We live in a hyper-sexualized culture. Sex sells, or so we’ve been told. As women, we contort ourselves in an effort to appeal, often denying ourselves and furthering the cycle of self-loathing. Endless articles have been written on women reclaiming their sexuality and sensuality. There is enormous value to be found in that — value in reclaiming our desires, owning them and finding the beauty in our own expression. What I’m going to explore here is not, in any way, antithetical. Rather, it’s an addendum.

I lost my virginity, at what some would call, a later age. For me, this was a protective measure, rooted in fear. I was traumatized at home and bullied in school. Instead of seeking external love, I became disembodied, unconsciously disassociating and running above my neck to the perceived safety of my head.

At 27 I had met someone who lit me on fire — but the sex was not the healthiest. I was blinded by it and couldn’t yet grasp the toxicity in the relationship. I had to routinely create and recreate unhealthy experiences for myself with other men until I finally hit a wall.

For me, sex had been a psychological game, the thrill of cat and mouse — and the highs and lows became addictive.

It wasn’t so much the act, as the conquest and I don’t think this is uncommon. I think, in many cases, it’s the pathway to self-understanding. At some point, I had lost myself, because as much good as it can elicit, sex can also completely dilute one’s energy. As we merge with another, it can be challenging to remain connected to ourselves.

My boundaries had been too fixed and then, too porous. I still see this often, to varying degrees, with clients and friends. We give too much away, and we take too much in.

Celibacy, for however long, can offer us a pathway back to ourselves — to our own center of gravity. It’s the energetic equivalent of sitting with our own thoughts. It allows us the opportunity to find our own body, our own sense of space, and then, when we do re-engage, negotiate our desires, wants and needs.

My stint was long. Years, actually. (I’m a Virgo with Mars in Scorpio, if anyone’s curious about the astrology.) But the truth is, I waited until I met someone who I felt secure, safe and healthy with, someone with whom I could break my pattern. I waited until I felt whole inside, until I felt capable of something new and until I knew myself.

There’s no right formula. They say there are a million roads to Rome, but choosing a relationship with ourselves first is always a solid start to wholeness.

In Your Inbox