Celibacy and the Modern Christian Man: Interview Series



Living a celibate lifestyle in today’s society can be a little daunting. I mean, let’s face it, anyone would agree that celibacy is not necessarily the most attractive (pun intended) popular culture move. Everywhere you look, especially if you are looking at the media and entertainment markets, you are likely to run into illustrations that sex can come with or without strings. Most of the time it’s without. And least likely does it come with one set of permanent strings like it does for the Christian who is serious about their moral values. 

For a person abstaining in this kind of environment, it can be easy to feel alone. And yes, there is The Wait Book by Devon and Meagan Franklin and Ciara and Russ’s gleaming love story to slightly ease, glamorize and validate the age-old Christian pastime of celibacy for us. Not to mention Pinky Promise and a couple other organizations that seek to remind us that we are not exactly alone in the struggle. However, these stories are too far and few in between. And sadly, these icons and orgs. are largely geared towards women, drawing them in by the droves. 

Now this would be fine if women were just having sex with themselves (I know, strong language, right? But I’m making a strong point). However the last time I checked, it takes two to tango. 

Gender gaps distort societies views on sexual relationships and the church does not go untouched. If you are a single man, so many stereotypes and biases have likely been lain upon your shoulders, that the value of celibacy may not be exactly clear anymore. And if you are a single woman, you have probably at some point wondered if celibacy was at all important to men. A lot of us agree that even as Christians, finding a celibate man (that is actually dateable) might as well be like shopping for a unicorn. 


With these thoughts in mind after my last blog post I Am So Tired Of Not Having Sex, I decided to defy the system and set out on a quest to see if men really are practicing celibacy in 2018. The findings as I’m sure you can imagine are quite interesting. Let’s see what 5 Modern Christian Men (#MCM) had to say about their personal experience with celibacy. 





SHE UNO
Name: Sheun Ogunsunlade
Age: 30
City: Washington D.C.
Occupation and/or passion: Business Analyst by day, Passion- Music and ministry
Relationship status i.e. Single, Engaged, etc: In a relationship, not engaged

How long have you been successfully celibate?
SHEUN: My whole life

When and why did you make the decision to become celibate until marriage?
SHEUN: Growing up in church, I heard my whole life that waiting until marriage to have sex was the way to do things. These convictions were only strengthened through middle and high school in my youth ministry and personal relationship with God. This decision carried with me through college, and the main reason for making it was knowing God was invested and involved in my everyday life.

How do you maintain your celibacy?
SHEUN: For one, God has helped/blessed me to maintain celibacy by keeping me out of certain situations and helping me through the midst of hot and heavy situations. I also think a big portion of things was looking to be involved in romantic relationships mostly with people who shared my same pursuit of sexual purity, which allowed us to have celibacy as a joint effort.

When do you feel comfortable to tell the woman that you’re dating?
SHEUN: I feel like I want to know that a woman is on the same page with me pertaining to no sex before marriage prior to even going out with her or would want to ensure she knows my beliefs/standards asap.

What do you think are some of the benefits of waiting until marriage?
SHEUN: I think the main benefit is looking to have my actions align with my relationship and standing with God. I also feel like I wanted my life to be consistent for those who I minister to, as I have been involved in ministry with youth and peers for a long time. I want to know that my life is a solid model for what purity looks like for those I am able to walk with. I also think that it limits baggage and confusion regarding commitments prior to being married that can come once sex is involved.

What do you think are some disadvantages (if any) of waiting until marriage?
SHEUN: The constant fight with trying to fight sexual urges and maintain self-control

Do you seek or have you ever sought pleasure in other ways? I.e. Masturbation or porn
SHEUN: No I have not sought pleasure with masturbation or porn.

What if the woman you are dating does not agree with celibacy until marriage?
SHEUN: I would look to know this upfront and would not want to be in a relationship with someone not on the same page regarding this.

What are your Intimate limits when dating? I.e. Kissing, hugging etc.
SHEUN: I do not have set limits currently. I do participate in kissing and hugging, and also feel like not having sex makes these activities more of a struggle and intense. So, I have had difficulty in the past with trying to maintain healthy limits and self control. However, I still don't have set or written boundaries here but seek to continually access and make changes as necessary.

Do you think there is a double standard between men and women when it comes to waiting until marriage?
SHEUN: Yes, I do. I think it is a bit more obscure for a man to be willing to wait and it is met with more shock. However, I think both men and women who choose to do this are in a real minority nowadays.

What would you tell young boys and men out there that say:

A. I’m just a sexual person, why wait?
SHEUN: If they are a believer, I think the goal is to really ask/highlight if they believe God cares or wants to have a say in their romantic relationships. I would say it boils down to if we believe that God ultimately knows what is best and has good things planned for us or if we just want to go off of what we selfishly desire.

B. If God didn’t want me to have sex, why
did he give me the desire?
SHEUN: The desire is not bad, and we should be happy that he gave it to us. However, I also believe that the understanding that the desire comes from God and is not bad in and of itself, correlates directly to the belief that God should be the one who tells us how to express these desires. God is not blind to what we go through but is completely aware of our desires and wants us to trust Him. Of course, this doesn't mean it is going to be easy but I believe knowing God is loving and a good father, helps to put this in perspective.

C. It’s natural for me to sleep with as many
women as I can.
SHEUN: The desire to find women attractive is definitely natural, but as believers, we are called to know we don't have to act on every impulse. God wants us to see women as His creation and believers as our sisters. This level of value causes us to want to protect and empower women vs prowl on them. I believe that a sound understanding of our personal identity helps us to see how to treat women.




ANTWAN
Name: Antwan Steele
Age: 31
City: Cleveland, OH
Occupation and/or passion: Author of “Single To Single” and speaker; Director of The Mentoring Network, Passion- working with the youth and millennials
Relationship status i.e. Single, Engaged, etc: Proudly engaged to Arrione Clark


How long have you been successfully celibate?
ANTWAN: Seven years.

When and Why did you make the decision to become celibate until marriage?
ANTWAN: The decision to remain celibate until marriage came about on April 10, 2011 when I committed my life to Christ. But before I chose to practice celibacy, I was very sexual and slept with multiple women on a regular basis. Growing up in a sexualized culture and having examples who encouraged fornication shaped my mindset for a lustful lifestyle. When I learned how detrimental my actions were to me and other women, I no longer wanted to engage in sexual activity. Even more, as Christ revealed His love and truth to my life, the regenerate heart in me longed to live a life of holiness.

How do you maintain your celibacy?
ANTWAN: “Rather be wise than be strong” has always been my motto. If someone invites you over in the middle of the night, the wise thing would be to say no, but if you go, now you have to be strong by fighting back your desires. The Bible is clear about temptation, it says to flee.

When do you feel comfortable to tell the woman that you’re dating?
ANTWAN: Immediately. There should be no ambiguity between the two, nor should there be any shame about your belief.

What do you think are some of the benefits of waiting until marriage?
ANTWAN: 
•Relationship with Christ deepens
•Emotional, mental and spiritual wholeness
•At peace with this season of singleness
•Building self control against your flesh
•Choose a spouse with a clearer conscious
•Learn to love someone unconditionally
•Decrease your chances of heartbreak
•Avoidance of diseases and pregnancy
These are only a few benefits. There are many more to consider.

What do you think are some disadvantages (if any) of waiting until marriage?
ANTWAN: There aren’t any disadvantages to waiting until marriage. I don’t know anyone who waited and regretted it, but I know plenty of people who didn’t wait and live with the regret. Satisfied flesh is always sorry.

Do you seek or have you ever sought pleasure in other ways? I.e. Masturbation or porn
ANTWAN: Yes, I have given into porn and masturbation in the past, but what I’ve come to realize is that for me, it was a way I coped with the issues of my heart and far less because I was feeling lustful. If you struggle with this, reevaluate the pain in your life because in many cases sexual addictions have little to do with sex or sexual pleasures and more to do with a wounded soul.

What if the woman you are dating does not agree with celibacy until marriage?
Antwan: That’s a non-negotiable for me and we would have to disengage from each other.

What are your Intimate limits when dating? I.e. Kissing, hugging etc.
ANTWAN: To be perfectly honest, it’s been more of a struggle for my fiancé and I than it was when I was by myself. When I was alone, I wouldn’t allow women to get close enough for me to fall short. Now, because my fiancé and I are always in close proximity with each other, we have to set boundaries for ourselves like no kissing, which usually leads to touching.

Do you think there is a double standard between men and women when it comes to waiting until marriage?
ANTWAN: It depends. If it’s coming from a worldly perspective then yes I believe there are double standards. Men can sleep with whoever they want to and women are highly criticized if they do the same. But in the Kingdom, the only standard is that of Christ, which demands purity, exercised by waiting until marriage.

What would you tell young boys and men out there that say:

A. I’m just a sexual person, why wait?
ANTWAN: Generally speaking, we’re all sexual people and want to have sex, but being a sexual person doesn’t justify sin. Waiting breeds so many benefits like the ones mentioned in the question above. Also, to wait until marriage is to be a leader in a society that says otherwise. If more people led by example and unashamedly waited until marriage, we would have more united families and less babies out of wedlock. More people who are emotionally healthy and less people dealing with heartbreaks. More people closer to God and less people spiritually broken.

B. If God didn’t want me to have sex, why did he give me the desire?
ANTWAN: God created sex for a husband and wife to enjoy in the context of a marriage. The desire to have sex isn’t wrong, but what you do with that desire is what determines if you’re being obedient or disobedient. Sex was never intended to be a bad thing. The enemy uses temptations to influence is to rebel against God’s command of purity until there is a love keeping covenant established. So if you’re desiring to have sex, understand that you’re only expressing a human want, but lean on the Holy Spirit for self control.

C. It’s natural for me to sleep with as many women as I can.
ANTWAN: It’s only natural to think that way because sin is natural. You have to keep in mind that we’re inherently sinful people who want to engage in whatever it is that our wicked hearts desire. If sin didn’t feel good, no one would do it. Wanting to sleep with as many women as possible is bondage, covered in lies. Don’t fall into the trap. One day you may get married and you’ll hate that you gave yourself to so many women.



TUDOR
Name: Tudor Robb Williams
Age: 28
City: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation and/or passion: Singer-songwriter, video content creator
Relationship status i.e. Single, Engaged, etc: Single

How long have you been successfully celibate?
TUDOR: Well, I was successfully celibate until i was 22. Then I was unsuccessful until I turned 27. I am now successfully celibate once again.

When and why did you make the decision to become celibate until marriage?
TUDOR: I recommitted to celibacy after a period of infidelity because I recognized that sex is costly and unfulfilling outside of marriage. It distorts perception, increases attachment, and causes more pain.

How do you maintain your celibacy?
TUDOR: I maintain my celibacy now by not allowing myself to be in compromising situation. So NO “overnight” visits etc.

When do you feel comfortable to tell the woman that you’re dating?
TUDOR: Well, it’s dependent on the woman. It’s much easier to tell a woman who has also lost her virginity that you are not a virgin. It’s much harder with a woman who has kept her celibacy. But the topic and the truth usually comes out in the first month or two.

What do you think are some of the benefits of waiting until marriage?
TUDOR: A lot less heartache because you have better judgement in relationships. A lot less anxiety about unwanted pregnancies. A stronger bond with your spouse for having not shared that part of yourself with anyone else.

What do you think are some disadvantages (if any) of waiting until marriage?
TUDOR: It ostracizes you from the popular culture. People will mock you for it. These are less disadvantages and more like burdens that come along with righteousness (i.e. following Jesus).

Do you seek or have you ever sought pleasure in other ways? I.e. Masturbation or porn
TUDOR: I was introduced to porn when I was 12 or 13 as well as masturbation and have had a on again, off again relationship with it. It has only been in the last year with the help of an accountability team and a 12 step program that I have seen any continuous sobriety.

What if the woman you are dating does not agree with celibacy until marriage?
TUDOR: Then I would need to exit the relationship because given my past it would be very easy to be seduced.

What are your Intimate limits when dating? I.e. Kissing, hugging etc.
TUDOR: I have become more conservative, basically for me, if their Dad walked in while you were being intimate and you wouldn’t be embarrassed you’re on the right track. So this allows for kissing, but nothing beyond that. No oral sex. No petting. Nothing that revs the engine. Why start down a path you can’t finish. It’s just frustrating.

Do you think there is a double standard between men and women when it comes to
waiting until marriage?
TUDOR: Nobody escapes the consequences of their actions. But I would say that men are often less condemned in the “church” when it comes to sexual sin. This of course is a by product of religious thinking - which puts sin along a hierarchy - even though scripture is quite clear - all have fallen short.

What would you tell young boys and men out there that say:

A. I’m just a sexual person, why wait?
TUDOR: Every one is a sexual person. It’s our design. But, pre-marital sex is about passion and lust without the adjoining responsibility that marriage creates. Scripture is clear on that. Wait for your own peace of mind - you will have ensured that your life will not get dramatically changed by an STD or an unwanted pregnancy, or a distracting relationship that you’re only remaining in because of the sexual connection.

B. If God didn’t want me to have sex, why did he give me the desire?
TUDOR: He gave you desire but he ALSO gave you a spirit of self-discipline. If desire rules with reckless abandon then pleasure is God. You cannot be a hedonist and a family man. Disciplining your sexual drive is a remarkable advantage for it will allow you to maintain discipline in other areas of your life with greater ease. Furthermore, you will be preparing your heart and eyes for your wife.

C. It’s natural for me to sleep with as many women as I can.
TUDOR: Of course It’s natural. But, what is natural is not the justification for what is right. It’s natural to retaliate when attacked. It’s natural to look out for your own well being before others. It’s natural to be promiscuous.




JOSEPH
Name: Joseph Daye
Age: 25
City: Herndon, VA
Occupation and/or passion:  Employed at Lowes receiving/warehouse, Passion-  creating music
Relationship status i.e. Single, Engaged, etc: Single :)

How long have you been successfully celibate?  
JOSEPH: 7 long years.

When and Why did you make the decision to become celibate until marriage?   
JOSEPH: April of 2011 is when I had a huge encounter with God and my heart was drastically changed!

How do you maintain your celibacy?  
JOSEPH: Honestly, living this way has become second nature for the most part, but I definitely try to  watch what I look at on tv, staying away from fast women and most importantly for me at least is praying/practicing self control.

When do you feel comfortable to tell the woman that you’re dating?  
JOSEPH: I'd inform her right off jump so I know we're clear before our feelings get too deep. Also, to eliminate the expectation of sex to avoid disappointment.

What do you think are some of the benefits of waiting until marriage?   
JOSEPH: Endless, to name a few,  I don't have to worry about catching any sexual diseases, getting a woman pregnant before i'm ready and avoiding much heartache and pain.

What do you think are some disadvantages (if any) of waiting until marriage?  
JOSEPH: There aren't any in my opinion. It's all about perspective. It just gets difficult from time to time.

Do you seek or have you ever sought pleasure in other ways? I.e. Masturbation or porn   
JOSEPH: In my past, but on porn I mainly watched it out of curiosity.  It was never a habit/pleasure for me.

What if the woman you are dating does not agree with celibacy until marriage?  
JOSEPH: Oh well, I guess it's over lol.

What are your Intimate limits when dating? I.e. Kissing, hugging etc.   
JOSEPH: It just depends on the maturity in the relationship. I love kissing so I'm probably not going to be doing that, especially alone.

Do you think there is a double standard between men and women when it comes to waiting until marriage?    
JOSEPH: Absolutely, Women are expected to maintain purity but men are not.

What would you tell young boys and men out there that say:

A. I’m just a sexual person, why wait?    
JOSEPH: For one, you don't want to have children before you're ready and that will effect your future. Most importantly, sex is extremely sacred and a powerful force. You literally become one with your partner so what would be the beauty and pleasure of sleeping around?   

B. If God didn’t want me to have sex, why did he give me the desire?
JOSEPH: God does want you to enjoy sex which is why He gave us the desire to but just like a lot of things in life there are boundaries and rules to establish order and safety.

C. It’s natural for me to sleep with as many women as I can.
JOSEPH: It's not natural at all. I feel like society has made that a "natural" wave.




AARON


Name: Aaron Wilson
Age: 35
City: Lanham, MD
Occupation and/or passion: Managing a group of control technicians, Passion - helping people know that they are loved by GOD and by people.
Relationship status? Single, Engaged, etc: Single


How long have you been successfully celibate?
AARON: 35 years


When and Why did you make the decision to become celibate until marriage?
AARON: I first made the decision when I was about 8 years old.  I have to continue to make that decision because on any day I can choose to give in.  I originally made the decision not to have sex before marriage, as well as other decisions around that same time, because I wanted to avoid some of the negative outcomes that I saw happen to people that I knew.  I remember telling GOD that I wouldn’t do those things.


How do you maintain your celibacy?
AARON: There have been a variety of ways, some healthy and some not.  I felt like the girls that I liked weren’t paying any kind of attention to me.  That covered me all the way through high school. Lol. I admit that I was a little naive.  Even if they did like me, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. After high school things got a lot more challenging.  


I started doing things that attracted women, at least a few that were on my campus.  I even put myself in some compromising situations with women, but GOD not only always made a way out but pushed me out.  After college, I surrounded myself with believing peers and served in ministries. So I had accountability. The main reason why I never chose to have sex was because GOD has literally done miracles to preserve me and I would be a fool to get in the way of whatever He is preserving for.  It ain’t worth it.


When do you feel comfortable to tell the woman that you’re dating?
AARON: I feel comfortable telling a woman about my celebacy when we start conversing about what GOD has brought us through.  That could be as early as day one or much later.

What do you think are some of the benefits of waiting until marriage?
AARON: Much better decision making when choosing someone to pursue a relationship with, peace of mind, knowing that you are exercising self control, making yourself more available for much better relational opportunities, not being a slave to your sexual appetite, being able to not feel hypocritical (pertaining to sex) in leadership positions, being an example to others that one can be successfully celibate even with temptation, knowing that my self-control and obedience is glorifying GOD- I can keep going.

What do you think are some disadvantages (if any) of waiting until marriage?
AARON: None, when it comes to your walk with Christ. However, people make assumptions that you are either lying or that your motives are self-glorifying/selfish.


Do you seek or have you ever sought pleasure in other ways? I.e. Masturbation or porn
AARON: I did.  I only struggled with masterbation within the duration of a few months of my life and that was in my 30’s.  However, for many years I did get pleasure from getting myself in situations where I could have sex if I wanted to.  I think that was a control issue.


What if the woman you are dating does not agree with celibacy until marriage?
AARON: Then I don’t see a solution but to not be together.  If she is open to the idea then I can work with her, but I would prefer to be with a woman who has the same conviction, not necessarily the same level of success.


What are your Intimate limits when dating? I.e. Kissing, hugging etc.
AARON: It depends.  Admittedly, sometimes my limitations are implemented reactively after going further than I felt comfortable.  I think it is wisest to delay any type of physical gratification until marriage or at least a strong level of commitment.  However, I think that it is healthy to show physical affection in non-sexual ways.


Do you think there is a double standard between men and women when it comes to waiting until marriage?
AARON: I think that it is expected that men will fall sexually so for them to engage with several sexual partners is looked at as being normal, which is a disservice to men.  Men need to be challenged, not excused.


What would you tell young boys and men out there that say:

A. I’m just a sexual person, why wait?
AARON: That is how GOD created us.  We all are sexual people. But you probably don’t even realize that you are a slave to your own penis because it is socially acceptable for men to be.  We are known as dogs, players, dead-beat-dads, etc. But these labels are so common that they aren’t even looked at as a bad thing anymore, at least by other men.  GOD created sex and it is to be used to create oneness in a marriage and to have children. Anything outside of that displeases GOD and is a detrimental distraction to you doing what GOD has purposed you to do while on Earth.

B. If God didn’t want me to have sex, why
did he give me the desire?
AARON: The Bible says that it is better to marry than to burn with passion.  If the desire is that strong, then try to find someone worth marrying first, then have sex after you get married.  I can almost promise you that if you pursue someone because you enjoy the sex that you’ll be choosing the wrong person to spend your time with.
C. It’s natural for me to sleep with as many
women as I can.
AARON: Do you have a relationship with GOD?  Do you desire to please GOD? How are you pleasing Him when you go against what He tells us to do in His Word?




Canden's Final Thoughts:

In the modern age, it is important that we see men not only live lives of integrity, but model it even more so than women as leaders called into that sacred position by God. Furthermore, It is Satan’s job toconvince us that no one is living a life submitted to God and that we are alone. But the truth is God’s people are never alone (Deut. 31:6)! There are an abundance of us not playing around with our Father’s business. Now there are times when we will get weary in well-doing and may start to doubt what God has said because everyone else’s voice is so loud. But when people come to give you the bad news that you are terribly outnumbered, just remember the good news: that heaven has a wonderful way of balancing out the universe.

I hope you were insanely encouraged by these interviews as am I. I loved doing this article because it shatters the stereotype that (1) men aren't celibate and (2) that celibacy looks a certain way! God can use, change, be present in anyone (1 Sam. 16:7)! You don't have to be corny or undesirable or uncool- the only requirement is that you are you!

If you are a Modern Christian Man wanting to dive deeper into community with other men of faith- feel free to start here- we started an IG account just for YOU! Follow @ModernChristianMan
You are the leaders- the ones in between us and God (Eph. 5:23) and we salute your testimonies!

Want to hear more from our #MCM? Click here to hear a LIVE INTERVIEW with @She_Uno
We will be dropping one or two every Monday for the next few weeks!

*Special thanks to my Sissy, Kristin Webb who helped curate the questions for our #MCM participants.