Failures & Learnings From My Celibacy Attempt

After Celibacy - Integrating

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This article contains 3 updates I’ve written since stopping my attempt at celibacy. I think it’s interesting to see my unique approaches over time.

1 Week After

I Failed At Celibacy

I messed up multiple times, in multiple ways.

Every rule I created I broke at least once.

As always, if you’re looking for the formula to stick to celibacy long-term this is not the article for you. If you’re interested in exploring my psychological phenomenon around dating, women and sex with the hope that it will help you understand yourself better and others, then I invite you to read on.

Or potentially you’re curious about celibacy and would like to hear a no bullshit recount of it, this could be your article. Perhaps for some reason you take an interest in my life, in that case I’d say read on friend and I appreciate your support.

If you haven’t read my first few article I recommend you check them out.

Why Did I Give Up?

I don’t feel the conviction anymore to follow it. Back in August, September & October I had a real conviction to refrain from sex. I don’t have that conviction anymore.

Why don’t I feel a conviction to be celibate anymore?

I don’t really know… That could be my passions getting the best of me. It could be that I don’t think celibacy has anything to offer me anymore, it could be that being in Medellin there is far too much romance in the air to fight it anymore.

Whatever the reason is, I have lost my interest in celibacy.

That Being Said There Are Parts I Want To Hold Onto

Semen Retention

I really don’t like this word, but it’s the best one I can come up with. I used porn and menage a un as a way to feel better when I was anxious or feeling depressed. I don’t want to utilize it that way anymore.

I was a real glutton with this stuff, and for me that made the experience of sex considerably less exciting and special.

Currently, I set aside one day of the week (generally the same day I have a cheat day on my diet) and if I’m alone and feel the desire I go for it. If I don’t, then I don’t. Throughout the week I’ve been very good at not falling back on it to feel better, or to fill time or because I’m bored and I’ve been super happy about that

I really like trying to deal with my emotions rather than run from them.


I don’t want to watch this stuff anymore. It desensitizes me to sex, and only plays into my insatiable appetite to sleep with as many women as I can.

Dating Apps

These things are like crack for me. I really don’t think I’ll ever be on another one again.

Sleeping With More Than 1 Women At A Time

Probably a bad idea, and generally a sign that I’m losing control of my impulses, or about to.

Mindfulness Around Interactions & Behaviors

I still consistently have thoughts around women that relegate them to an object. I meet new women and my immediate impulse is #1 – Would I sleep with her and #2 – If yes, what tactics do I have to use to get her to do so.

I was speaking with a Chinese friend yesterday, for anyone who doesn’t have an eastern asian friend I highly recommend you make one. When they feel close to you, you can ensure they’ll tell you exactly how they see things directly and without any fluff.

After walking away from the talk with her, I left with one big takeaway. We are all in this together, we all deserve love, acceptance and closeness & when I look at women as tools to validate myself I’m distancing myself from that reality.

I’m viewing them more as a pawn then a person. I really don’t like that idea.

This is a realization I’ve had multiple times over my life, and the fact that I have to continue to remind myself of this is frustrating. I wish it would just stick.

The only thing I can come back to is awareness

I don’t know what to do about my impulses other than remain aware of them, to watch them and to be mindful of when I’m giving into them.

The goal then being that I can make decisions consciously, and if I’m going to be a philanderer I can consciously choose to do so, instead of unconsciously being dragged about by my unconscious.

Continuing regimens that help me build awareness is going to be huge

In this sense my sexual health really isn’t any different from my mental, spiritual, physical or financial & career health.

It all comes down to taking the time to follow & optimize regimens that make me feel good, and give my mind some space to make decisions instead of being pulled one direction to the next.

The Hater

I can hear this voice wanting to console itself that I didn’t succeed with Celibacy.

A voice that wants to undermine the people that have been successful with celibacy.

A voice that says

“Well those guys are probably just lying. They didn’t actually remain celibate, they lied but at least I’m honest about it.”

“Of course that guy was celibate long term, I’m way (better looking, charismatic, etc. ) than him. If I was like him I’d be celibate long term too.

There’s something wrong with people who are celibate long-term. Their personalities are messed up, that’s why they can do it.

These all stem from the same place, insecurity.

The men and women who have been celibate long term are all super impressive, and I have no interest in undermining that.

They had their path, and I have mine. Perhaps what they’re doing would be beneficial for me in the long run. Or perhaps it would be a crash diet I wouldn’t ever be able to successfully exit out of.

I don’t really know, and I don’t really care. I would like to hold their accomplishments as impressive feats, maybe someday I’ll try again to follow their footsteps, or maybe not. Who knows

Some thoughts on returning to dating & sex

I’ve recently started seeing a girl here in Medellin, and with my increased awareness I’ve noticed quite a few interesting things pop up.

Jealousy & Hyper-Competitiveness

I’m going to group jealousy and competitiveness together because I think both of these elements arise from a lack of confidence.

My mind is still considerably more competitive than I had previously realized

After (what I would consider) a near death experience during my bike ride from Athens to Istanbul I was faced with how destructive my hyper-competitiveness can be.

I started becoming aware of the operating system that had been running in my brain for so long, comparing myself to nearly every man I met and desperately seeking for a way to make myself feel superior to him or her.

That hyper-competitiveness is a huge part of my dating life.

By the second date we had I was already comparing her to other women as we walked around.

My mind would evaluate every other attractive women I walked by to determine if this stranger was more appealing than the girl I was with.

Particularly, if the girl was with a guy. My mind couldn’t handle the thought of me being in a place and there’s a guy with a more attractive girl than the girl I was with.

A part of me will always search for a “better looking” partner. Someone who will make me look more appealing and “place my social status higher” in the eyes of others.

In reality, most people probably don’t notice or care who I’m with. Even if they do, I’m no longer in a small tribe or clan where social status is integral to my quality of life or even survival.

I’d like to get to the point where I’m not so caught up in using women as a way to prove my value to others.

I Have a Lot Of Jealous Impulses

Nearly every time she’s on the phone I think she’s talking to another guy. Small things that are likely happenstance I interpret as her flirting with some other guy.

There’s a part of me that needs to contact her everyday. To make sure that she still cares about me, that she hasn’t changed her mind and that she’s not going to leave me and fulfill the fear that I’m someone who is leavable (term coined here 😂).

Since noticing my habit around getting really serious with women in order to mitigate them leaving me I’m actually being quite hands off in this relationship. While I don’t want to sleep with other women, I don’t really mind if she’s with other men.

I don’t see this relationship outlasting my time in Colombia, and therefore I’m working to keep from being too attached, and rushing into deep feelings because I’m afraid of her leaving.

For this reason on the surface I really have no reason to be bothered if she’s talking to or even seeing other men.

It’s interesting how this aspect of myself still wants to use her as a way to validate myself that I’m worthy of love, that I’m someone no one would ever want to leave.

For such a long time I was so caught up in these thoughts of jealousy that it felt impossible to really take a step back and analyze them. I attribute this level of awareness to my celibacy (in addition to my therapist of course).

Noticing When Men Are Getting Attention From Attractive Women

This still drives me nuts 😂

If I’m in a place or group and there is another man getting more attention from attractive women than I am there’s a part of me that gets really uncomfortable with this, and I hate it.

To convey this a small anecdote about the cafe I work from.

I’m in this beautiful cafe surrounded by plants and plenty of sunlight. I come here nearly every morning and I have made friends with most of the people who work here. Most of the people who work here are women.

There’s another guy who works here as well and the women get along with him really well. They all talk and flirt with each other, and there’s a part of me that goes nuts from this sort of thing.

That hater part of my mind is like

Look at this f***in’ guy, I’m way better looking than he is.

Well he’s the manager that’s why they’re hitting on him it’s so they keep their job and get in good with him. That’s the only reason.

These thoughts continue on and if I’m not careful they could easily consume me with ways to make my fragile ego feel like it’s better than him.

I’ve noticed this is considerably worse when I don’t have a women I’m dating at all.

Which makes sense, and I’m happy with how aware I am of that impulse, it’s nice to keep from getting too caught up in this little game in my mind.

Seeing a girl who shot me down sleeping with someone else can definitely make my blood boil.

Part of me really gets pissed about that still, like why did you sleep with that guy but not me? What’s your problem lady?

These thoughts hold a lot of emotional juice and are considerably stronger than the other thoughts & compulsions I’m having.

Having sex with someone you connect with can be pretty all-encompassing

After going a while without sex (minus the big screw up back in September) I have become far more aware of sexual thoughts when they come to mind.

I do have a pretty solid sexual connection with the women I’m seeing now, and I’ve noticed that I’m flooded with far more sexual thoughts than I was before.

There is a part of me that does miss the equanimity I had before, when my mind felt much more peaceful and removed from sexual thoughts.

These thoughts feel super strong, and almost disruptive to having a peace of mind.

Recognizing My Anxious Attachment Style

My attachment style in relationships has some room for improvement. For a long time now I’ve only had long-term girlfriends and relationships with women that were nearly dependent on me.

The reason for this was because if they’re dependent on me than I feel much more secure that they’re not going to leave me. After enough time though, I start to feel suffocated by them, and I want to leave.

Coming to terms with the fact that I have a lot of narcissistic traits in relationships is a hard pill to swallow. The idea that I craved control and power in relationships. I can feel myself getting defensive now just writing that sentence.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Carl Jung lately, and really focusing on his thoughts around the shadow. The shadow being the aspects of your personality that you can’t accept and sit in the shadow dictating your behavior in an unconscious manner.

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.

Carl Jung

So as much as I hate to admit this impulse for me to control relationships I recognize that ignoring it will only make things worse…

Going a day or two and not talking to someone I’m seeing is something that brings me a lot of anxiety still. This aspect of my mind is opposed to freedom, the more freedom someone has the less control I feel I have to keep them in my life.

I don’t really care to hold onto this aspect of myself. Regardless of how future relationships manifest for me, this controlling aspect is not going to help me.

Soon After Sleeping With a Women They’re Less Attractive To Me

This happens with nearly every woman I sleep with. For a long time when I was in pursuit of a woman, they seemed nearly flawless.

I would ignore the aspects of their personality I didn’t like. I wouldn’t notice any physical flaws they had. Then after we slept together I would start noticing things that annoy me about them. I would notice flaws in their skin, the glow that seemed to radiate from their face would begin to subside leaving behind something that didn’t even seem to resemble the women I met. I start asking myself is this women really attractive? Do I really even like her? What did I like about her?

At times this is really hard for me to answer, and I see myself going through this exact process now.

I see the impulse in my mind (and in the minds of a few of my friends) to go after women that I may not even be that attracted to, but that society has deemed attractive. That way when I start to second guess the attractiveness of the women I’m dating I can always fall back on the comments and glances of the men and women around me.

There’s no shortage of women with a lot of plastic surgery work here in Medellin, and I sense that I would feel a relief dating one of these women because she matches what I think everyone else wants. In this way, I’ll be validated that I’m valuable because after all, look at the woman I’m dating.

My suspicion for the women I’ve been with is that they experience the opposite, they seem more and more accepting of me as time goes on, whereas I become more and more disenchanted with them, this is a bit of a dangerous cycle.

When My Desires For Low-Connection Sex Are The Highest, That’s Usually A Sign I’m Not Connected Enough With Myself

I’ve noticed that when my sexual urges to sleep with new women is the strongest it’s when I’ve skipped meditating, journalling that morning and checking in with my emotions throughout the day.

If I’m not conscious about utilizing methods to manage my emotions my impulses easily fall back to using sex as a means to feel better.

Shape Shifting With Women

I notice that when talking to women I’m attracted to there is an impulse to shape shift a bit. To give them the answers I can tell they want to hear. To play up the parts / thoughts I have that will resonate with them and hide the parts that I don’t think they’ll like as much.

I built my entire last relationship on this, on focusing on the elements of myself that my then girlfriend liked, and hiding entire parts of myself that I knew she wouldn’t like. I always thought very low of people who fall in this trap, and bam I fell into it…

For a long time, my goal was to get validation from women in the form of sex & a sense of acceptance from them. It didn’t much matter if they knew who I really was, or if I even knew who they really were. Regardless of how deep or shallow my future interactions are with women I don’t want to hide aspects of myself for a temporary sense of acceptance.

1 Month After

Frustration As A Positive Sign

In the last few weeks I haven’t really been seeing anyone and don’t have any romantic interests in my life. I have no interest in going to dating apps, or going particularly out of my way to find someone new, and I’ve noticed quite a bit of frustration that pops up from it.

I feel a general frustration when I’m open to women’s attention and don’t get it (or at least don’t get it from the women I want, in the way I want it 😂). I become much more aware of conversations with men that turn to sex & picking up women. My immediate reaction to these conversations is feeling much more vulnerable to not picking up other women like my other friends are, or like I’m supposed to being a single man, particularly a single American man in Medellin, Colombia.

I feel frustrated that I don’t have a women around me. This morning I was meditating (or at least trying) and a thought popped up.

That frustration is the key man, that’s the part of you that craves validation.

And it all made sense. There’s a great quote by Frederich Nietzche paraphrased that “He with a why can bear almost any how”. If I have a “why” for the frustration, then it’s not so bad. There’s a reason for it and it makes it far more manageable.

And the reason why I’m feeling this frustration is because that’s the part of my mind that needs the validation of being with someone I find attractive. It’s the part of my mind that needs to have the attention of attractive women, and the acknowledgement of that by other men around me in order to feel secure and to feel worthy.

I was so excited when I realized that.

When I realized that there’s a reason to why I’m feeling this frustration and not just jumping on an app to find a girl, or talking to the first women who gives me sustained eye contact on the street, the reason I’m putting up with the frustration is because it’s a layer I can start to push through in order to rely less on womens attention to feel validated & accepted.

I’m super pumped about that, and I genuinely believe that my celibacy went exactly how it should’ve went. I learned the lessons I had to, made the mistakes I had to, picked myself back up and didn’t throw it all away after my missteps and I’ve learned so much about myself and how I interact with women.

I clearly see how you could view my time as a failure, but I don’t see it that way at all.

The Dream

I woke up this morning and had a dream that really stuck with me. The kind of dream that touches on something deep, and you can’t shake it.

I was walking down the sidewalk with a friend of mine, that I’ll call Sara. A friend that I actually tried to hook up with a few months ago, who shot me down (while I was trying to be celibate, it was a real low point for sure, read more about it here).

So we were walking down the sidewalk and all of the sudden this really unkempt man runs up and starts to hit on my Sara.

Sara and I starting running away from him because his look was so disgusting. We ran and ran trying to get away from him but he followed us.

We opened up doors and ran through buildings, we would turn down alleyways then cut through a backdoor but he was still behind us.

Finally I turn around and try to fight him, but he pulls out a gun, and starts shooting. We were 2 meters from him but not a single shot made it anywhere near us.

I ended up tackling him and I remember seeing, and smelling these open sores all over his body. As I fought him he had no strength but he looked into my eyes, touched one of the sores with his finger and smeared the liquid on my face and said “now you’re dirty just like me.”

This was so physically revolting that I woke up immediately on the verge of vomiting. It stuck with me for a few hours this morning.

I couldn’t figure out what the dream was about until I sat for a while and thought on it. The dream was about this element of myself that fiends for the attention of women.

This vulnerable, weak element of myself that fiends for the acceptance of women. But the message of the dream was that I can’t just beat the shit out of this part of me. I can’t try to beat it out of me because that ultimately only hurts me.

I need to be able to understand what this part of me wants, what it needs, what it’s asking for, instead of trying to beat it out of me. That will never work, it will only leave me marked with the same sores it has.

Ultimately I’ll Need To Use Celibacy Whether Or Not I’m Having Sex

Unless I want to revert to trying to sleep with every women I find attractive I’m going to need to use what I’ve learned.

The drive to sleep with every women I find attractive is still there. I don’t want to shut myself away from a social life in order to keep from encountering this. I’ll just need to use what I’ve learned to continue forward.

8 Months Later

I just ended a 4 month relationship yesterday.

I haven’t been thinking much about celibacy lately but I’m happy to get my head back in the space and see what I’ve held onto.

Shortening The Length Of Losing Myself

As I spend more time being mindful of my sexual choices, I am getting better at noticing when I’m falling off the train.

I first noticed this phenomenon in nutrition/dieting.

As I spend more years being mindful about what I eat my breaks of binging food or eating loads of high-calorie food become shorter and shorter.I get better at noticing when I’m falling off the wagon and I get back on much quicker.

I believe it’s the same with my philandering.

Days before I decided to get serious with my last girlfriend I “woke up” to find myself with someone I had just met at a grocery store, making out with her in a park 3 blocks away from the grocery store.

This wasn’t even someone I found very attractive. I recall becoming a bit disgusted with her as she told me that she can’t go back to my house today, but we can go on a date Friday. 

A date? What the hell am I doing here?

Of course, I didn’t say that to her, but I was thinking in my mind – man what the fuck’s going on?

The next day I met up with women I had been seeing for a bit in Medellin. Initially, I was blown away by her looks, but as I got to know her ideas on things she become less and less attractive.

I got her to come over for lunch, and right after we slept together I felt disgusted with myself. I didn’t want to be around her. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why the hell I even called her again. 

She picked up on this and left pretty immediately, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

I then recognized the spot I was in. Feigning sex and female attention to feel good, or sometimes just to feel something at all.

I made a decision to stay with one of the girls I was seeing. I liked her a lot, I loved the conversations we had and she appeared to enjoy the same lifestyle I did. Furthermore, I knew getting serious with her would help me get out of the cycle I found myself in.

Back in the day, I would’ve stayed in that cycle for a few weeks or even months before waking up to what was going on.

I believe that celibacy has helped me recognize those unhealthy impulses much quicker. I believe as I continue to be mindful about my sexual impulses I’ll be able to shorten and even prevent these stints in the future.

So Did I Achieve My Goals?

For this I’m going to go back to the goals from my first post on celibacy.

Goal #1 – To Find Other Ways to Fulfill The Needs I Historically Filled Through Romance

I’ve been pretty mindful of this, I’ve certainly not been perfect. However, before I started my celibacy I had no plan related to getting these needs met. I’ve actually listed out healthier ways I can get the following needs met in my journal (see how I travel and journal here).

Here are the needs that I use sex and women’s attention to satiate

  • Acceptance & Validation
  • Intimacy
  • Excitement & Novelty
  • Comfort.

Even yesterday when Ginia (my latest ex-girlfriend) went back to Colombia my mind went to these needs. How I need to be careful about how I’m getting these met, or I’m going to end up in trouble.

Goal #2 – To Build Stronger Future Romantic Relationships

My last relationship ended after four months, so I don’t think I’d call that a particularly “successful relationship”.

This one would be tough to make an argument for. 

However, I would say that while I was with Ginia I didn’t feel a desire to sleep with other women, usually when I’m in relationships my mind is thinking a lot about all the other women I could be sleeping with, but I wasn’t in that mind state while with her.

My mind absolutely noticed other attractive women, but I didn’t pine for other women like I have in the past.

Goal #3 – To Free Up More Time & Energy For Other Pursuits

You can easily end up filling your time with Netflix or other junk, or even worse. Religion! (Just kidding, I’m not a hardcore atheist).

Seriously though, this can free up a lot of time, but if you’re not careful you can fill that time with other behaviors that may not be super productive either.

That being said, binging Netflix is significantly better for me than frantically chasing after women all-day.

Goal #4 – To Find Sustainable Methods That Will Outlive My Stint of Celibacy

The biggest thing that’s come out of this for me is grace.

Recognizing that if I watch porn that doesn’t mean that I need to give up everything and chase after women again.

That while I’d prefer not to watch porn, watching porn is a lot better for me than download a dating app and starting to compulsively swipe again.

Goal #5 – To Decrease Hurting Others Feelings

I still hurt other’s feelings through negligence. I would say the # of people I hurt is less, so I’d consider that a a half win.

Final Thoughts

I’m happy that I did it.

Did it automatically transform my life? No.

However, it did help me build some space between my impulses and my reactions to those impulses, which has benefited me and others around me.

I still make mistakes, my romantic relationships are much shorter and more volatile than I’d like but I’m happy that I’m working to improve and seeing some positive signs along the way.

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