Saturday, May 26, 2007

Down with The Rules!

Remember that bestselling book, The Rules, that came out a few years ago? It occurred to me recently that you don't need arbitrary rules for dating if you have a full life. You'll never have to pretend to be busy to make yourself appear unavailable. Many times you will be unavailable because you've got so much to do. If you've used your term of celibacy to, among other things, develop self-confidence and self-worth, then you can agree to go out with him in the next few minutes if you feel like it. No more game playing! Let's keep it real! The problem is, too many men are so used to the games they may misinterpret your genuineness. Hey, that's their problem. Your job is to live life and live it to the fullest.

Just something to think about.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

'Chaste by choice'

Check out "Chaste by choice" by Pat Burson of Yours truly was interviewed for the piece.

It never ceases to amaze me how controversial NOT having sex is in our society. Readers' comments following the article are very enlightening.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From Sinatra to Imus, some things never change

Among the many emails and phone calls I've received about the Imus mess, the following note from my sister, Janice Miller, was definitely among the most provocative.

Years ago I attended a reception with a few other ladies from my church. The local band of middle-aged African American men were playing an old tune that I recall my parents used to listen to.

Although I didn't remember the words, I knew the melody, so I grabbed the hand of a friend who loves to dance as much as I do, and we cut a couple of steps. I noticed the lead vocalist watching us, probably because we were the only two people on the dance floor. As we connected eye to eye, it seemed like he was having fun singing to me:

She gets too hungry for dinner at eight
She likes the theater and never comes late
She never bothers with people she'd hate

... until he came to the refrain, That's why the lady is a tramp.

The singer and I shared an awkward moment. He dropped his eyes and I left the floor. We were having such lighthearted fun that the insult that repeated throughout this beloved classic as the hook unexpectedly stung us both.

Just like Imus' slur against the scholar-athletes of Rutgers University didn't make sense, this song doesn't make sense. In every stanza, Frankie seems to describe a decent woman. She doesn't gamble, she's punctual, she doesn't gossip, and despite the fact that she's broke, she's not a golddigger. Yet he still slaps us with that line, That's why the lady is a tramp.

When I first heard about Imus' slur against Rutgers' basketball team, I focused more on the word 'nappy' and was less than moved. Poor taste, yes. Ain't yo business 'bout our hair, yes. But ho?! YIKES!

With all due respect to people who sell their bodies for sex (prostitutes) and those who freely give away their bodies for sex (whores), women who behave in these ways have, throughout time, found themselves in extreme categories that carry plenty of negative connotations. These words should never be used casually, and never on women who haven't proclaimed themselves as such.

My heart felt it when Frank Sinatra and writers Rodgers and Hart forced the singer to call me a tramp. I still remember how degrading it felt, even though it was 10-15 years ago.

I value dignity highly, and name calling ruins that for everyone involved. Let's protect it in ourselves and each other.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This shoe isn't sex...

...but it should be! Check out my blog,, for more about this absolutely orgasmic sandal, perfect for sensual celibates!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sexual anorexia

When researching Sensual Celibacy, I came across the term 'sexual anorexia'. What a loaded term! I'm still trying to unpack this idea. Although there are tremendous benefits to be had from celibacy, I have to admit there can be some swamps, too.

Anorexia is most commonly understood as an eating disorder characterized by the refusal to eat to the point of starvation. Could this term apply to celibacy as well? Could depriving yourself of sex for too long create a famine-like condition in your body, your soul, your sexual being?

This may be mixing apples and oranges. You can die without food, but you won't die if you don't have sex (contrary to popular belief). Still, we can understand ourselves a little more by exploring this idea.

This is such a complicated issue that I can only try to do it some justice in this post. Admittedly, I've got a long way to grow here.

I believe you can experience a famine in your soul, a starvation-like condition during celibacy. That's why I so strongly advocate a sensual approach. The focus is not sex starvation but filling ourselves up with sensual pleasure (especially touch), love, and womanliness.

Paradoxically, the easiest way to know if you're suffering from sexual anorexia is if you're eating too much. You're using food as a substitute for sex. I gained a lot of weight because of it.

Because I, like so many, have been hurt in the past by a failed marriage, abandonment, etc., I first used my celibacy to become a hermit. I went to work and cared for my children, but my mind and heart were lightyears away. This form of sexual anorexia created a tightness, a dryness within me. All my sassiness just disappeared. I became a serious mother and provider of my household. I tried to be a virtuous role model for my children. My hemlines dropped below my knees.

But I wasn't happy, and I definitely felt starved. My womanliness was skeletal. Over time, however, sensual celibacy, my music and writing passions, and especially my Christian walk have filled me up so much that I don't feel like I'm dying inside anymore.

A lack of trust for the opposite sex and my own ability to choose wisely may have created some anorexia in my celibacy practice. A male friend and I talked about this at length, and I had to admit that because I haven't trusted myself to be a good judge of character when it comes to men, I have used celibacy to make my decisions for me. This has been subtle and largely unconscious. My friend suggested that I learn how to "discern the spirit of the man," meaning my spirituality, not celibacy, should be used to judge character.

He also suggested doing due diligence: check out the man's past, his family, his friends, etc. Don't just rely on his sweet words and winning ways.

He's right, but let me tell you: telling a man that you want to be celibate for now, for awhile, until marriage, whatever, will quickly reveal his true heart and intentions.

Obviously, I'm still working through this one. As I get more insights, I'll post. Would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Making up for lost time

Alien abductees say they lose time because of their wierd experiences. Ever since I made the decision to give up sex until marriage, I've experienced the opposite: I've gained time -- lots of it.

What do alien abductees and women practicing celibacy have in common? (I know this is a stretch, but hang with me for a minute.)

We both are deemed strange and unbelievable by society.

When you tell a friend that you haven't had sex for a year or more, she'll probably look at you with very large eyes and say, "Really? Unbelievable!" It's the same response an alien abductee receives to her own full disclosure.

Here's where we depart company, however. Alien abductees say they have no control over what happens to them. (Can you tell I watch way too much sci fi?) Thankfully, this isn't the case with those of us practicing celibacy, especially sensual celibacy. We make a decision to begin a term of celibacy, and we make a decision to end it. This helps prevent accidental sex ("I don't know how it happened." "It just happened!" "See, what had happened wuz...").

The issue of dealing with found time is a real one for women practicing celibacy. Interestingly, during the first days and weeks after a breakup, you'll find that you suddenly have a ton of time on your hands. How do we fill this newly found time? We might call our girlfriends day and night, rebound with guys we don't know or really want, or we might become total hermits (that would be me).

Once you get through that traumatic period, then the reality of your life, good or bad, becomes glaringly obvious to you. If you were smart during your relationship, you didn't give up your interests for the man. If you gave up your interests and put your life on hold because the sex was SO GOOD it clouded your cognitive powers, then you've got some soul searching to do.

I've learned that relationships with a high lust quotient can confuse our sense of time. When we are consumed by passion, we no longer have enough time in the day to get things done. Important tasks fall by the wayside. And then boom! he's gone and you suddenly have a load of time to fill.

My advice is to resist the urge to fill found time with other men. Use this precious time to focus on yourself. What did you give up while you were with him? Honestly, did you neglect your kids, close friends, and other responsibilities? You may need to mend some relationships.

Chicago high schools require students to complete a certain number of volunteering hours in order to graduate. I think this is a wonderful idea for newly single women. It will take some of the edge off of your desperation when you see how worse off others are.

I spent those first few months after the breakup that led to my celibacy practice in therapy, and it was the best thing I could have done. I learned tons about myself, including why I had made such poor choices in the past. I also started writing like my life depended on it, and I've never looked back.

Sometimes I think the reason why women rebound during this period is because they feel ashamed that they don't have a man. Society still does a job on women who are going solo.

There's no need to feel shame or humiliation. This is just a season in your life. Use it wisely because if you don't get it right this time, you'll keep going through the same heartaches over and over again. And you don't want that, now, do you?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

'Celibate Gets His Groove On'

Check out this interesting article about a man who'd been celibate for 3 years, only to give it up for a one-night stand. What do you think about that? (Don't get me started...)

Had it with the sex lives of celebrities?

Here's an interesting article in about celibacy, virginity, and celebrity titled "Celibate celebs: some aren't promiscuous." Check it out!

'Man's worst nightmare' -- Playboy

Several years ago, Playboy magazine reviewed my book, Sensual Celibacy, along with A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit and Cult of the Born Again Virgin by Wendy Keller. The writer declared that our books were a "man's worst nightmare." The review was written tongue-in-cheek, but it begs the question, is celibacy really men's worst nightmare?

For some men, yes it is; for others, no it isn't.

Let's say you're beginning to date, and you want to stick to your celibacy commitment. What can you expect in the meet market out there? Here's how I categorized men's various possible reactions to your declaration in Sensual Celibacy:

1. The See Ya Man. The moment you say no to sex is the moment he excuses himself from the table and bolts for the door. This man is frankly interested in sexual relationships, and that's his prerogative. Just be thankful that he had the decency to leave right away.

2. Casanova. Tell this man no to sex, and suddenly, you're the object of his most ardent attentions. You'll receive flowers, cards, and daily calls. If he's rich you might even get a blue box from Tiffany's. This guy's a real charmer, and if you don't keep your wits about you, you could fall hard. Casanovas are masters at identifying and playing women's sexual triggers....Trust your gut. If the guy seems too good to be true, he probably is.

3. The Scholar. Now here's a man worth considering. The Scholar has never seriously thought about celibacy in the past because he never had to. But now that you've brought it up, he's intrigued. And if he's interested in you, he could be convinced to share your celibacy experience....Don't be surprised, however, if he tries, from time to time, to get you to change your mind. Stand firm until you are ready to have sex with him.

4. The Renaissance Man. This man is a rare and precious jewel. The Renaissance Man is already a believer in, and maybe even a practitioner of, celibacy. There aren't many of him around, but this type of man does exist. I even talked to a couple of them for this chapter. They have strongly held convictions about honoring their bodies and the women they become involved with. One man I spoke to was a committed Ten Commandments Celibate. As you become stronger in your convictions about your celibacy practice, you'll be amazed at the quality of people who will cross your path. Don't be surprised if you begin to meet Renaissance Men. If you have the good fortune to become romantically involved with one, you start out with trust on certain issues, like fidelity. This guy is big on friendship and getting to know each other first, rather than trying to achieve instant intimacy through sex--and that's refreshing....The shadow side of the Renaissance Man is that he may be hard to get close to. He may be judgmental and intolerant of your sexual history. He may or may not be practicing a self-loving approach to celibacy, in which case you might want to run. If he is celibate because of religious reasons, then his practice may be colored by a lot of dogma. You'll have to decide whether you can handle that or not. If you really like this man, however, give him a chance.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The case for 'saving yourself' until marriage

Now that we're so enlightened and liberated, 'saving yourself until marriage' seems such a quaint phrase, even amusing. But I'd like to make the case for waiting until marriage to have sex. Or at the very least, I'll present to you my own rationales, and you see what you think.

This issue arises for me because last night, I got yet another call from a man who's been pursuing me sexually for a LONG time. I mean years. It's gotten to be a joke between us, but every once in a while he's serious. I tell him the same thing I've been saying since I met him: not until marriage. I've played no games with him, and I've been very consistent, which he admits.

Last night he jokingly proposed drawing up a contract that promised I wouldn't be hurt if we had sex. I told him there's already a contract out there and it's called a marriage certificate (not that you can't get hurt, but it was a good punchline).

During the beginning of my celibacy practice, I toyed with the idea of having sex before marriage. Just as long as the guy was good and faithful to me, that could be enough.

But that's not enough. I want everything. If I've got to wait this long, I want it all. That's rationale #1.

Rationale #2: The couple of times I jumped off the celibacy wagon, I had to climb right back on. Why? Because I'm not always the best judge of character. I can still be swayed by a handsome face, nice body, and slick words. But if a man actually marries me after going through celibacy with me, going to church with me, dealing with my kids, allowing me fully into his life, and submitting to the 3rd degree from my family, then I'll have a keeper. The man who can endure all that would be pretty special. I'll admit, this kind of a good man is hard to find (though some women tell me, not impossible). So celibacy provides a self-imposed boundary for me that helps me accept nothing less than what I want.

Rationale #3: Protection. I know the divorce rate is high because of infidelity, but I'd like to believe it's still possible to have love, devotion, passionate sex, and monogamy in a marriage. That's what I'm going for. For me, having sex outside of marriage is too risky to the heart. A dear friend has been crying her eyes out day and night because a 4-year relationship wasn't what she thought it was. Yes, betrayal can and does occur in marriage, but at least, if you've played your prenup right, you can take the scum to the cleaners. Without marriage, you have no recourse but to key his car.

Rationale #4: Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? Yes, it's 2007, but men still believe this mess. We women want things to be different, which is why there's so much 'hooking up' and 'kicking it' going on. But wishing don't make it so. In this day of AIDS and STDs and unplanned pregnancies, this is foolish behavior for women. There's no free milk here!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dating Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Here's an oldie but goodie from Sensual Celibacy (pp. 156-162):

Dating Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
1. Every woman has the right to pursue love, liberty, and happiness.
2. Every woman has the right to say no to sex if she’s not ready.
3. Every woman practicing celibacy must have the courage of her convictions.
4. Every woman must have a strong sense of her own boundaries.
5. Every woman must respect a man’s decision to move on if he doesn’t want to abstain from sex.
6. Every woman has the right to forgiveness if she falls off the wagon.
7. Every woman has the right to date as many men as she can manage.
8. Every woman has the duty to continue her self-improvement program whether or not she is in a relationship with a man.

These rights and responsibilities are good for anyone who's dating. Refer to them often. They can cut down on a whole lot of drama!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Men in luuuuv (ooo weee!)

I love this quote from David Zinczenko, columnist for

"When a man falls for a woman, he falls hard. Men love to be in love. While men often get stereotyped as single-minded sex-seekers, the truth is that a man's stomach churns like a slushy machine when he's in those initial stages of the perfect relationship.

"When you consider that half of men say that they're currently not with their soul mates, that means a heck of a lot of slushy machines are waiting to be turned on. What are they waiting for? What makes a man fall in love? After you rule out the obvious intangible laws of chemistry, attraction, and being in the right place at the right time that kick-start many a relationship, I think the question really becomes this: What makes a man fall -- and stay -- in love?

"About 60 percent of men deem friendship the most important thing in a relationship (sex comes in at a skimpy 8 percent, according to a national Harris Interactive poll)."

As we say in SC, "abstinence makes the heart grow stronger." Think about it!

Pamela Anderson, sensible single mom???

"Like any other single mom I've tried to create a healthy example for my kids always...I have faith that we're heading in the right direction. I'm really not interested in bringing any men into our lives."--Pamela Anderson (

One of my more controversial opinions is that when a single parent's sexual relationship comes into conflict with her children's needs, the relationship should be sacrificed until she can get it together. Some possible conflicts are:

1. Your man demands too much of your time.
2. You're always anxious because you don't know what he's doing when he's not with you, leaving you few emotional reserves to deal with your children's needs.
3. You're having unprotected sex, putting your health (and life) at risk. You're also risking an unwanted pregnancy.
4. Although you're attracted to the guy, you don't really know a lot about him -- yet you're bringing him around your children, putting them at risk.

Single parents deserve love just as much as anyone else, but your children need you more.

I'm not saying that you should never accept love into your life. If you're ready, go for it, just not at the expense of your children.

Understand that your children are watching you. They're watching how you conduct yourself with the man in your life. If you're in a loving, monogamous relationship that could lead to marriage or at least a strong commitment -- and your man is good with the kids -- then you have a keeper. My issue is with women who allow their sexual needs to come before their responsibilities to their kids. Enough said.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sexual triggers in the springtime

As the snow begins to thaw here in the Midwest, my thoughts turn like clockwork to men. Both of my children were conceived during the spring. There's something about that first warm breeze after months of snow and ice that makes me want to run wild. Celibacy be damned!

After a few springtimes of going solo I still have the crazy feelings, but now I can just smile wisely at them. My senses are still heightened when a man holds a door open for me or tells me I'm beautiful or smart, but now I just say thanks rather than having accidental sex with someone I don't know.

What turns you on? Do you have any idea?

Sticking to your sensual celibacy commitment ESPECIALLY when you don't want to is great because you learn so much about yourself. If you're anything like me and had a man around, you wouldn't be thinking about self-discovery because you'd be too busy, well, getting busy.

Right now, some man is strategizing on ways to get you into bed. This is how men get to know us better than we sometimes know ourselves. Man's sexual pursuit of us is not a negative. In fact, it can be very nice. After all, God told him to be fruitful and multiply. He's under a divine mandate to populate.

Men need us to help them direct that powerful urge. That means assessing your options carefully via alone time, dating, and communication -- and saying no when the time is not right.

The first time I assessed all the possible ways I could get turned on, I was surprised. They had been dictating my behavior at the subconscious level for a long time. I had sensed the triggers but I hadn't been fully aware of them.

Who knows how these triggers are developed? Probably nature and nuture. The point is, get to know what they are so that the next time a man tells you, "Ooo baby, you sure are fine," you can admit the truth of that statement, then keep on stepping.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Hooking up: a symptom of sadness

Hooking up for women isn't just a bad idea; it's a symptom of a deep inner sadness.

Several years ago, a friend of mine told me something that rocked my world. Before taking me into her confidence, her eyes darted around the room as if to make sure no one was listening. Her tone was hushed.

She said that during the last month, she had slept with a different guy every night.

That was around 15-20 years ago, but I have never forgotten the desperate look in her eyes. She talked to me because she knew I would try my best to not judge her. Who am I to judge anyone? Lord knows I've done my share of desperate behaviors.

So I didn't say much. Just gave her my full attention. She said she wanted to see if she could do it. Seducing all those men gave her a sense of power. And then she said what so many women say after a season (or a life-time) of hooking up:

"I regret it."

If you or a sista you know is engaged in this behavior, consider taking a vacation from sex for a short period of time--say, a month, even a week. I'm not a psychologist, but I do know that as you're withdrawing from an addiction (and hooking up may be just that) for even a short period of time, all kinds of troubling thoughts, memories, emotions, and physical feelings will arise. That's the purpose of the addiction: to help you escape from the things that are bothering you.

The problem with addictions is that they spiral you down into deeper layers of depression and dangerous behavior.

Taking a vacation from sex may be the most courageous thing you've ever done. You'll probably need support or counseling. During this time, don't go it alone. Get help--not from your peers who are also engaged in this behavior. They'll draw you back into the game. Talk to a counselor with expertise in this area.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Beyond cold showers

Abstaining from sex for awhile doesn't mean that horniness will disappear. In fact, desire can become stronger. So what's a lusty woman to do?

I would love to hear your tips for keeping your sanity during hormonal surges. One of my favorites from SC is the isometric thigh exercise (a.k.a. "keeping your legs closed"). Any time you feel like you want to jump off the celibacy wagon, do the following:
1. Sit in a comfortable chair, legs slightly apart, feet flat on the floor with determination. If you're in bed, you can also lie on your back.
2. Inhale deeply.
3. Tighten the big muscles in your thighs.
4. Now slowly, close your legs while keeping your thigh muscles tight.
5. Exhale luxuriously to 10 counts while holding your legs together.
6. Relax.
7. Repeat as many times as necessary.

This is a great exercise. Not only are you keeping your legs closed to prevent penile penetration (smile), you're toning your thighs in the process!

Monday, March 5, 2007

'Hooking up': a really bad idea

The NBC Today Show asked the question, "Can 'hooking up' lead to love?"

Hooking up is defined as having casual sex with no love, no emotional attachment. During the segment, young college women who were interviewed said things like:

"Men do it. Why can't I with no shame or stigma?"

"Hooking up puts me in control of the situation." (Yeah, and if you keep your legs closed, how much more in control of your life will you be?)

"Hooking up validates a woman's attractiveness and sexiness."

Clearly, this movement can come to no good. Any time you need someone else to validate your worth, you're a psychological disaster waiting to happen. You make really bad decisions when you don't know for yourself that you're beautiful and sexy--and that your self-worth is not completely based on your external attributes.

Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both, said the 1960s free love movement was part of a greater political movement. Not that it was right, but LOVE was still part of the romantic equation. Hooking up, on the other hand, is only about sex without the commitment.

How unfulfilling is that!

As I listened to the women speak, I suspected the motivations of all those who act like hooking up is so much fun. Women who regularly have uncommitted sex are often acting out of left-over pain from past relationships (among other things).

In fact, one woman said that women who hook up are afraid of relationships. They don't trust men. Or they may not have time for relationships because of their focus on education or career.

Bull! I didn't buy it when men said that crap, and I don't believe it now. Hooking up sounds like revenge sex to me. Men are notorious for being afraid to commit, and now women are saying, "Me too!" Men love to say they want to focus on their career, and now women are saying, "Me too!"

Speaking of men, I believe they need us to stay the course of love, relationship, marriage, and family. They don't need us acting like them. Half the time they don't even want to act like them. They need us to give them direction and balance in matters of the heart. Over the years I've heard so many men say that even though they can have sex with no love or emotional attachment, they much prefer sex with women they love. It's much more deeply satisfying. Also, studies report that men who marry are healthier in the long-run than men who simply hook up.

I'm going to stick my neck out and make a prediction: women who have the courage to say no to hooking up will stand a better chance of attracting quality men for love, romance, relationships, marriage, and family.

After all, isn't that what we really want?

Hooking up is self-destructive behavior. Young women who sleep around with men they barely know will end up regretting it. Ask women in their late 30s and 40s who hooked up during their 20s how they feel now. Many will tell you there's no substitute for sex within the context of love and companionship. They regret they waited so long to see the light.

LOVE is the real deal. Laura Sessions Stepp suggested that parents talk about sex within the context of LOVE to their children. I couldn't agree more.

If love hasn't come along yet, then wait to have sex. Waiting is not going to kill you. People think they will die or explode if they don't have sex. You won't die. In fact, abstaining from sex with people you don't know may end up saving your life. Think about it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thought for the day

This was my day to receive email jokes:

There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research.

This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

Keeping everything in perspective

My sister sent me this email, so I guess it's making the rounds. Too cute:

3-year-old Reese:
Our Father, Who does art in heaven,
Harold is His name.
A little boy was overheard praying:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."
After the christening of his baby brother in church,
Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car.
His father asked him three times what was wrong.
Finally, the boy replied,
"That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home,
and I wanted to stay with you guys."
One particular four-year-old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they
were on the way to church service,
"And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
One bright little girl replied,
"Because people are sleeping."
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
"If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,
'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.'
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,
"Ryan, you be Jesus!"
A father was at the beach with his children
when the four-year-old son ran up to him,
grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore
where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.
"He died and went to Heaven," the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
"Did God throw him back down?"
A wife invited some people to dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
"Would you like to say the blessing?"
"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
"Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1-2

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Brain freeze

"Celibacy is hereditary. If your parents didn't have sex, chances are you won't have sex." Anonymous

Booty calls

Don't get suckered by the booty calls!

There's something about the moon rising on another day that's so relaxing. This is the time when we put the kids to bed and relax. In this calm state of being, there's no reason for your guard to be up. So inhibitions are lowered and we're open to feel and think the secret and most honest things of the heart. In this state we are at our most vulnerable.

And then he calls, with that deep, sexy voice of his. It's late. You just took a relaxing bath, and now you're all warm and toasty under the covers. The conversation goes something like this:

"Hey, babe, how you doin? Haven't heard from you in awhile."

"I'm doing okay. What's up?" you say, trying to act nonchelant, trying not to smile.

"Just thinking about you. What you wearing?"


Don't ever say I didn't warn you. SC is not only about abstaining from sex at a time and duration of your choosing, it's also about being aware of the many ways you can be seduced out of your commitment.

In SC, I introduce the idea of the "sexual trigger." A sexual trigger is anything that makes you want to do the wild thang. A man's walk, his talk, his dress. Music, cologne, fine dining, dancing, flowers. It can be anything. Sexual triggers usually operate on the level of the subconscious, which is why so many people have accidental sex ("I don't know what happened, it just happened! See, what had happened was...").

Use this precious time alone to discover yourself. Identify your sexual triggers. Have fun with this exercise, but also become conscious and aware about the hundred and one things that have the power to turn you on.

Information is power. As you become aware of your sexual triggers, red flags should go up when you're being strategically seduced. You will probably continue to feel stimulated, and that's okay. You're not a stone. But now you can say "no thanks" and keep on stepping.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lingerie and celibacy

If you're committed to having it all, then the wait in between relationships can sometimes take awhile. It is so important to remember that you're a vivacious woman (I'm preaching to myself here) with or without a man. That part of you never stops.

With no man around to motivate you, though, it's easy to slip into sweat suits and forget to put on make-up.

You've got to feel girly and lovely for you. Sensual celibacy is about self-confidence, self-love, and self-acceptance.

Here's an exercise that's absolutely critical to practicing celibacy with sensuality. The next time you get a little extra money, go buy yourself some sexy lingerie. A silky teddy or sexy panty and bra set underneath your clothes will help remind you just what the stakes are. And the stakes are high. Never again give yourself away to someone who doesn't cherish you and love you. Never apologize for demanding the best that love and life have to offer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Media pedophilia & psychomedia perpetrator disorder

The American Psychological Association released a report yesterday that analyzed 300 studies over the past 18 months dealing with media's packaging of girls as sex objects. Over the next few days I'm going to review the findings and report back to you.

First, let me explain today's headline. Media pedophilia is the low down, lecherous use of girls as sexual commodities. Media is that sociopathic pimp that packages and markets highly inappropriate sexual images of girls to viewers, consumers, and the girls themselves. The sexy girl is so ubiquitous in media we now think she's normal. So do our girls.

Psychomedia perpetrator disorder is a term created by Alfred "Coach" Powell, author of Hip Hop Hypocrisy: When Lies Sound Like the Truth. It means "media copycatting" or imitating behaviors promoted in media. Media pedophilia and psychomedia perpetrator disorder go hand in hand. Hip Hop Hypocrisy exposes the devasting impact of 'gangsta' rap on youth development, academic performance, and behavior. I edited and co-wrote Coach Powell's disturbing manifesto, and I must admit, it kept me up at nights, thinking about the world that my daughter and nieces will have to negotiate.

When my own book, Sensual Celibacy, first came out in 1999, the reception was lukewarm. Reviews were positive, but my target audience, single women, had mixed feelings about the issue. In fact, unless they were of faith, they really didn't want to discuss it. Naively, I was shocked.

Whenever and wherever I spoke, women unleashed their anxiety, anger, depression, and irritation on me because I had the nerve to suggest that if you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting the same result (definition of insanity). A message board suggested that something was wrong with me for practicing celibacy. I agree! I was miserable in "relationships" that were going nowhere but to bed.

Looking back I realize my sistas were mad but not necessarily at me. I was just the messenger, and you know what happens to the messenger. The celibacy message is hard to take because it puts responsibility for your love life in your own hands. Can't blame the man anymore.

Interestingly, the group that really hungers for guidance is teen girls. Whenever I speak to girls about relationships, celibacy, and virginity, I have a rapt audience. ESPECIALLY if they've had sex!

From what sexually active girls tell me, and the studies are providing evidence, they regret having had sex. Yet, nowhere in the media will you see commercials or sitcom characters express this sad revelation.

If adults find sexual responsibility a challenge, why would we think our girls (and boys) would know what to do with their raging hormones? It's up to us to teach them and protect them from harmful images and themes. If we don't, we'll have only ourselves to blame for losing an entire generation.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

How to stay positive during a trip to the welfare office

Sistas, poverty is a bitch. Being broke and in debt are close behind. As a self-employed writer/editor, I've seen both. (Not for too much longer, thank you God.)

From time to time I have to make the trek to Human Services to deal with my medical benefit. Even though it's not as chic as, say, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, it has helped me tremendously with a past surgery and medicine. So I'm thankful for it.

Yesterday I went to take care of some business. Usually I keep my head in a book until my name is called, but instead I decided to do some people watching.

One woman's cell phone went off and the security guard barked, "No talking on cell phones!"

A gentleman ate sweets and candy while standing in line. He moaned and groaned with every bite. He offered an elderly man some of his food, and the 2 ate and moaned with pleasure.

A young mother took her 2 young children to the rest room. The boy was screaming for attention.

A staff member came into the building and said "Good morning" to everyone, clients included.

A client around my age came in, hobbling on a cane. She seemed to be in a lot of pain. The first person in line let her go in front.

There was a lot of noise in the area behind closed doors, a lot of talking and laughing. It made you wonder if any work was getting done while we waited and waited. A client kept saying, "Tell them to be quiet back there. Get to work!" Then she turned around to me and apologized. "It's just that they were so loud," she said.

How do you stay positive amidst all this humanity? How did some Jews survive the camps with their sanity in tact? How were some African slaves able to smile and love during horrendous conditions?

How do we, as single, trying-to-be celibate women, keep the loneliness at bay?

There are millions of nightmare scenarios that can boil down to just one question: how do we stay positive in the midst of the storm?

We make a decision to stay positive, and then we take one positive action. This will make you strong and you'll feel so much better about your circumstances.

For example, after I left the welfare office, I went home and did some writing. Did more research on my business activities.

Your greatest leaps forward will be made in the midst of life's greatest challenges -- IF you can remember to not give into hopelessness and IF you take one positive action. Make this a habit.

Every time you take one positive action in the midst of a negative situation, you literally propel yourself into the future that you desire.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V-Day dedication

Today's Valentine's Day posts are dedicated to my sistas who are sacrificing short-term sexual pleasure for long-term love. Be proud of yourselves, because it ain't easy. Just know that it will be SO worth it in the long run.

Helping teens wait

As parents, we've got to do all we can to help our teens wait for sex. In the spirit of "it takes a village," Bangkok police are helping parents out.

A Reuters article headlined "Thai teens keen for Valentine's Day sex" explores how Bangkok is dealing with their horny youth.

In a poll of 1,578 teenagers by Assumption University, 1/3 of the girls said they'd have sex on Valentine's Day if their boyfriends asked. Another survey of 1,222 teens (University of Thai Chamber of Commerce) found that 11% planned to lose their virginity on V-Day. Only 51% said they would not have sex.

I agree with Bangkok Deputy Police Chief Kamol Kaewsuwan who said, "Love is nice and beautiful, but it does not necessarily involve sexual engagement. Teenagers would do better focusing on school."

I don't agree with his approach to dealing with the problem, however. The kids are under a V-Day 10:00 pm curfew and decency watch. If they break curfew and are seen hugging and kissing, they'll be taken to the police station to wait for their parents to pick them up.

I may be old school, but even I think this is a bit harsh.

Thank God for this week's blizzard and freezing temperatures that are keeping horny Chicago teens at home.

Spring on the runway

I found the coolest site. New York Magazine provides extensive coverage of the spring 2007 collections, as well as previous seasons. There are articles, videos, blogs, and lots and lots of runway photos. If you've got some time to goof off and if you love fashion, this is a great place to peruse and indulge in fantasies.

One of my favorites: Jeremy Scott's fall 2006 fusion of food and fashion are hilarious and refreshingly self-deprecating. It's great to see pizza and french fries on those model bodies instead of my own hips and thighs.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Like mother like daughter?

A serious generation gap exists between mothers and daughters, especially in the area of sexuality. Baby boomer mothers came of age during the free love era. We explored our sexual powers openly. We thought we could have sex like men—with no emotional consequences.

We discovered the hard way that sex without love, monogamy, and commitment is a disaster waiting to happen. So we try to teach our daughters about being careful and protecting the heart.

Thanks to the slippery slope of free love and today’s pornographic society, our daughters aren’t buying it. Just as we refused to listen to our mothers, they refuse to listen to us. Peers and teen celebrity idols command their attention--the blind leading the blind.

The mixed messages are so confusing. In pop star Fergie’s song “Fergalicious,” she says she’s not promiscuous, but have you seen the video? I guess she just needed a word to rhyme with Fergalicious.

Back in the day, if you dressed explicitly, you were a slut. Today, dressing explicitly is high fashion. For a minute, X-rated rapper Lil’ Kim seemed to be featured in every other issue of Vogue magazine wearing her pasties and little else. This is high fashion? The editors couldn’t find any another young African American celebrity with her clothes on?

GQ anointed gangsta rapper 50 Cent as one of their men of the year. They couldn’t find a celebrity who believed in family and not killing one another?

A pimp used to be a guy who sold prostitutes on the street for money. Today, a pimp is anyone who has sexual power over others. It’s nothing for teens to call each other pimps, bitches, and hos.

Is this just youth culture sowing wild oats? Or have our children been so infected by pornography smeared on their cell phones, iPods, TV ads, music videos, video games, and fashions that we are helplessly witnessing a generation-wide death of the spirit?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pain-free V Day

3 days to Valentine's Day and counting. Yesterday I was in a lazy mood, so with remote control in hand, I scanned the networks for something mindless to watch.

Nothing but love stories. I felt myself getting depressed, but then I reminded myself that these stories were Hollywood's version of love. Totally fake.

That realization didn't make me feel better, so I headed toward the kitchen to load up on cookies and milk. Then, just like a Hollywood movie, I was rescued. A friend called and invited me to a pow wow over at his house. I knew everyone there, and as we got to talking about our hopes and dreams for the future, I felt SO much better.

The moral of the story? Being with real people you care about is much more satisfying than sitting in front of the TV and eating to medicate pain.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Love didn’t wait on Dirt

My latest TV obsession is Dirt, starring Courteney Cox as the ruthless tabloid editor. In this week’s episode, reporters went to a small town to investigate the murder of a high school teenager.

Although this good girl and her boyfriend had made the abstinence pledge at church, turns out she was pregnant when she died. I half expected an immaculate conception theme, but thank God they didn't go there.

Her boyfriend is questioned and he insists she couldn’t have been pregnant. They had only done it, er, where the sun don't shine. Gross. Teens invented the idea of technical virginity. They will have oral sex, anal sex, and everything in between and still call themselves virgins. That’s bull!

Anyway, after I got over the shock of this admission on TV (thank God it wasn’t prime time), it made me think of all the ways women try to shortcut their celibacy.

We want to know what we can and can’t do. Whenever I’m asked what’s allowable during celibacy, I start getting very suspicious. This is a woman who wants to have her celibacy cake and eat it too. Not the best metaphor but hopefully you get the point.

Being sexual on a date is dangerous to your celibacy commitment and unfair to the man. No matter if you’ve told him of your decision to abstain from sex, he’s not going to believe it if you’re rubbing up against him and ooo’ing and ahh’ing. Think he’s going to stop when you say “now stop?” (If you can find the strength to say it, that is.)

In SC, I present what I call the Passionmeter. It helps you see how innocent behaviors can build up and lead to falling off the wagon.

talking → holding hands → eye gazing → sweet talk → kissing → tongue kissing → dancing → grinding → clothes coming off → clothes off → doing the deed (p. 159)

Sistas, you’re not made of stone so don’t lie to yourself that you can engage in sex play but not have sex. If you’re truly committed to abstaining from sex for awhile, then protect yourself, and I’m not talking condoms (although, just in case, have a few around). Don’t do the things or put yourself in situations that will inevitably lead to accidental sex (“I don’t know how it happened, it just happened!”).

Friday, February 9, 2007

Crazy studies for singles

A couple of new studies to report.

The first seems like a rerun of past research into pheromones and sexual arousal. (Remember when they were putting pheromones in perfume? Maybe they still are?)

The recent study found that there are pheromones in male sweat and they cause women to get tingly.

When I used to go to the health club, I stared at men a lot. Little did I know it was their sweat turning me on. I thought it was grossing me out.

So put sweaty gyms on your list of sexual triggers. Stay away! Beware!

Study #2 is way more interesting and a joke for those of us who've been single for awhile. Question: Would you give up 15 months of sex in exchange for a full closet of new clothes?

All I've got to say is point me to Nordstrom's! Then in 15 months, I'll have new, pretty clothes to go out on dates in.

(If I find the sources of these studies I'll give full attribution.)

Mixed messages

Several years ago, Toni Braxton appeared on the cover of Vibe magazine near butt naked. She claimed she wasn’t going to have sex until marriage. Many found this claim hard to believe considering that she was, well, butt naked.

Britney Spears claimed she was a virgin, and she was with Mr. Sexy Back when she said it. Justin outted her and told the world that Britney wasn’t a virgin and that he should know! Oddly, the more she claimed virginity the more clothes she took off. What’s up with that?

I actually sent Britney a copy of Sensual Celibacy, but I never heard from her. As Britney events have unfolded over the years, I realize she never read my book. If she had practiced even a couple of the abstinence strengthening strategies presented in SC she might have avoided marriage to Kevin. Oh well. I tried to help the girl!

Even Paris Hilton says she’s going without sex for a year. Then what? Nail every guy who comes to town?

Do we believe these overtly sexual women? Can you wear your sexiness on your sleeve and still claim to be practicing celibacy?

Technically yes. My definition of celibacy is “abstention from sexual intercourse” (SC, p. 19). Beyond that technicality, however, there’s a deeper emotional commitment that goes with being alone for awhile. This involves withdrawing from as many things as possible that trigger uncontrollable sexual desire and dangerous situations that make you vulnerable.

Can you still party (sexual dancing, crunking) and drink Cristal (removal of inhibitions) and stay strong in your commitment? Just something to think about…

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Abstain and bring sexy back?

Yesterday I talked about flooding your senses with beautiful music. Today I’m remembering how much I LOVE Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake. (Although I hate that part about the shackles and being a slave and whipping. Okay, I try to not listen to the words, which is why I end up listening to instrumental music most of the time.)

The point of today’s post is that sometimes we need to remember that we’re still sexy and sexual even though we’re not with our soul mates at the moment.

Beware: A song like Sexy Back is only for advanced abstainers! By advanced, I don’t necessarily mean how long you haven’t had sex but how strong you feel in your decision to abstain. You know you’re strong if you feel aroused but are not inclined to do something crazy about it. NOW you’re probably ready to start dating and flirting again.

If you’ve just made the decision to abstain from sex for awhile or if you’re feeling extremely vulnerable right now, change the station when Sexy Back comes on.

But if you’re feeling okay, turn it on, turn it up, sing along, and dance ‘til your feet hurt!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Music for the soul

Sensual Celibacy is all about flooding the senses with so much joy and ecstacy that you don't have time to whine and cry about not having a man. For bringing beautiful music back into my life, I must thank the talented girls of SugarStrings ( my daughter, Ayanna (14, cello), and my nieces Mira (9, viola/violin) and Adé (9, violin).

Music can help you stay sane while you're going it alone. Just make sure you're listening to music that uplifts you and doesn't constantly remind you that you're by yourself. Pop music is probably the worse type of music to listen to while you're single. It's designed to stimulate sexual feelings. In our situation, that's the worse possible thing. It can take you off your plan if you listen to too much of it.

It can be difficult to withdraw from certain types of music. I say withdraw because you can become addicted to music. I told a friend once who was having a hard time being single that she should stop listening to slow jams. If she could have, she would have hit me. She said, "Don't ask me to give up my slow jams." Well, then, you're always going to be stimulated and longing for something you don't have right now.

I would even go so far to say that you could get so stimulated that you might end up making some bad decisions, like having one night stands and accidental sex (the "I don't know how it happened" kind).

My daughter and I constantly talk about her favorite rap tunes because they are full of gratuitous sex. There's nothing in that music that promotes healthy relationships, love, marriage, or monogamy. In fact, it's just the opposite.

I listen to a lot of instrumental music--jazz, classical, and Old School because I don't want music to talk to me about having sex when I ain't getting none (you know what I mean?). Remember Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra? Pop groups don't make instrumental tunes anymore. How come?

My latest musical passion is for a classical concerto by Brahms: the Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Octet ( Although it's in a minor key, it doesn't feel morbid or scary, like the theme from Psycho. It feels majestic. I've listened to this concerto so much that it's now ringing in my ears! But I dare you to listen and not feel uplifted and royal.

This kind of music reminds me that I'm a queen and just because I'm not with a man doesn't mean that I can't enjoy life to the fullest. If your music doesn't make you feel that way, maybe you should change your tunes!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Goal setting during the fast

A vacation from sex is a great time to do some goal setting, life planning, and following through. After all, there's no one around to stop you, is there?

How do you want to live your life? Don't go small here. Dream big.

Can I make a suggestion here: try not to focus so much on the man thing. Get yourself together first.

Next, write down your goals. Write activities for accomplishing those goals and then a reasonable timeline for completion.

That's it. If you've got a long list of goals, you might want to pick the top one or two so that you can focus on getting the activities done. You don't want to spread your energies too thin.

Let me know how your 'vacation' is going!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Warmth for the single soul

Global warming is in hibernation here in the Midwest. It's FREEZING outside today. There's something about cold weather that makes you want to snuggle up with another warm body. If you're single, you may not have that option. I hate to point you to food again, but wrap yourself in your favorite blanky and sip a cup of hot chocolate. Not only will only will the liquid warm your bones, you'll get your chocolate fix as well!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Orango Island, women propose marriage with fish dinner

I have the answer to all of our male-female relationship problems. The people of Orango Island off the western coast of Africa believe that love comes to the woman first, so it only makes sense for the woman to propose marriage to the man. Instead of a diamond ring, the woman lays a plate of fish before her intended. Eating the fish means he accepts the proposal, and immediately he falls in love with the woman. With this system, divorce is almost unheard of.

Isn't that beautiful?

Some young men, seeking work off the island, returned with the stupid idea of proposing to the woman. Missionaries are telling young women to wait for a man to propose. As a result, divorces are now occuring at a higher rate.

Instead of western ideas turning their world upside down, they should be teaching us the ways of love. With our divorce rate at 50%, we have a lot to learn.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Sweet sleep

One of the nicest things you can do for yourself is get a good night's sleep. I've noticed that if I don't get enough sleep, I eat more. I guess that's my body's attempt to get more energy. Lately I've been existing on about 4 hours sleep a night, but last night my body rebelled. I slept so hard and so long that I woke up late. But I sure felt better for it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I've gotta tell you about my latest taste sensation. When you’re not in a relationship it's easy to gain weight, but who can resist Dove’s dark chocolate covered almonds? Dark chocolate and almonds are good for us, but all I really care about is that they taste soooo good.

A pair of what?

I don’t like it when women are told they should grow a pair, as if we should be more like men or that only men have courage.

Making a decision to abstain from sex when there’s no monogamous, committed relationship in sight is one of the most courageous things a woman can do for herself. Women may have more options in life, but the taboo against aloneness stands firm. I still feel it from time to time when a married friend has to go home to her husband or I stand in the movie line alone.

But I’d rather be alone and at peace than together on the emotional rollercoaster. One day my soul mate may come, but until then, it’s all about moi!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kate Spade

My daughter and I went to a Saks Outlet in Woodfield Mall a couple of weeks ago, and there I found the most exquisite, awesomely beautiful pair of black pumps I've ever seen. Kate Spade. They took my breath away.

They were made to perfection, and this is what made them so sensuous. Of course they weren't in my size, but that didn't stop me from picking them up and caressing my check with them. I sighed. Oh, God! They were absolutely gorgeous! No, they weren't sex, but they sure as hell came close.