Celibacy Period: What is it?

addiction celibacy pornography sex Apr 07, 2023


Most people have never heard of the concept of a "Celibacy Period."  Indeed, it's a rare thing and not for the faint of heart. However, for couples entering the recovery journey, it can be one of the greatest blessings they ever experience.  In this three part series, we'll explore what, why and benefits of a Celibacy Period so you know if it's right for you.

Also known as an "Abstinence Period" or "Sexual Detox," a Celibacy Period is simply a preplanned, mutually agreed upon window of time where a couple strategically decides to refrain from any and all forms of sexual contact, innuendos, imagery, nakedness, flirtation, suggestive behavior, open-mouth kissing, etc.  In short, it calls a moratorium on all forms of sexual stimuli, large and small.

This is especially helpful if sexuality has become a point of contention, conflict or trauma in the relationship. During this period of abstaining, both parties work with a trained professional to process through the withdrawal symptoms they experience as a result of removing sexuality from their relationship dynamics.

Before pulling the trigger, they create a written contract that addresses how long the Celibacy Period will last, what behaviors will be suspended, what new behaviors will be implemented and what consequences will be enforced if a boundary is crossed.  It’s not a legal document, but makes expectations crystal clear for both spouses.  

The initial celibacy contract typically lasts 90 days and can be extended as long as needed to maximize learning, growth and healing.  It it typically terminated only upon strategic planning between both spouses and the trained professional.  The goal is not to avoid sex, but to remove a masking agent in order to reveal underlying relationship deficiencies.  Once visible, they can finally be be addressed. 

Because sex is often used as a maladaptive coping mechanism for both parties in different ways, it’s especially helpful to have regular sessions with a specialist in addiction, trauma and complex systems dynamics to facilitate deeper self-awareness while also managing the withdrawal symptoms and implementing healthier coping skills.

When couples no longer have this outlet to soothe, numb or distract from their internal and inter-personal issues, the intensity of their underlying issues can at times be overwhelming.  Thus the importance of pre-planning and guidance/care from a trained professional.  Much like how a cocaine addict goes through painful withdraw symptoms, men and women who have come to rely on sex as a tool for purposes other than what God intended experience similar painful withdraw symptoms when all forms of sexuality are removed for a season.  No wonder some use the term "detox!" 

Read more about how one couple came to this astonishing revelation as a result of a Celibacy Period early in their recovery journey.




If you want a comprehensive guide on how to implement a Celibacy Period as part of your own healing from addiction, affairs and betrayal, then consider enrolling in our premier course, where we go into more detail, provide sample contracts and additional resources for couples to jump-start their healing journey.  Learn more here.




Part 2 - Celibacy Period: Why?
Part 3 - Celibacy Period: Benefits
Part 4 - Results for Him
Part 5 - Results for Her




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