Your Call: Is It Fine for a Grown, Non-Religious Man to Be Celibate?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Dear Em & Lo,

Is this weird?: Intelligent, sarcastic, and attractive early 40’s male who will find any manner to exit a situation that may lead to intimacy. He’s been celibate for a year or so (work is his love) and basically thinks sex is unnecessary and far too overrated anyway. Although he’s very interested in getting attention (he is a pretty darn fascinating guy actually) and making sure dates enjoy his company, he has just made a point to avoid all the baggage and nonsense and time consumption that comes with sex.  Is this more common than people think?  Or is it abnormal?  And ultimately, does it really matter, as he’s definitely not a player nor a user so nobody gets hurt anyway…? Or is this all wrong?

— What Gives?

What should WG do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.





  1. Raphie, you’re right, this would be a pretty easy question for us to answer ourselves — like Nikki, we think people spend way too much time thinking about what is “normal,” sexually, and that it causes unnecessary stress.

    But we’ve found that it’s often more powerful for readers/advice seekers to see multiple people answering their question, rather than just the two of us — especially when it comes to so-called “normal behavior.” So thanks for chiming in!

  2. It would seem very strange that E&L would not answer this themselves, except for their own curiosity as to how readers may respond. If a person is free to make their own sexual choices, then why are we judging someone who chooses not to engage in sex. Just as we should not be “slut-shaming” someone, we should also not be judging someone who chooses not to be sexually active. Rather than ask this question of the advice columnists (and their readers), maybe you should ask it to the attractive male who enjoys attention.

  3. Oh, the incessant obsession with “normal.” You’re weird if you like sex too much, or if your sex is kinky, and you’re also weird if you’re not having sex at all. Our culture has so much baggage about sex we should all be pushing around luggage carts.

    Sometimes people just decide to be celibate for a while. I have done it a few times in my adult life. Reasons vary – it sounds like this guy wants to focus on work. Maybe he doesn’t do casual sex, but also doesn’t want to get into a serious relationship right now. Maybe he’s asexual. Many asexuals do want romantic relationships, just not sex, so they date.

    The burning question is, why do you care so much? Are you one of his dates, wondering what gives? Or are you actually the “intelligent, sarcastic, and attractive early 40s male” yourself? Because unless you are either the former or the latter, this man’s sexual choices aren’t any of your business.

    If you’re the former, you should just ask him and he should be more forthcoming. If you’re the latter – not wanting to have sex doesn’t make a person abnormal, but avoiding intimacy of any kind suggests some issues you need to work through.

  4. Weird? Yes. Wrong? No.

    I want to say, “well, as long as he’s happy that way…” but I have a hard time believing that he is.
    If he’s going on dates and flirting and being charming with the ladies, he’s not really avoiding situations that could lead to intimacy, is he? He’s just bailing out early. Happily celibate people – if they really exist – don’t bother going on dates, I would imagine.

    As for not being a “user,” I dunno… kind of seems like he’s leading women on by dating them and making sure they enjoy themselves. Those women probably wonder what the hell happened when he drops off after taking them on an enjoyable date. He’s using them for attention and validation, at the very least. From a guy’s point of view it would be better if he were a player – at least he’d be following through.

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