Celibacy is a term applied to certain cultural positions, however, it is generically spoken of as celibacy when a person is single for spiritual reasons. To understand the functions of celibacy, it is practically mandatory to see it from the perspective of religion, since it is essential that, in some of these, the members and representatives do not have any type of love relationship. Those who decide to be celibate, as is the case with nuns and priests, do so as a sign of dedication and devotion to their religious beliefs.

what is celibacy

It is currently known as a lifestyle by voluntary decision and associated with religion and culture. It leads to maintaining a single life and excludes any type of sexual practice, which according to studies could have negative repercussions both psychologically and biologically. The vow of celibacy for religious reasons is basically taken as a demonstration of devotion and total dedication to beliefs depending on the culture.

Outside of religion and its establishments, there are people who are called asexuals, these types of humans are people who simply do not like sex, so they involuntarily fall into singleness in a personal way, like this Likewise, people with mental problems who have some kind of sex phobia practice sex as a protective measure.

Celibate is the term used to refer to a person who for different reasons has not married, that is, remains single, one of the main reasons that drives this type of lifestyle is religion, as is the case of priestly celibacy or celibacy of women who are nuns.

According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, celibate is “said of a person: who has not taken a state of marriage.”

History of celibacy in religions

Over time, some religions have adopted the vow of celibacy as a strict requirement to be part of the high clergy in the case of Christian churches or simply to be part of an authority in churches of various beliefs. Due to this, in the following section some of the most historically relevant examples will be explained.


During the beginning of Christianity and in the 3rd and 4th centuries, ideas began that priestly celibacy should be mandatory in the Catholic Church, but it was not until the 10th century when this lifestyle was instituted among priests through the Lateran.

It is rumored that in principle the reason for this decision was to avoid the direct inheritance of assets, property and wealth owned by the church. At present, the church assumes it as an indispensable requirement that serves as a sign of faith and total devotion to God, even when there is no reference to celibacy in the Bible, neither in the old nor in the new testament.


Celibacy - Buddhist Monks

In relation to Buddhism, one of the demands from the years 560 – 480 BC is that both nuns and monks take and keep vows of chastity and therefore the person must remain celibate.

This is basically because, according to history and beliefs, the Buddha renounced all earthly carnal pleasures in order to obtain full spiritual enlightenment, which is why it is considered a good and necessary lifestyle.


In religions such as Judaism, they consider that reproduction is a necessity and an obligation to maintain the species, therefore, they see celibacy as impossible.

In fact, they are based, among other things, on the belief that Sara (female character in one of her passages) indicates that, unable to have children to fulfill God’s mandate, she offers her personal slave to maintain relations with her husband. husband and thus be able to reproduce. This implies that for them to procreate and reproduce is a biblical duty and obligation.


Celibacy - Hindu Family Reunion

In the case of Hinduism, the so-called yogis who generally live in India remain celibate and do not have sex because they consider that doing so and reaching orgasm results in a great loss of energy that prevents them from reaching the level of spirituality they need.

This is part of their practice that tries to put aside all the material and carnal that exists because it prevents them from growing spiritually, transcending and reaching enlightenment.

In fact, their sacred book expresses the following “it takes eighty mouthfuls of food to produce a drop of blood and eighty drops of blood to produce a drop of semen”.


As in Judaism, in Islam they consider celibacy impossible, for them a person cannot be celibate on the grounds that carnal desires and needs were not created by mistake, that the body demands what it naturally needs and also that it is an obligation of humanity the reproduction and maintenance of the species.

In fact, in several countries where this religion is practiced, polygamy is common and normal, as long as it is the man who has several wives at his disposal.

benefits of celibacy

Most cultures and religions that defend and support celibacy as a lifestyle and even lay celibacy, establish that through this is the way to demonstrate, as a test, the total and unique devotion and dedication to spirituality already God or the beliefs of each particular case.

They even defend that practicing chastity together with celibacy is a way of demonstrating total surrender to God, that sex should be used only for reproductive purposes and within marriage, in this way they avoid straying from the path of spirituality and do not fall into diseases. or in dysfunctional families with unwanted children just to please a carnal desire.

Further, in some beliefs such as Hinduism, they practice this type of life since they consider sex as an exchange of energy that occurs through physiological fluids and that those who wish to reach the highest levels of spiritual preparation must refrain from sexual practices.

Criticism of celibacy

The main criticisms towards this type of life come from those beliefs and cultures that consider it unnatural, based on the fact that for them physiological needs, including sexual ones, are normal in all species of living beings and also in humans. humans.

In addition, they maintain that it is necessary and obligatory due to the issue of reproduction. They explain that depriving a person against these instincts is not correct and on the contrary in some cases they support polygamy.

On the other hand, currently many criticisms and conflicting opinions have been produced within the practitioners of the same religions that establish this lifestyle as mandatory, thus being the case of the multiple scandals within the Catholic Church on the subject of pederasty, day after day a greater number of victims, both children and adolescents confess to having suffered abuse by priests within the church.

Similarly, there have been documented cases of priests who have sexual and romantic relationships with women behind the scenes of the church. Due to this, several opinions indicate that the church should take measures to avoid this type of abuse and one of them is to eliminate the obligation to be celibate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Celibacy

What is Catholic Celibacy?

It refers to the obligation of men and women who are part of the Catholic Church as priests or nuns to take the vows of singleness and in this way demonstrate their total dedication to God and the path of spirituality, accompanied by vows of chastity.

What is living celibate?

It is currently considered a lifestyle, basically it is based on giving up the fact of getting married and forming a family, that is, keeping single, in most cases the decision is made driven by religious or cultural reasons.

What is a celibate person?

It is a term applied to certain cultural positions, however, it is generically spoken of as celibacy when a person is single. To see the functions of celibacy it is practically mandatory to see it from religion, since it is essential that, in some of these, the members and representatives do not have any type of loving distraction with other people.

What is the difference between celibacy and chastity?

In general terms, it consists of a lifestyle in which marriage and establishing a family of their own must be renounced, that is, the person who practices it must remain single, while chastity is based on giving up all types of sexual activity.

What is the origin of celibacy?

The first indications of this lifestyle date back to the 10th century, when by decree in the Lateran they institutionalized being celibate as a mandatory requirement among the priests of the Catholic Church, in principle it is related to the fact of avoiding the inheritance of the assets of the church directly to the sons of priests.