Originally published: Women, celibacy, and passion. London : A. Deutsch, 1993.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 266-273) and index.
Celibacy is not hereditary -- Genital messages -- Genital manipulations -- Celibacy begins in the mind -- Spirituality? A simple life? Or just sheer spite? -- Convent girls and impossible passions -- Celibacy is more than chastity -- Perpetual virgins -- Endangered species -- Celibate sisters -- Creative solitude -- A passion for celibacy.
In Victorian times, women were regarded as deviant if they enjoyed a full and exciting sex life. Today, women invite equally pejorative labels if they admit that they don't! "We are living," writes Sally Cline, "in a genitally fixated society, in which the only sexual activity considered freakish is NO sexual activity; in which anyone who professes a lack of interest in sex is deemed to be in need of a cure, alongside a cosmetic surgery industry geared to persuading women that it is healthy to be starved, snipped, and stitched in pursuit of a prolonged sexual shelf life." Given this oppressive climate, it is not surprising that women are deciding to abandon the sexual treadmill and look for other, more fulfilling ways to express themselves. Today's celibates are neither virgins-in-waiting nor the reluctantly single. They are women: married and single, heterosexual and lesbian, who have found in their passion for celibacy the freedom and autonomy to redefine and celebrate their sexuality. "Through celibacy," writes Cline, "a woman learns to take risks, to grow up, to make decisions, to live on her own, to value other women ... It's about simplicity. It is about freedom from sexual anxiety and beauty problems. It is about regaining or taking control of one's life. It is about nongenital passion. It is about spiritual growth." Passionately argued, controversial, iconoclastic, and inspirational, Women, Passion & Celibacy will become required reading for any woman who has ever felt that her body is not her own.