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!




  1. LOUISE said,

    February 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    This celebacy thing is insteresting…. you can’t really project what you will do. I know of too many situations where it was convenient for the PCV, both male and/or female to become involved with a HCN ( host country national), and then the PCV leaves the other high and dry .

    I knew one young woman who lived in bliss with a WA fisheran, both young. Sh was in agriculture. And then her 2 years was up and he was so devastated, he killed himself.

    Just be careful, know who you are and know there are many ways to relate as relieve sexual tensionl you are not 23, so you have a widom.

  2. Vicky said,

    February 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Yes that was another reason i thought about celbacy. What about the HCN i leave behind if i gotinvolved with one. what expectations would my involvement create?

  3. LOUISE said,

    February 26, 2008 at 8:07 am

    everything is so individual. Your quesions are mindful, looking at something more deeply, less colonialistic as well as salubrious. OTOH, a woman in my group married a HCN and the marriage lasted for over 20 years with two lovely , now, young men as the result and mom and sons communicate in Krio still- their heart language!)

  4. Larry Pearlman said,

    May 6, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Hi Vicky,
    I finally got to peruse your site. AWESOME. I can’t believe how complex and complete it is. Very well done.
    As for sex, I agree with you. When I got here I was still in a relationship back home so I knew I would be celibate while here except for her visits. In Nov, 2007, she realized I was REALLY not coming home for over 2 years and she decided she could not carry on our relationship that way. I decided at the time that I would remain outside of any relationship during my 2 years anyway. Whether relationships are good or bad, they require a lot of time and energy and I did not want to commit either to that end. I certainly did not want the problems that can, and usually do, come along with sex with an HCN in my village and I was pretty sure none of the female PCV’s in my group were going to have any interest in a sexual relationship with a man older than their parents!! Having only 7 months left to my service, I can say that it hasn’t really been all that hard. I miss the affection more than I miss the sex and will be happy to have both again when the right relationship arises – most likely back in the U.S.

    So – I’m with you sister!!

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