Wondering just what exactly is the celibacy definition, or definition of celibacy? Often not fully understood, the word's definition can mean a wide variety of things. Read on to gather some information on the actual celibacy definition and decide what it means for yourself.
- There are strict definitions of celibacy. To be celibate as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to abstain from sexual intercourse at all times. That is not to be confused with "abstinence," which is simply refraining from an indulgence, in this case sex, for a period of time. Thus, the celibacy definition distances itself from abstinence by not being a temporary choice, but a lifestyle.
- Everyone's interpretation is different. Even in the most strictest sense of the definition, not every single adherent feels the same about its meaning. For example, while many may often champion their own celibacy by avoiding intercourse, others (i.e. Catholic priests) avoid all forms of sex and any sort of sexual stimulation.
- Religion does play a factor. In the celibacy definition of an individual, his or her religious affiliation will often dictate their own views on the matter. Islam promotes abstinence before marriage, but questions the righteousness of life-long celibacy. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, openly encourages a lifestyle free from sex (if one is called to it); nuns and sisters both adhere to these regulations. Buddhism encourages celibacy, but often doesn't strictly follow it (especially in more Westernized cultures).
Each person's celibacy definition isn't the same as the next. Religion, lifestyle, and philosophy all play into how one defines being "celibate". As a rule of thumb, however, the celibacy definition is generally regarded as being more exclusive and rigorous than abstinence.