According to studies on women’s sexual stages, the thirties are prime time for responsiveness. I can attest to that in my own life, as my hormones got all in an uproar in my late twenties, but it has definitely been in my thirties that I have soared to new heights. Having been with my husband since I was 19, a fresh mojo in the bedroom was right on time at about 10 years into our relationship, when intimacy had begun to become somewhat routine.

A few years into this explosion, I began to learn about affairs outside of the marriage in which my husband was sexually involved, and at first, I thought that us having more sex was the solution. But, as time went on, more situations came to light, and I started feeling like I was playing myself; like I was weak for continuing to be sexual with my own mate. I felt like a doormat; a cheap floozy. I sought counseling to sort through my emotions, but could never make a clear distinction between the “right” or “wrong” thing to do.

One thing I knew for sure was that the apostle Paul made it clear in Corinthians that married couples were supposed to engage in regular sexual activities, except in mutually agreed upon times. I wrestled with Scripture as I continued to sort through my own feelings about the adulterous relationships in which my spouse continued to participate. He was perfectly content being with both me and the other women (often unprotected), yet I questioned my own loyalty for not just being able to get past it.

Eventually we separated, but still made love every few months when he came to visit, and I was okay with the arrangement knowing that we were working to get things on track. Oddly enough, our intimate sessions were more passionate than they had ever been, and I could feel myself beginning to fall in love all over again. Then, the unthinkable happened – I learned that he had engaged in a one-night stand just the night before. My mind was blown, and my heart was shattered. Ironically, it served as a wake-up call, in which I decided that even as married woman, I was going to have to commit to celibacy, at least for a period. I originally made the commitment with no timeframe in mind, just knowing that I could no longer continue to give myself to a person who had no value for what I was giving.

Fast-forward nearly three years later, and I’m still on the celibate path. My husband and I have now fully separated, and I have had to continually learn new and effective means of coping as a celibate, yet married woman. Some of the things that I have incorporated are: spending more time praying and communicating my desires to God, while also being comforted by God’s love and protection from the hurt and potential STDs to which I was exposing myself; learning Scriptures and affirmations that remind me of who I am in Christ, in order to keep before me the reason that I have chosen to abstain; reminding myself regularly that I am in a covenant with God, thereby helping me refrain from getting involved in any adulterous acts myself; having accountability partners to help me stay focused and most importantly, walking in my purpose in a way that leaves me little time to be concerned about my lack of anything, including my estranged husband, or sex.

Celibacy has allowed me to cultivate a higher sense of my sexual self. I now understand such relations in a more spiritual context, and believe that I am a stronger woman of God for what has been my struggle. In staying true to my commitment, and not giving in to fleshly desires, I am proclaiming that my relationship with Christ supercedes my need for a temporary fix. In this, I am reminded that I serve a God who can fix any situation, both permanently and perfectly, and that in completely devoting myself to God, I will be victorious, no matter the outcome.