Celibate Dating 101

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by Monique Matthews

Celibate dating is a lot like regular dating except for the obvious: no sex is involved. But, no sex need not equate to no fun. Quite the contrary, dating without sex, or sex-free dating, allows two individuals to really get to know each other without being sidetracked by the “terrible twins” that are way too often birthed from non-committal intercourse: the crazy chick, for ladies, and *sshole, for men.

Now, of course, not all gentle men and women fall into this category. Sometimes, the roles are reversed, where women become distant and aloof, and guys feel slighted, used and determined to let the offending party know that it’s not okay to toss their feelings to the side. So, my point is NOT to assign a gender specific culprit. It is to affirm that engaging in casual copulation, despite pledges to “not catch feelings,” far too often leaves one or both parties vulnerable and open to less than desirable experiences.

The truth is a rising number singletons, yes, surprisingly, men, as well as women, are open to the idea of saving sex for a more meaningful union (ranging from a committed relationship to marriage). The challenge often comes from how to remain sex free when you’re either dating or in a promising relationship.

If this rings true for you, consider the following:
1. Know your strengths and limitations
2. Don’t put yourself in a situation you can’t handle

Fellas, this should be rule-specific enough for you. After all, most of you like things sweet and succinct. But, Ladies, if you’re anything like me, someone who often test limits just to see how far I can (potentially) push it without going too far, I humbly submit the following tips, gleaned during my current eight years and counting sex-free journey:

Tip #1: Decide (early on) Whether to Tell or Not Tell
Chances are that if you meet a real cutie on blackcelibacy.com, that person is already going to know you’re sex free, so disclosing is a no-brainer. It’s also probably a really good idea to spill if the idea of dating is about as attractive to you as eating glass shards with an arsenic chaser. Simply put, some people don’t like dating. They desire to be married and hate anything else in between. If this is you, put your cards on the table

If, however, you like meeting new people and trying new experiences, consider telling someone you’re celibate about the same time you disclose your credit score and/or financial portfolio – when the two of you are ready to make a commitment and move your relationship to the next level.

Prior to that time, there is very little to gain from revealing your abstinence pledge to someone you’ve just met. Not only is he/she stunned; he/she may be seriously impeded from the important work of getting to know how fantastic you are because of the pink elephant you’ve paraded into the room.

Tip #2: Make Breakfasts, Lunches and Coffee Dates Your New Best Friends
Suggest a breakfast date, for example, before you go to work, run errands on a Saturday, watch football on Sundays, and/or attend church, mosque or temple. The great thing about breakfasts, as well as lunches and coffee dates, are that in addition to keeping you out of the potential trouble that dinner and late night outings can bring, all three are generally affordable, perfect opportunities to have great conversations and gauge mutual interests and compatibility.

Tip #3: Respect the Code
If someone you are really digging tells you they’re not “ready” to become exclusive, respect the code. Be kind to them. Affirm your interest, and, then, let go. Do not call them to see if they’ve changed their mind. Nor should you harangue them into wanting what you want, make them feel guilty because your desires are not in sync, nor mother of all no no’s: chase them. Leave them alone.

If everyone else is clawing at them by 1) not respecting the code, and 2) not being honest in a kind, gentle way, you may point the way to this person’s true north. So, don’t be surprised if they stick their heads back in your direction a month or two later.

By that time, maybe you’ve both had time to process a few things and are at a place where you can better appreciate and learn more about one another, forming a solid basis for any good thing to come.

Monique N. Matthews is a Los Angeles-based writer and director, who has recently discussed the rising popularity of abstinence in Ebony.com and on National Public Radio. Monique can be reached at www.sexfreebook.com and on twitter @moniquematthews.

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