I gave up sex eight years ago... and it's the best thing I ever did
By Sonia Poulton
Last updated at 7:57 AM on 14th October 2008
Clara Meadmore, having remained a virgin all her life, recently celebrated her 105th birthday. Celibacy, she said, was one of the keys to leading a long and happy life.
Here, Sonia Poulton explains why sexual abstinence has numerous benefits and why she can't think of one reason why she'd want to jump into bed with a man again...
I have been celibate since 2000, and I can honestly say sexual abstinence has numerous benefits. Indeed, I can't think of one reason why I would want to jump into bed with a man again. You see, unlike Clara, I am not a virgin. I am a mother who had a number of sexual partners before deciding to say no to sex. And I firmly believe my decision has done nothing but good for me and, more importantly, my 11-year-old daughter.
Celibacy appealed to me, primarily, for two reasons. I had separated from my daughter's father when she was three years old and, assuming that I was not immediately going to meet 'the one', I was not happy to subject her to a series of strangers in my pursuit of a new man.
Secondly, I considered it vital, for my sanity, to have 'time out' from romantic relationships.
I was desperate to change my ways. Not only for myself, but with the intention that my daughter would not repeat my costly mistakes. And I was also deeply affected by our culture's sexual fixation. I was appalled that everything from dishwashers to cars was marketed using sexual imagery or innuendo. The commercialisation of sex was - is - abhorrent to me. I sought to break free. So, in the spring of 2000, I bade farewell - for the time being, at least - to a sex life.
Little did I know how far-reaching the benefits would be, or how much I would learn as a consequence of my decision.
'Better in mind and body'
For one, my physical health is a lot safer than it otherwise might have been. There are at least 30 sex-related diseases out there, the most serious being Aids, and numerous STIs that accompany intercourse.
Some, like chlamydia, are undetectable and can remain in the body, wreaking havoc and causing infertility. I have also significantly reduced my odds of contracting cervical cancer.
But, above all, I am happier emotionally. I am comfortable in my own skin and have shed the welter of insecurities and fears that every single woman lives with when she is in a series of relationships.
Celibacy has had a bad press. So, let me dispel the myths surrounding my decision. I am not celibate because I can't 'get' any sex. It is a personal choice not an enforcement. The reality is, since being celibate, I have been propositioned by old and new acquaintances alike, and even high-profile ones.
When I was invited on to This Morning to discuss my choice, David Hasselhoff, who was also on the show, asked me out and offered to 'cure me'. I politely declined.
Since I went public about being celibate, I have been inundated with letters from other like-minded people.