My Entry Into Spinsterhood


I never wanted to get married, nor did I ever want to have sex. I didn’t think highly of flirting or dating and had less than zero patience with my female classmates as we entered puberty. I developed sexual feelings over time, but I never was particularly active on the romantic front. In fact, I have been single since…always, really. 

Back in my queer teen years, I thought myself asexual. And I still believe that a minority of people truly are asexual, but most of the people today that claim asexuality are just looking for special snowflake status. There are, apparently, even people who identify as asexual while having numerous consensual sexual encounters, which to me is no different than a “lesbian” having consensual sex with men. 

No, I proudly identify as celibate and I have for a long time. I have been mocked repeatedly for it by funfems and mostly male progressives. And still, I stand my ground, and not because of radical feminism. I didn’t find radical, socialist, libertarian, anarchist, etc. feminism until fairly recently. My celibacy goes back farther than that.

Indeed, I cut my teeth on celibate life and a life without childbearing in a very different place…the Catholic Church, no less. 

In Catholicism, celibacy and virginity are considered rare supernatural graces, holy, and highly prized. This is partly why clergy and religious are required to take vows of chastity. Even in marriage, celibacy is prized. Theology of the Body talks at great length about how celibacy benefits married couples. There is a rite in the Catholic Church called the Josephite Marriage, or “extraordinary form,” where married couples are voluntarily celibate, in imitation of the marriage between Joseph and the Virgin Mary. There are a number of roles, both religious and secular, in which celibacy and childlessness are recommended if not required and unmarried childless women are not considered anomalous in Catholic tradition. Obviously childbearing is prized in Catholicism, if you are married in what is called the “ordinary form,” hence the prohibitions on birth control and abortion. However, the Church also prizes adoption as Christians are adopted sons and daughters of God. The Church has, if grudgingly, acknowledged that unrestrained childbearing isn’t always good for women, children, or families. Lastly, reproducing through artificial means is strictly forbidden, so in certain respects, even Catholics aren’t as fixated on childbearing as mainstream culture is.

In fact, according to the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema — CANON X, Doctrine on Matrimony.” 

Furthermore, it is not necessary for a marriage to be sexually consummated in order to be valid and binding:

“The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” If consent is lacking there is no marriage — CCC 1626.”

There you have it…my divine reasoning, as well as my personal and political reasoning, as to why I value celibacy so highly. And let’s face it, it’s the only method of pregnancy and disease prevention that is 100% effective. 

In Catholic communities, there is definitely plenty of butting in as to why a pretty girl/handsome young man is still single. But there is also a sense of awe and sometimes even jealousy at those who are celibate. “I could never do that,” they say. “It must be so nice to be so close to God, He’s all you have!” (Which sounds condescending but you know it’s not meant that way.) Celibacy in any case is viewed as the harder choice and singles are not stereotyped as hedonists to the extent that they are in other religious groups. 

Being celibate didn’t make me an outsider in Catholic circles, but it did in libfem and progressive circles, but not because of a lack of unmarried and/or childless people. In my post “Euphemisms as Anti-Language” I discussed the difference between having an environment adapted to, as opposed to designed for, you, and that’s how I felt being a celibate person in lib fem space. Very little meaningful discussion about celibacy or childlessness happens beyond choosy choice, how I can choose to be a senior mom or teen mom, single mom or married mom, working mom or stay at home mom, mom jeans wearing mom or sequinned leggings mom. Or no mom! Being not mom is okay too! Virtually nothing meaningful about how much choice really factors in, or the political implications of each choice. I want to talk about politics, about social pressure, about adoption and fostering, nontraditional family structures, etc. But despite constant protestations to the contrary, their bias in favor of their married, bio mother readership is obvious. And it’s a topic I’m not allowed to discuss because I am shaming and judging married mothers in doing so. In fact, the only time it seems to be remotely acceptable to celebrate celibacy or critically examine our romantic and sexual culture is to claim you are oppressed as an asexual. Claiming a sexual orientation with no sex is a way to cash in on libfems’ reverence for sex and sexual minorities without having to be overtly sexual. Another reason I hate modern use of the term ‘asexual.’

Of course, being Catholic is about as acceptable in libfem circles as being a prostitute is in Pentecostal circles. And it’s also totally okay to tar “sex negative” people with accusations of prudery. I can’t question that either. 

When I finally hit peak trans  I found radical, lesbian, and separatist feminism…and I found my niche.

And the rest is history.


Advertisements

12 comments

  1. grumpyoldnurse · September 2, 2016

    And, that’s part of what bugged me about sparkly funfems. They allow you all the choice you want, as long as you choose to please a man or men in general.

    I was into radical politic before I became a feminist. Lots and lots of predatory asshats on the radical left, and they are every bit as misogynistic as the frat bros.

    • joannadeadwinter · September 3, 2016

      Thanks, you get it. I’m not about to pretend that the Catholic Church is all rainbows and unicorns but I will say this: when they happen to be pro-woman, they do it right…amd when they’re being anti-woman, they’re obvious.

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 3, 2016

        I’m not Catholic, so I’m not even going to touch the Church’s views on ANYTHING!! 🙂

        I just think that this is a basic human right. Yes, we have a right to have sex with anyone who consents to have sex with us (and, I mean real consent), but we also have the right to have sex with no one. Oops, except women aren’t human. I keep forgetting that.

      • joannadeadwinter · September 3, 2016

        That’s cool! I bring up the Church because the Church, and conservative organizations in general, are sometimes right about things the left has ass backwards, like that biological sex exist and that women’s space matters. Also, when conservatives are being anti-feminists, they don’t usually try to hide it too much. With liberals, they put up a massive smoke screen of tolerance and acceptance and use anti-establishment language to manipulate. I hate it.

        Everything you have said so far is 100% on. It reminds me of a post on Purple Sage on demisexuality, how our culture is so pornified that we have to invent sexual orientations to justify not having sex. Well, fuck that noise, I’m not buying it.

      • dépaysement · September 3, 2016

        Purplesage’s post was great. It’s horrifying that normal human behaviour – wanting to know and care about someone before sex – is now reduced to some sort of failing in some quarters. Or worse, pathologised. That young women in particular are driven to this, whether because they believe it or it’s a desperate attempt to have their NO respected, it appalling.

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 4, 2016

        I know, right? Males, for the most part, especially the young ones, have always been jerks about doing whatever it takes to ‘score’, but when other women start to pressure women to ‘just go for it’, things have gotten severely twisted. If we can’t say no, then our yes means nothing, and I would expect feminists to realise this.

      • dépaysement · September 4, 2016

        The meaningless yes, that’s the word.

        “Just go for it” sort of assumes there’s someone with whom you want to. How many women want sex with a stranger really, much less one they’re not attracted to? I don’t doubt many men will use women as fuckholes even if they’re not all that attracted, but there’s a huge difference when it comes to letting someone inside your body with all the risk that entails (not to mention the unlikelihood of it being a satisfying sexual experience).

  2. dépaysement · September 3, 2016

    Great post. I’m celibate in any earthly sense, not from lack of interest in sex or a relationship but because the one, (1) person I love doesn’t happen to be on this earth. I’ve had the odd random do the “but don’t you want baybeeees” guff when I was younger (yay menopause) and even once from a Spiritualist who seemed to freak out that I wasn’t the property of some man, any man. It’s creepy enough in general, but it’s a betrayal when it comes from people who one would think would have one’s back, whether (so-called) feminists or any other identifiable group.

    • purplesagefem · September 3, 2016

      I thought you had a husband?

      • dépaysement · September 3, 2016

        You’re reading my blog – you know Mr D is in Spirit? 🙂

      • purplesagefem · September 3, 2016

        I thought you had an Earthly husband too, until this morning!

      • dépaysement · September 3, 2016

        Nope, Mr D is my one and only, has been since I was 17!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s