Love in lockdown
How celibacy set me free.
Very early on, I learned that my sexuality was something that could be taken, but not something that ever belonged to me.
By the time you hit puberty, it seems as if so many invisible societal barriers and rules have been imposed on you. This gilded girl-cage made me feel so conflicted about sex at a time when many girls actually require clarity and understanding of their own bodies. And it was precisely because of this gilded cage that I began to feel like the treasure of my own body was not mine— I was convinced by Disney and Hollywood that the key to liberation must lay in Prince Charming’s hands. Men had the key to freedom, validation, and understanding what sex and love really meant… or so it seemed in the patriarchal narrative.
To exist within myself, I would have to see myself through the prism of the other.
It is with this caged, misunderstood feeling that I entered into my sexual life, and would remain sexually active throughout my early 20s. Always seeking a deeper sensation and understanding of my own body through my lovers and partners. In this frame of mind— pre-spiritual awakening—even masturbation seemed like a mere opportunity to fantasise about others, but never to make love to myself.
Fast-forward to the beginning of the pandemic, where being single and isolated from people became some kind of necessity, especially in those earlier days when we had no idea how bad it would all get. Being in lockdown at the epicentre of the outbreak in New York created a total re-frame for intimacy and connectivity. From the beginning, I began to explore my body in new ways, away from the hustle and away from the pressures of normal society. It was like putting myself in a time capsule – or a spiritual activation chamber.
For many of us, dating became virtual, which meant that we got to talk to people a lot more— the period of courtship became drawn-out. By giving space for emotional intimacy, I was able to satisfy my physical intimacy with a new sense of personal freedom and sovereignty.
The popularity of hookup culture pre-pandemic meant that a lot of my relationships had started with sex. While there is nothing wrong with this approach if it works for you, I do sense that our generation suffers from quite a lot of lovelessness—despite us being “sexually liberated” and having tons of sex. So, what’s missing? For me there is something to be said for the “pandemic pause” which shifted my order of priorities in sex and love towards celibacy. It became more interesting and necessary to get to know others on an emotional level, while I deepened my self-love practice from a spiritual perspective.
In ancient cultures such as Kemetic Egypt, it was common to practice the knowledge of mysticism through communion with the body. By experiencing the layers of the subtle body through sex, one could achieve higher levels of consciousness. Integrating these sacred rites within the activation chamber of my bedroom was a crucial step in finding connection and reclamation as a woman who never had permission to explore herself in girlhood without shame.
By studying my female anatomy in detail and practicing new ways to commune with my sexual life-force, I allowed myself to heal on the deepest levels from trauma, toxic and possessive sexual conditioning, and the pressure to perform pleasure for a partner.
Having such an ecstatic relationship with myself means that I don’t need another person in order to feel worthy of intimacy and love. Through celibacy, I’ve created a space of intuitive expansion within my own body, and now I know that sex could never be casual for me again. I have such veneration for myself, that to come into sexual union with another, I must feel in complete vibrational resonance with that person. The respect and admiration I have for the miracle of my body is the same feeling I expect to be mirrored in a potential partner.
We live in a generation where the most intimate ritual—the merging of two souls into one through sex— has become as common as a handshake. I believe this has desensitised many to the power of unconditional love. Sex is inherently spiritual, and requires consideration before consumption. Until then, celibacy has been my sovereign path towards healing, in the midst of a society that claims female bodies in the name of ownership and violence.
Making love to yourself should feel like an infinite experience of unconditional acceptance. Making love to another should feel like an expansion into the unseen astral realms. Heart wide open, life-changing, and earth-shattering. My advice is to not settle for anything less.