Monday, June 30, 2008

Dressing sexy

Friends, I’ve got to sexy up my act.

Yesterday my sister and I went to a fashion show benefiting breast cancer research. The presentations from various survivors were truly moving, but it was the fashion show that put me to shame. The clothes! The shoes! In the words of Carrie, “Come here, lover!”

To be honest, at my age and luscious full figuredness I couldn’t wear any of the clothes that floated dream-like down the makeshift catwalk. They were all so slinky and tight that every bump and grind on my body would show the world what I’m really made of. We can’t have that.

The shoes were awesome, but the heels were so high I feared for the ankles and knees of the models wearing them. That’s when you know you’re getting older, when your major concern is for comfort, not femme fatale.

Still, we can’t get so comfortable in our sweats and jeans that we forget to be sexy. So what if we’re not having sex! So let’s not forget to wear our mini skirts, plunging necklines, and kitten heels with pride. It’s amazing how the right outfit can make you feel fabulous!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sensual celibacy vs. sexual anorexia

Apart from the nagging fear that we’ll never have sex again (heaven forbid!), the one idea that has the power to unleash widespread panic in the celibacy community is “sexual anorexia.”

The term comes from anorexia nervosa, which of course is the absence or extreme loss of appetite and the resulting deathly weight loss and skeletal appearance.

Some researchers define sexual anorexia as the lack of sexual “appetite” or the extreme fear of sex. Another school of thought says that sexual anorexics may be able to have sex but without the intimacy. So they may indulge in pornography, paid sex, and strip clubs, but they can’t connect one-on-one. Tina Turner’s wail, “What’s love got to do with it?” might be the anthem of this type of sexual anorexic.

In my opinion, sexual anorexia is a misnomer or at the very least comparing apples (fear of sex/intimacy) to oranges (fear of food). The issues that create each of these disorders may be very different. I’m no expert in either of these fields, but even I can see how anorexia nervosa can lead to starvation and death while sexual anorexia does not. We can’t live without food. Contrary to popular belief, we can live without sex. The quality of life may be dimmed at times, but we can still function and even have joy and happiness in life.

Clearly, both anorexics – sexual and dietary – need clinical help. My concern is that those of us practicing celibacy are not mindlessly lumped into this group just because, like some sexual anorexics, we're not having sex.

Practicing celibacy, especially my sensual celibacy, is a choice, not a disorder. Compared to having casual sex with people you don’t even know, sensual celibacy will always be a wise, sane choice. I keep thinking about Matt Drudge’s screaming headline, “Sex in the city: 1 in 4 NYC adults has herpes.” In light of widespread STDs and broken hearts, sensual celibacy is still the best way to go when facing solo times.

To me, the difference between sensual celibacy and sexual anorexia is intent. As sexual beings having a celibate lifestyle (temporarily, hopefully!), we make the decision to table casual sex. Sexual anorexia is a disorder; sensual celibacy is a clearly thought out approach to managing our sexual behavior.

That said, I believe that the old-fashioned, judgmental, unforgiving, harsh style of celibacy can lead to sexual anorexia. If there's no spirituality or sensuality in your celibacy, you run the risk of detouring down some very dark alleys. Celibate beware!

Which is why I so strongly advocate the sensual approach. Never let go of your femininity (or masculinity). Get your 10 hugs every day. Stimulate your senses with the sights and sounds you love. Most importantly, maintain healthy, intimate, loving relationships.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pray for men

Today my mother invited me to come to church with her -- that's right, on a Saturday. It's hard enough to get me to church on a Sunday, much less one of the other six days of the week. But it was for a good cause.

For the past 22 years, New Covenant Life Church in Chicago (Pastors John and Jo Ann Long) have held a virtual prayer marathon for men. It goes on for hours and hours. It's like an aerobic prayer workout. It's like going to the wailing wall and just letting it all out. Praying like that is extremely cathartic and therapeutic. It heals the soul.

If you have any bitterness, unforgiveness, and pain lingering in your heart from a failed love relationship, praying for your ex is one of the best ways to heal. It's a great way to just let the thing go.

If you're still mad at your father, uncle, or brother for whatever happened in the past, pray for them.

At first you'll be like, "Okay, God, here I am. I don't know what to say about that low down, dirty so and so...." It may go on like that for a couple of minutes. But soon a warmth, a sweetness washes over you and you'll find yourself praying things that never occurred to you before. Kinder things. Insightful things about the person that couldn't have come to mind while you were mad. You become more compassionate. That's when you know you're in the spirit and an All-Knowing Intelligence has taken over (thank God!).

It's actually a relief to let the hurt and anger go. It takes a lot of energy to stay mad at someone. Do you really want to meet your soul mate while you're still pissed off at your ex? You don't want to taint your new relationship with pain from the past. Pray for your ex. That's the best way to let him go.

I know. He did you wrong. So what. Pray for him. I don't care what he did. Pray and forgive him. It goes against the grain, especially if you're right and he was wrong. Still, pray for him. There's no short cut to sanity and a joyful heart.

Ultimately, you begin to realize that the prayers are also about your peace of mind, sanity, and emotional health.

I went to one of Pastor Jo Ann's first prayers for men years ago. It was held at Morgan Park High School, and nearly 1,000 women showed up to pray.

That was a powerful experience for me. If you really get into the spirit of the event, there's no way you can continue to be mad at men.

I didn't know it then, but years later, when I began to practice celibacy, the lessons from that prayer set a powerful tone for living a life without casual sex. I remember praying as if I personally was carrying the burdens of all men on my shoulders. It was crazy praying, but I just couldn't stay mad at the ones who had done me wrong after that experience.

That's not to say I never get mad at men. After all, I'm still single parenting. ('Nough said about that.) But whenever I'm in a funk about something that was said or not done, I practice prayer and forgiveness. I'm ruthless with myself about it. I don't want to set up any more karmic debts with anyone else in this lifetime, thank you very much!

Pray alone, but it's even more powerful when you pray with others. I remember how the atmosphere in the auditorium was literally throbbing with the urgency of our prayers. While praying for our fathers, husbands, sons, and loves, we women experienced a rare moment of unity. No doubt, there was a lot of pain in that auditorium. But when you pray for men, not with perfection but with honesty, you begin to realize how much pain they're in. Some of our men are really suffering -- unemployment, unacknowledged depression, incarceration, addictions. The list goes on and on.

I didn't go this year, but I was there with those women in spirit. I know the power of prayer and forgiveness. There's no way you can stay mad at someone when you pray for him. No way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Got time?

Is celibacy time different from sex time? I'm talking perception, of course.

From romance to foreplay to intercourse to afterglow (hopefully), time can pass in an instant. But if the sex is a bore or a chore, you're looking at the little clock on the bedside table while he's pumping away, thinking, "Geez, just come already."

If you're single, you may be thinking, "Will this time in my life ever be over?" You measure time between dates or phone calls from him. You look at the calendar in shock, realizing it's been X weeks/months/years (yikes!) since you last did the wild thang.

Time is relative, but one thing's for sure: the more joy, whether you're having sex or celibacy, the less time feels like watching a pot boil.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good times right now

The July 2008 issue of Marie Claire reviews The Time Paradox by psychologist Philip Zimbardo. His point about our tendency to fixate on either the past, present, or future made me think about the things we fantasize about while practicing celibacy.

We wish we had a man. We wish we were having mind blowing sex. We wish we had the white house and picket fence. We wish we had the perfect little family.

While we're wishing and hoping and fantasizing about the future, the pleasures of right now are passing us by. That's a shame.

Zimbardo says, “If happiness is always in the future, then you’ll never be happy.” So true. Gotta practice joy right now. Don’t wait for the man. Start cracking yourself up right now!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Prevent accidental sex!

Don't listen to the sexiest song of all time: 'Don't Disturb This Groove' by The System. Whew, that bass! The hair! The dance moves!


With the cost of everything going up, I sometimes think how great it would be to share financial responsibilities with someone.

Back to reality. Money and sex are the 2 biggest reasons why couples fight and break up.

A couple of years ago I had a major recession of my own. Along with double knee replacement surgery, I had to sell my house. Times were hard. Would it have been better to go through that with someone? I don't know.

I've seen couples come through the fire stronger than ever, and then there are those who don't make it.

It would be awful to be with someone who doesn't have money in perspective, who allows it to rule his life. Can't you be generous and a good money manager?

Maybe the lesson is, whether alone or with someone, we can't let hard times defeat us. I feel the pain at the gas pump. Chicago has some of the highest gas prices in the country. But whenever I start feeling nervous, I remind myself that abundance is all around and that I'm in the flow. Even though it costs more to get gas, the car is still tanked up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Labor of love

I love the story about Annie and Doug Brown who decided to try a great experiment in love: 101 days of sex. They found that making the commitment and sticking to it created wonderful intimacy in their relationship.

It's so easy to throw in the towel when it comes to relationships. That's why the divorce rate is so high and why so many singles opt for kickin' it and hanging out vs. making the commitment to make love work.

Celibacy makes sense when you're single and not yet partnered up. Sex makes sense when you're in a loving relationship and want to stay connected. Either way, solo or with someone, it's a labor of love.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Feeling womanly without sex

This has, without a doubt, been my hardest challenge. It's not that I need a man to make me whole, but I sometimes need that jolt of sexual connection to make me feel womanly -- and only a man can give it to me.

In the past I might have given into temptation. Never say never, but today I feel pretty strong in my celibacy practice. I don't want to give in to sex...unless the circumstances are right for me. No one can say what's right for you but you.

That's not to say that I don't get that much needed feeling of sexual connection in other ways. A couple of days ago I just happened to see a long-time friend. We used to date many moons ago. I've seen him off and on over the years, but our chance meeting a couple of days ago produced a surprising jolt of feeling.

I think he felt it, too, because he was doing that smiling-and-looking-at-the-ground thing.

We rushed into each other's arms, hugged warmly, and then said our pleasantries. We exchanged new numbers and then went on about the day.

We broke up for a reason, so I don't really want to revisit the past. However, he is and always was basically a good man. It's nice to know that my occasional jolts of sexual connection come from good men now, not the jerks that used to give me a buzz ages ago.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Big oil and dating

Yours truly will be on Dr. Lorraine Jacques White's Powertalk show on WAOK Radio in Atlanta, Georgia, 10 a.m. EST.

I was just wondering today, is the high price of gas affecting dating behaviors? Are folks opting to stay home instead of meeting up?

Goodness, I hope not! Don't let big oil win!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sexual abstinence at a juvy home

Coach Powell visited a juvenile detention center today and asked for their "hardest cases." Some of the girls were pregnant or had delivered babies while at the center. All in all, his group had around 60 males and 20 females (sitting on opposite sides of the room, of course).

Coach Powell hit them with the questions from Girlfriends Diary #1 and Journal for Young Men #1. They were in tears by the end of the session. The process is life changing, and we want every teen in America to experience the transformation. Contact us at to be put on the mailing list. We'll let you know as soon as the books have been printed.

Teens get a lot of sex education but not a lot of sexual abstinence presented to them in a way that makes sense to them ("how can you hear without a preacher?"). The journals are a safe way for them to sort through all the emotions and questions they have. If it's done with an adult facilitator, the process is really powerful, but the journals can stand alone as well.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Celibacy is baaack!

Hi friends,

I've missed you! Sorry for taking a year off from blogging, but I had a good really. My writing partner and I, Alfred "Coach" Powell, have been writing books since we last met. I'll tell you about those in a minute.

I'll be on The Michael Baisden Show -- Love, Lust, and Lies -- on Monday, June 9, 2008, the afternoon drive. It should be a lot of fun. He's got a huge audience, but try and call in. I'd love to hear from you! Check local radio listings.

Now about our latest writing projects. Since writing Sensual Celibacy 10 years ago, I've long wanted to do a follow up for teens. Despite what we hear about teen sexual behavior in the media, I find they're hungry for information on abstinence. Well we've finally gone and done it. Girlfriends Diary #1 and Journal for Young Men #1 (Real Talk, Real Thoughts About Love, Relationships, and Sex) are life-changing, guided journals designed to help teens be dating survivors. No more accidental sex allowed!

Here's what 2 of Coach Powell's former athletes had to say about the journals:

“Time out for being hard and angry. Coach Powell’s Journal for Young
Men #1
is a powerful process for revealing all the secrets a man keeps
inside, things we try to hide even from ourselves. I found it life
changing. All young men who want to step up their game need to work this book
for their emotional and spiritual health.” Daequan Cook, NBA Miami Heat

“Finally a book that’s right for the times, right on time, and just in the nick of time. Coach Powell has created a life saving process that allows young men to educate and express themselves without hurting anyone. This book is a “keep it real” appropriate read about love, relationships, and sex. It’s a way to use the power of the mind and pen instead of fists and guns. Every young man should read this journal as a part of their rite of passage into manhood.” Na’Shan Goddard, 2008 NFL World Champion New York Giants

The books are at the printers, so check back here or for purchasing information. Our goal is to get copies of these powerful journals into the hands of every male and female teen in America!! Send me a note at if you'd like to be put on our mailing list.

Check out the many youth workshops and professional development trainings we provide on We consult with schools, faith organizations, and social service agencies around the country.