Here's what's true. Not everyone has a partner. It doesn't matter if you are after 50 or before 50; sometimes we are without a romantic interest. And sometimes we have a partner that we don't have sex with! What can feel like celibacy just happens in all sorts of ways. We can lose a partner through illness or through breakups that range from losing our lover to losing our marriage. Sometimes -- we just never manage to find or keep a partner for long.
Unconscious celibacy is more common than you might think.
We wake up one day and realize we have stopped having sex. And what if we don't feel like dating? Perhaps Tinder or Match.com is not calling your name. It can happen in every adult life that we just need a time out from seeking someone new -- or from even having sex with the one we are with.
So how do you manage that and not feel erotically dead inside? Is that possible? Does being single or not erotically engaged with another person have to equate with being sensually shut down? What does it mean to a person who is not having sex to hear: "If you don't use it, you'll lose it."
I think we can live an "Orgasmic Life" with or without a partner -- or while we are taking a break from being traditionally sexually active.
So what exactly is that? And more importantly -- how do we get it? Does it mean that we're walking around with vibrators in our panties? Or is it more about becoming unclenched, and a bit more smudged?
I love using the world "unpinned" which to me means less controlled and more messy in our own being.There is a sexiness in simply not caring what potential love interests might think -- or worrying about having to perform erotically when we are really not feeling it. This can be a time when we rest and turn the attention on ourselves.
What is it to open up to living erotically awake lives with only ourselves? Living an orgasmic life is bigger than our genitals and can include our genitals.
Qualities of Living an Orgasmic Celibate Life:
1. Open up to the magic of being playful in all aspects of your life. If a friend invites you to Disney Land -- GO! Embrace your inner spontaneity, your desire for adventure and curiosity. When we don't have a partner we can live more "in the moment" and we can embrace our own willingness to surrender to desire.
2. Living an orgasmic life means that we can forget our masks. You no longer need to be a certain way for anybody. How does that feel, to dress for yourself completely? Think about how you are dressing everyday. Does wearing sweat pants feel sexy? Then put them on. Maybe it's day for hot shoes and tight-fitting pants -- have at it. What feels sexy to you?
3. Indulge your senses. How awake can you be to the world around you? Can you take yourself on your own food tour and nibble your way through a city? Visit a garden and take pictures of flowers and plants that feel sexy and beautiful to you? Can you offer your eyes to people and engage in a smile or small talk in the line at the coffee shop? Where are the moments that -- if we are conscious and willing -- can knit together a very sexy day? Living a life of sexual aliveness is about engaging with the world and trying new things. Perhaps it's time to learn how to tango? Get a brand new look? The truth is that you really don't have to do much except show up and be willing to embrace the erotic around us all the time.
4. Buy a cookbook for one and begin cooking extraordinary meals for yourself. Set the table. Romance yourself.
5. Being in a relationship with ourselves erotically is an opportunity for you to let your guard down. Take some time to explore what you really want in your life. There are many opportunities for both men and women to explore themselves erotically through classes, retreats and trips. Whether it is something to get you back to your body or painting in Italy, or writing in France, it exists. Want to go on a wild woman adventure? It's there. It's about being willing to explore what we want even if we are not sure exactly what we want. It's about risking and being vulnerable.
6. Finding ourselves alone in our own sexuality is an opportunity to learn how to be unapologetic in our needs and desires. Consider this a time of creation and an opportunity to take your time to create the kind of life that you really want.
7. Explore and get intimate with your body. Consider creating a self-pleasuring practice. When we find ourselves unexpectedly celibate it can be an extraordinary gift of self discovery. The places that we often do not go offer an opportunity to get erotically honest and vulnerable with ourselves. Where are your soft, wet, messy, broken-open places? That is exactly where sexy flows from. It's the space where a truly orgasmic life can be born.
Remember this: You do not have to have a partner to live an erotic life. You are not famished for a partner. You can eat from the erotic buffet at any time. You are not left and you do not need finding. Love is all around you. It's really more than fine to spend some time in our own bodies and not seeking anything other than what feels good in this moment -- and the possibilities are endless.
Pamela Madsen runs retreats around the country to help women re-connect to their bodies and sensuous nature and is author of the book; "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner" (Rodale 2011).