Interview in the Chronicle
- Celibacy vs. chastity. I generally dislike calling myself celibate, since that implies the vow of lifelong abstention from sex taken by Catholic priests (though not by Anglicans, as one friend hastened to inform me). To be celibate technically can refer merely to the state of being unmarried or refraining from sexual relations — both of which are accurate in my case — but I prefer the broader and more specific term chaste, defined as “refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion.”
- Literary agents. While I was indeed brushed off by the first one I spoke with, I was signed a couple months later by the marvelous Jane Dystel. Having wondered at first if it was worth trying to get an agent (when there was already some publisher interest in the book), I cannot stress enough how worthwhile it’s been to have Jane as my champion and adviser. As much as it can somewhat lengthen the process of selling a book, getting that expertise and representation is invaluable. You don’t know how much you don’t know until you have an agent.
As I’ve reckoned with these questions, I’ve realized that if who I am is fundamentally and principally a sexual being, then yes, I do risk living an unfulfilled life if I wind up dying a virgin. But if I who am is more than just a sexual being, my life’s fulfillment doesn’t depend on how many lovers or great sexual experiences I have (and no, I’m not naive enough to think they’ll all be fantastic).
While I do hope to someday marry — and certainly sooner rather later — I like to think the lesson I’m learning through this prolonged abstinence will actually give me a healthier, better sex life down the road. A few years ago, sex would have been the earth, moon and sky and probably several planets for me, and therefore a major letdown at some point. With this new perspective, however, I’m free to enjoy it just as what it is: a uniquely unitive, procreative way of sharing my whole self with someone — a good thing, but not an ultimate one.