text: amber bird
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Not Ashamed: Celibate

If you haven't already, please read the introduction post. That will give you context for this page.

As my awareness of issues around consent and rape culture grows, my thoughts about being shamed for celibacy have gotten less patient. A lot of what's in here is also relevant to all the people who seem to feel, often just because they think I'm pretty, that I should hook up with them.

Whilst most people have written off my celibacy (or rejection of their come-ons) as an artefact of my religion, it's much more complicated than that. However, I no longer feel like explaining myself to anyone. For reasons related to my first paragraph.

Previously, my response to people's unhappiness and shaming around my celibacy (or rejection of their advances) has been rooted in disappointment (at their actions and words towards me) and patience. Patiently keeping my mouth shut as they tried to make me feel bad. Patiently deflecting their advances, over and over and over, as they refused to accept my "no." Laughing along with threats, usually in jest, to just dose me and take advantage of me anyway. And so forth.

But let me make this clear, now that I have become better educated about consent and rape culture:

  • My celibacy (or rejection of your advances) might pique your curiosity, but it is almost certainly none of your business. Not the reasons or anything else about it.
  • You might be very sad when denied access to my vagina or other things you'd like, but your sadness doesn't give you the right to ignore my "no."
  • When you push me, press me, beg, cajole, threaten...you are ignoring, trampling all over, my lack of consent.
  • I won't be called a tease for refusing to have sex with you. In fact, as early as possible in a potential relationship or makeout-buddy situation, I try to make sure you know what's not going to happen. That you ignore that...that's on you.
  • Actually, you do know that someone even has the right to realise they've changed their mind about it in the middle of things without being a tease, right? A person is only a tease if they're promising you something they know they don't intend to give you. There has never been a time when I was a tease.
  • If I'm sexy, that does not obligate me to have sex with you or in general.
  • I've had people get angry that I enjoyed singing a song about someone who wished their partner would shag them but I wasn't shagging anyone at all (much less the angry people); they called me a hypocrite. I'm pretty sure that's not how singing works...Imagine a world where you could only sing songs about things that are totally true to who you are. (I thought of a lot of song-related jokes to make, but then got paralysed by the fact that someone might read this years from now and the song might no longer be in the public consciousness and might make my joke less funny. I'm sure you'll stumble across one of your own...)
  • In a world full of all sorts of sexual appetites and interests and practises, I won't feel bad about what I do or don't do, because I'm not teasing or lying or hurting anyone or messing with kids/animals/taken people. No shame.

Also, since even I didn't know better in the past, let me make sure you understand that doing something like dosing a person to get sex is rape. It's not something we should laugh about. I won't laugh or be patient with that sort of thing again. (When we laugh about that, there might be those in our social group who don't know it's a Bad Thing To Do and might feel more empowered to go do those Bad Things. Go read up on that, kids. Welcome to the reality of rape culture.)

I also won't be pushed or cajoled or anything like that. That is not how someone will end up getting to have sex with me. That is, with little or no warning, how someone will end up getting a "goodbye" from me.

I'm also pretty much done with people who push for any kind of intimacy after my "no." I like myself. You can't neg me into giving you my number or a kiss or something more. And, whilst I like a confident person, I also like a respectful person. If I like you and want to know you or be involved with you, you won't need to push or play games. Did you know that consent even covers the stuff that comes before you try to access my vagina?

So, yeah, not having sex is a thing that happens. And being a jerk to me about it won't have any results you like. It definitely won't make you the person I do have sex with.