decades, celibacy has become a contentious issue. According to Dr Suzan Gitau, a counselling psychologist, celibacy is defined as abstaining from intercourse. Although many people may do it for a short period, others make it a way of life. We pooled five women who talk about the best and worst parts of celibacy.
Mary Onyancha, 35, was celibate from June 2015 until marriage in April 2020
After a bad breakup, I needed time to reflect on the choices I was making regarding the men I allowed into my life. I went for therapies and my therapist identified a pattern: most of my relationships began as hook-ups which ended up in tears. I am a very outgoing person and I like partying. Most of the relationships I have had started in clubs. I liked having sex, but after counselling, it became obvious that this was not a good way to find a potential mate. I have to acknowledge that I was not good at casual sex because I became too emotionally attached to men. In 2015 I decided to take a break from having sex to determine what I wanted in a relationship. I started the journey of self-discovery in which I identified my strengths and weaknesses. I discovered that I am good in marketing and so, I enrolled to pursue a diploma in sales and marketing which later landed me a job in a hotel.
In 2019, I met a man who was different from the men I was dating. He told me that he was looking for a wife and didn’t have time to play games. We dated for one year and had our wedding in April 2020. I don’t regret the path I took; celibacy was the best option.
Angela Kariuki, 30, currently celibate for two years, six months
Going celibate was a decision to detox emotionally and take my life seriously after I ended a very complex, four-year-long relationship. I was in a relationship with a man who controlled what I did, who I visited, and the people I interacted with. Often, he compared me with other women and this affected my self-esteem. Sometimes, he would be violent and despite hoping for change, he didn’t so I had to end it. The marriage took all my energy and it made me believe that I was not good enough.
In my case, celibacy has given me a chance to explore being on my own. I enjoy working out and I often hang out with my friends. I recently adopted a dog and we enjoy spending time together. To be honest, I just might prefer his company to taking on the issues of dealing with a man who is not ready to settle down. Practicing celibacy has taught me a great deal of patience. The most difficult aspect about remaining celibate is that it requires one to be strong willed to make it because there are times hormones kick in. I will take my time , at least six years, before settling down if I get a responsible man.
Fatuma Gedi, 20, currently celibate until marriage
Celibacy has been a conscious choice due to my religious beliefs. I believe sex should be enjoyed in marriage. The best part is not worrying about STDs or pregnancy and hence, giving me quality time to know what I want before marriage. I must admit that celibacy is a struggle, but not boring. I always have fun all the time with my family, friends, and most importantly, with myself. I love writing and often, I journal my sexual feelings and remind myself that I have to wait until marriage. I always address the feelings to the man that will eventually marry me and I intend to give him the journal on our wedding day.
Tasha Mwende, 28, currently celibate for two years, nine months
I decided to be celibate for two reasons: one, I realised that my life was being controlled by sexual thoughts and I had made wrong choices of having multiple partners. I ended up hurting so many men and I didn’t like that. I had a void in me and this emptiness caused me to lack self-control. Having been brought up without a father figure, I realised that I was looking for acceptance from men which directed me to have sex with them.
Counselling helped me as I was able to deal with the issue and celibacy has brought so much transformation in life. I had to stop all relationships and focus on me. Now, I have time to focus on my career as a customer care representative and I can relax and not worry over STDs, pregnancy, or hurting someone. Of course, there is a physical loneliness and sometimes I just want to hold someone or cuddle. But, I have learnt to redirect this energy into advancing my life by reading more and socializing with big thinkers. I will wait until I get a committed man who we are compatible with.
Catherine Nanjala, 50, currently celibate for 15 years, three months.
Going celibate was a decision I made after I lost my husband who was so dear to me. Till now, I still wonder ‘why would death pick the best from me’. I still love my husband as much as I ever did. I am always confident that he is watching over me and our two beautiful daughters. I always imagine how bad it would betray my husband, watching me have sex with another man.. I believe that no man would ever take his space, he was one in a million. At first, it was very difficult to adjust to celibacy since I was used to having sex every day. It took a lot of prayers to help me see that loving my husband was a lifetime decision I had made.
In my case, celibacy gives me a chance to demonstrate my love for my husband. Being celibate has helped me to love God more because I know that he is ever watching over me and is proud of me. Celibacy has created a safe environment for my children such that they don’t get to see me with other men.