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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: Voluntary celibacy

An argument for rational abstinence

Published: October 3, 2008
Section: Opinions

I am not such a fan of sex.

I always like to have an exciting way to start my articles and given the subject of the piece, this affirmation is appropriate. The college culture is one of random hook ups, thoughtless intercourse, and other sexual activity.

Very few students look past the pressure of their peers and society at large to see that this lifestyle is nonsensical and irrational.

In this article, I will not focus on the moral reasons for celibacy, but shall try to illuminate a more rational side to the practice. I will attempt to make people aware of the benefits of voluntary celibacy and try to break the societal pressure that forces people our age to seek pleasures of the flesh.

The Hoot has had some great sex columnists in the past and still boasts some fantastic writers on the subject. I never thought I’d be bringing “One Tall Voice” into this realm, but would like to illuminate this more rational side to the “hook up” phenomenon.

Let’s be honest here; how many times have you gone to parties and tried to hook up with someone and were met with failure? For most of us, this is the vast majority of attempts.

I remember being a freshman wanting to seek the quintessential college experience. And yes, I too went to great lengths in order to pursue sexual activity. To be perfectly honest, EVERY one of my efforts was met with failure.

After about a few months of this, I finally threw up my hands. Was it really worth the investment of time and energy to pursue something that wouldn’t provide enough countervailing enjoyment to make up for the waste? Was it truly in my best long-term interest to be attempting to hook-up with random people when I could be studying or engaged in other activities that would permanently affect my life?

After taking Professor Coiner’s Intro to Economics class, I feel comfortable talking about this phenomenon in economic terms. Hooking up is a perfect case of market failure. Due to imperfect information, or high costs, people often fail at hooking up for various reasons.

In addition, viewing the entire process as a cost-benefit analysis also makes evident problems in the hook-up culture. On the cost side is spent time and energy, possibilities of venereal diseases, and of course the awkwardness that arises after the act has been committed.

And truly what is to gain? Moments of pleasure, fleeting feelings of enjoyment?

For me, the market failure is sickening; for me, the cost-benefit analysis turns up negative. I have therefore chosen to take myself off the market and my life has been made somewhat better because of it.

I taught a few time-management seminars last year and the first thing I said to my listeners was that I have forfeited “women, poetry, and television” to maintain the life that I live.

Take it from me, you can do wondrous things if you don’t focus on sexual pleasures. You are better able to focus your efforts and have more time than you can possibly imagine.

Look at me. I have a great GPA and am currently getting my Master’s degree. I have been involved in 23 organizations, earned 10 officer-ships, and won more awards than I can think of offhand.

And this was ALL made possible by my decision to become voluntarily celibate. This achievement is so much more long lasting and perpetual than sexual activity.

I have had a plethora of different experiences and two years ago I even attended 25 intercollegiate competitions at 15 different universities. I have also built a sense of accomplishment that can easily be transferred to a resume or a graduate school application.

This is truly what people should be doing with their college experience.

Experimentation does not just lend itself to the sexual realm, but to the academic and co-curricular arenas as well. So much can be accomplished if you forgo the pursuit of sex. Trust me, a whole new world awaits.

This is not to say that I would never have sex in college. If the cost was minimized due to availability, or if the calculus down the line showed up in the positive, I would assuredly consider sexual activity.

But since women aren’t throwing themselves at me, I suppose this hypothetical stance has very low chance of being realized.

I guess what I am trying to say in this article is don’t feel pressured to have sex for the sake of having sex. Deeply analyze the costs and the benefits of the activity and then rationally decide the best course of action.

I once saw a shirt that said “time+money=women” and I thought that this was an extremely misogynous statement. Nevertheless, it somewhat captures what I am trying to say. Don’t pursue sexual intercourse, if the cost exceeds the benefits.

So this is my brief foray into this realm and I hope I never have to make it again. Make rational choices and trust me, you have a world to gain.