A Season of Celibacy

Sponsored Content

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website


  1. You rightly recognized your “musings about voluntary celibacy came across as grating to those for whom it didn’t seem like a choice.”

    Well, I’m one of those who doesn’t seem to have a choice, and I do find your musings grating—present tense. I understand it’s my problem.

  2. Hugo, I don’t find your musings grating. There is a certain freedom and “lightness of being” in taking a break from pursuing sexual relationships all the time.

  3. Please write more about your carefully crafted exterior hiding your neediness. I work with spouses of sex addicts and the addicts’ exteriors are SO convincing that the spouses have a LOT of trouble seeing the extreme neediness that is being hidden by the polished persona.

    Please remember that these spouses have been lied to so often and for so long, their trust level is nil. Please speak to what is under it all. Please.

  4. How nice it must be to have a choice in the matter rather than having it thrust upon you by life (right up there with being able to blame a deity for all the good and bad things that happen in your life).

  5. @daniel (a little less so) & albert: bitter much? learn to deal with yourselves and what’s going on in your lives before slagging one persons choice to deal with his issues.

    unlike hugo, i haven’t been as destructive in my relationships and life, however i have had to deal with the fall-out that came from choosing to be in toxic relationships. i’ve taken time to be celibate, and focus on my other, positive relationships with family and friends, and more importantly, ME. granted, i’ve always enjoyed a certain measure of solitude.

    thanks hugo.

  6. Alana wrote: “learn to deal with yourselves and what’s going on in your lives….”

    I won’t argue about bitterness or not, but I assure you I’ve done plenty of learning about dealing with myself and what’s going on in my life. Clearly, that is what Hugo’s celibacy discipline has been about for him, and I am glad he recognizes how grating he sounds to others who didn’t choose it.

  7. Thanks, Hugo, for your honesty — not only about sexual addiction but drug addiction and suicide as well. I’ve been on both sides of the divide: celibacy by default (lack of opportunity) and what most people would consider sexual promiscuity. And I’ve been addicted to sex-oriented chatrooms, too. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Loneliness, not knowing what to do with yourself when alone, is the real problem. I wish I had been able, indeed allowed, as a teenager to make a conscious choice for celibacy. I might have learned much earlier to deal with my neediness and channel my energy into more constructive pursuits.

  8. Although I would probably tend to be more conservative in my assessment of a healthy sexual relationship, I can appreciate Hugo’s transparency and struggle. The discipline of being in control of your sexual impulses in our society is harder than ever, but our decisions still predict the tipping point. I appreciate the sobering viewpoint and his assessment of the need to not be controlled by our sexual desires.

  9. Great blog! Thank you for sharing! I Know it helped me & helped me understand my husband & the issues we are having. I hope your sharing will help many, many other men and people heal! God bless.

  10. Thanks Hugo! As much as I love sex and its full exploration, I too have taken periods of celibacy where I engaged in no romantic or sexual interactions. For me, it has helped me re-calibrate my sexuality when it starts to veer off into unhealthy territory.

    I’m in a celibate period at this moment in fact. No sex for Jeni until 2012 at the earliest!

  11. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Hugo, this has worked for me as well. It often wasn’t planned or conscious. I just became preoccupied with other things. In the distant past, a two-year drunk provided the distraction.

  12. “….. It was only by completely quieting that aspect of my life that I got still enough to listen to God; ” <— This

  13. Wow. Thank you for that. This is exactly where I am, chemically sober for two years and just learning emotional sobriety. I’ve been reading Henri Nouwen’s “Inner Voice of Love” at the suggestion of a friend who saw in me what you just described here, and finally understanding why. It’s good to know I’m not alone.


  1. [...] friends and family were so thrilled that I was sober, stable (and, for a time, celibate) that they encouraged this new addiction. I made new friends in my fellow runners, and though I’d [...]

  2. Recommended Resources…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]…

  3. [...] it, includes sexual recovery as well as abstinence from drugs and alcohol. (More about that in A Season of Celibacy, which appeared on GMP this summer.) I was recently asked by a mentee whether I’ve ever come [...]

Speak Your Mind