25 June, 2021

Sexlessness Is Therapeutic

Celibacy needn’t be the kind the Mahatma took at age 38. Temporary abstention, too, can help you emerge as a more capable person, says Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Sexlessness Is Therapeutic

I remember once, many years ago, right before I was to be introduced to a friend’s mother, she turned to me and hissed, “Listen, don’t tell her you write about sex!” Before I could protest—I don’t write about sex, I write about relationships, sometimes, sometimes I talk about other things, sex is not the only thing I talk about—the mother was there and I was saying hello, and the details of my profession never actually came up in conversation. However, this is a piece my friend can safely show her mother, because I’m not only not writing about sex, I’m writing about the absence of it, the opposite of coupling. “Conscious uncoupling”, as Gwyneth Paltrow called it, but which I’m choosing to put under the banner of “celibacy” for easy reference. No sex, thanks!

Of course, we’ve all done it. I’m thinking of a story I read in Marie Claire magazine from earlier this year. It was about a woman who decided to become celibate after a bad relationship ended, and how it helped her...

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