Why More Women Are Embracing Celibacy

Tameka Bazile, a content strategist from South New Jersey, was among those who criticized the Bumble ad on TikTok for disrespecting what she and others on TikTok jokingly call “the closed leg community.” 

In her video, Bazile spoke from experience. She gave up sex for a whole year in 2016 to clear her mind after a string of disappointing dates and confusing hookups. 

“I noticed that I was forming attachments through sex and not understanding whether I was into someone because they were worth liking or because I was physically attracted to them,” Bazile told HuffPost. 

Her decision to say “no” to sex wasn’t about punishing men for failing to level up. It was “100% to ensure I was showing up as best as I could for myself,” she added. 

Her no-dating, no-sex policy lasted for a year and would have lasted longer had she met her now-fiancé.  

“I think folks vastly underestimate how focused women can be in the pursuit of what they want in life,” Bazile said, and sometimes casual sex and hookup culture just gets in the way of that. 

After her last relationship ended in 2019, Talia Cadet, a lifestyle influencer from Washington, D.C., was celibate for a little under three years. She was in her early 30s and needed time to regroup and figure out what she wanted in life. Then COVID happened, prolonging her stint with abstinence a little while longer than expected. 

“I knew instantly I didn’t want to date in a climate where you can’t fully trust the people you’re dating won’t expose you to COVID-19,” she said. 

She quit the dating apps, too, because they weren’t delivering matches that she thought would tangibly enrich her life. 

“Dating apps have become so superficial and vapid,” she said. “It’s a money grab. It’s supposed to be a repeat business. Hooking up is cool in the moment, but it’s not satisfying in the long term.”

Today, Cadet creates content that gives women tips on celibate life. (One major tip? Use your time wisely and “go hard on those professional and personal goals.” Without the distraction of dating, Cadet bought a house in 2020 and excelled in work.) 

Does Cadet have any regrets about forgoing sex during her sexual peak? Not one, she said.

“I have a stronger sense of self. I’ve accomplished so much without the distractions,” Cadet said. “I know exactly what I do and don’t want in my relationship. I’ve learned to love my solitude. Dating is less frustrating after all of this.” 

Ultimately, women wanting to take a break from the hookup culture, casual sex or dating apps are motivated by myriad reasons, not just one, said Kelsch, the dating coach. It doesn’t have to be a hard-lined stance, either ― maybe you’re just celibate for a season. And men can choose temporary celibacy, too, obviously. (We’re not talking incels here ― those who are “involuntary celibate” ― but rather, actively choosing to abstain from sex.) 

“It’s a very individual thing, but the most common theme I hear from my clients and friends is that dating apps feel shallow and are a time-suck,” she said.

After our touch-starved pandemic years, Kelsch said people are craving connection and depth and quality over quantity in their sex and dating lives.

“Perhaps we are entering a ‘less is more’ era,” she said, “and small talk or connections with 20 isn’t nearly as gratifying as really getting to know and be heard by a few.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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