Vow of Celibacy

I have been thinking a lot about sex and my Peace Corps service. I’d like to say that these are my thoughts about what I think I should do. I believe I should pay attention to my behavior. That the only person’s moral behaviour I should judge and evaluate is my own behaviour. I have so many things to pay attention to with myself that I do not judge other people.

It started when I read the book American Taboo. The PCVs in that book were sexually active. While reading the book I felt that this caused bad feelings among the volunteers and with the local residents. Maybe as a stranger in a culture I don’t really understand I might not want to do
something that would make it harder for me to fit in. The sexual relationships also caused shifting alliance between the PCVs, this also concerned me. I know sex will not be the only possible reason for problems between PCVs but just one.

The second time I this idea surfaced was when I was thinking about what I want to get out of my PC service.  I realized I wanted to use this time as a time of personal reflection. A time to think about the next stage of my life. i thought sex might get in the way of that. I also want to devote myself to service. Knowing myself i become very selfish and very focused on the other person when I am in a relationship. i don’t want that to get between me and the work I will do in Ghana. I know i might be thinking more about the next time I could be with THE person than my next day’s lesson plan or getting out and visiting my neighbors.

The next time this came up was when I read the section in the welcome packet about personal safety.  Heterosexual sex is the most common way PCVs get AIDS. Even with the testing the Peace Corps give you and your partner. Even with condoms being handed out. Why is that? I would  say human nature. I was married for 24 years and we often got carried away in the moment and “forgot”. To me it would be common sense to avoid that risk.

The last thing that factors into my decision is that I was celibate until I married at 22. So I know I can do it. I know I can live a full and happy life without being in a sexual relationship. I will certainly miss an intimate sexual relationship probably even more than Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia!

-vc