Sexy Excerpt: ‘In Defense of Celibacy’ by Queerie Bradshaw

Published: JUNE 3, 2015 | Updated: FEBRUARY 23, 2021
In this article from "The Best Sex Writing of the Year," @LaurenMF discusses her decision to abstain from sex.

This excerpt is from "Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1." This excerpt, entitled 'In Defense of Celibacy, is written by Queerie Bradshaw. It is reprinted with permission of Cleis Press.


Celibacy is underrated.

This statement may sound hypocritical coming from a person who makes her living writing about the antithesis of abstinence, but my life is often controlled by sex, so I understand the importance of taking time away from it and focusing on other things.

Like learning to play bridge. Or crocheting. Or, you know, actually dealing with the fact that you watched your brother bleed out and die in front of you.


Shit like that.

There’s something to be said for taking sexual energy and aiming it somewhere else. Queen Elizabeth, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, these women put their sexual frustration to good use. I’m not looking to run a country or fight a holy war, but I bet I’d finally finish my memoir about sex if I quit spending so much time having it.

Monks and priests have been known to levitate, survive being set on fire, and heal the dying. Give up sex and all that extra energy can go into performing unbelievable feats. Just last week, instead of going on the two dates I had planned, I cleaned my whole apartment, washed every article of clothing I owned and neatly organized my extensive sex toy collection: a bona fide miracle.


Like most lesbians, I’ve dabbled in hippy, new-age, touchy-feely emotional exploration, but as much as I love a good drum circle beating out Ani DiFranco’s greatest hits, I’m more of the in a dungeon beating on a stranger type.

Or I was.

Now I don’t really know who I am and what I want. Two years ago this week, my sister and her baby came horribly close to dying during premature labor. A month later, my brother was diagnosed with cancer. A month after that, my grandmother had a stroke at my law school graduation. Ten days later, I watched her die. About once a month after that, my brother had some tumor removed from or poison put into his body. Then he had his jaw removed. Then a month later, I watched him die.


After that, all I wanted to do was get drunk, fuck, and shoot guns, so that is what I did.

Then my grandfather, Poppo, one of the most important people in my life, a man who shared my birthday and taught me to paint, died. For the last week of his life, I helped feed him morphine, sang him songs and held his hand, watching the light slowly fade from his loving eyes.

Soon, we were planning yet another funeral, the third for my family in 18 months and nothing could be said or done to make me feel better. Including sex. Instead, the thing I love to do most in the world has become a chore, yet another emotionally painful thing to endure.


The vulnerability that having sex caused in me was destroying me and I was destroying any chance of a solid, healthy relationship with someone in return.

It was time to be consciously celibate, to take sex, and the horrible insecurities it now caused in me, out of the equation.

This realization scared me. We live in a sex-dominated culture and I make my living being right there in the heart of it, experiencing every bit I can and sharing my findings. I’ve engaged in a plethora of pleasure for the sake of a good story. I go for the risqué and raunchy because it gives a good headline.


It’s hard to purposely give that up, but give it up I am, until June 6, the day my completed memoir is due.

I’m still going to attend all the porn conventions, sex worker get-togethers, BDSM play parties, dominatrix gang bangs and tantric workshops I have planned between now and June 6, I’m just not going to be quite as participatory.

I almost didn’t say anything to anyone, but then Jenn, an amazing radical, fat, femme blogger colleague of mine reminded me that, "Intentionally not engaging in partnered sex is political and complicated and worth talking about."

So here I am, a kinky queer sex writer, making a statement by not having sex.

You can read 'In Defense of Celibacy' and other sexy stories by purchasing 'Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1.' Buy it here.

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Kinkly Staff

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