The writing Involuntary Celibacy focuses on the study of males and females of different ages and different relationship status and how they have become, or what has led to their involuntary celibacy. In the study, it clearly defines involuntary celibates as those who desire to have sex, but has been unable to find a willing partner for at least 6 months prior to being surveyed. Since there is a general lack of study and knowledge about nominstitutionalized involuntary celibates, the writing focuses on describing the transitions and trajectories by which one becomes involuntary celibate and maintains that status over time. Transitions being brief evens that mark a chronological movement from one state to another. Trajectories are the long-term processes and broader patterns of events in an individual’s experience in specific life spheres over time.
Involuntary celibates may be married or partnered persons whose partners no longer desire to have sex with them, unpartnered singles who have never had sex, or unpartnered singles who have had sexual relationships in the past, but are unable to currently find partners. Involuntary celibates also include heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals and transsexuals. Some of the main questions that the study had focused on asking were as follows: 1. What social factors inhibit initial transitions to sexual activity for involuntary celibates? 2. At what point do the sexual trajectories of involuntary celibates become off time?
3. What is the process by which involuntary celibates become off time in regards to sexuality? 4. What factors keep involuntary celibates off time and inhibit the establishment and maintenance of sexual relationships? Partaking in the study involved eighty two (sixty men and twenty two women) participants, sixty-three percent were aged 34 or younger, twenty-eight percent were married or living with a long-term partner. Only 5% had not completed high school, and 89% had attended college or completed college. Professionals and students were the two largest occupational groups in the study. Eighty-five percent of the sample were white. Eighty-nine percent of the participants were heterosexual, five percent bisexual, three percent homosexual and four percent identified as confused or unsure. The respondents fell into three categories: 34 virginal celibates, 25 single celibates and 23 partnered celibates. Virginal celibates were not currently partnered and had never had sexual experience. Single celibates were not currently partnered but had had past sexual experience.
Considering the results of the study, it brought to light two major findings. The first being that, regardless of celibacy status, respondents overwhelmingly perceived their lack of sexual activity in a negative light. In all likelihood, the relationship between involuntary celibacy and unhappiness, anger, and depression is a reciprocal one. Involuntary celibacy can contribute to negative feelings, but these negative feelings probably also cause persons to feel less self-confident and to be less open to sexual opportunities when they occur. It was found that as the longer the duration of the celibacy, the more likely the respondents were to view it as permanent way of life.
The second finding being that the trajectories of each category life events was usually dependent on their current status. For example, for virgins, the issue of timing was more evident because they have no achieved sexual intimacy with a partner. The duration of virginity has gone longer for them than for many of their peers, and they have not followed the same sequence of dating, relationships and sexual activity.
As for singles, they have met the cultural deadline of initiation of sexuality, the timing and sequencing of dating and long term relationship formation is different from the normative trajectory. As far as partnered celibates, they have followed the normative sequence for sexuality, but have stopped having sex at an age when most of their peers are still sexually active. Partnered celibates have made a transition that generally is acceptable socially and culturally only for older persons and they expect the duration of their inactivity to be much longer than that of their peers.
The fact that the study is based around the normative trajectory for most people in our culture is almost a direct definition of the sociological theory. How society influences our behavior and how society creates a timeline that we are all supposed to follow as we grow into adults is what causes a lot of stress when it comes to maturing sexually for people who are involuntary celibate. Most of the time it is not their fault, directly. And this is useful because of the fact that it is completely sociologically driven.
I think with this study, it is useful for those who are involuntary celibate. It can bring light to them what is seen in the lives of those who are involuntary celibate, and maybe show ways to avoid becoming as such, that they know that the normal trajectory for the sexual growth of people is not the same for everyone.