From the growing sober curious movement gaining popularity among younger generations to social media cleanses and dopamine fasting, giving up in the name of wellness is becoming a growing trend across a variety of substances, habits and behaviors. The latest thing people are giving up in the name of improved mental and emotional wellbeing? Sex.
According to the Guardian, while dating apps and an increasingly sex-positive society have made it easier than ever before to get sex, many people are taking a break from it in favor of a period of self-imposed celibacy. Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Single, quit sex for a year after realizing she had developed an unhealthy dependency on dating and relationships. Gray compared deleting her dating apps to “giving up a drug,” telling the Guardian that her sex fast led to an important period of self-discovery. “I dressed differently and no longer cared about attracting men,” she said. “I started to see myself as a person — rather than a girlfriend or a sexual plaything.”
Comedian Eleanor Conway, who also compared her past relationship with sex and dating to drug and alcohol abuse, called her ten-month period of self-imposed celibacy “a massive relief” that helped her “stop seeing men as sex objects and females as competition.”
Meanwhile, the sex fast trend isn’t just for singles. Couples in romantic relationships are also actively choosing to abstain from sex for a variety of reasons. “There’s an enormous pressure in our society to be sexually active and have great sex all the time, but not everyone has positive experiences or gets a lot out of it,” Ammanda Major, the head of clinical practice at the relationship charity Relate, told the Guardian. While some couples may take planned breaks from sex for a determined period of time, others may decide to exclude sex from their relationship long term.
Whether single or coupled, it seems sex-fasting is becoming an increasingly popular wellness trend, perhaps because — rather than in spite — of the sheer ease with which we can access it in the digital age. With casual sex only ever a few Tinder swipes away, people may feel less pressure to capitalize on every sexual opportunity that comes their way. The endless carousel of potential sex partners will still be there when you return from your sex fast.
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