21-year-old Chris Opoku from Glasgow, Scotland has seen first hand how sexual relationships could quickly turn unhealthy. After witnessing her friends’ mental health gradually dwindle because of tying their self-worth to their sexual capabilities, Chris — whose mental health wasn’t already that great — reaffirmed her decision to be celibate. It was listening to her friends' negative experiences with sex and the added consumption of over-sexualized media when she was younger that put her off from intimacy altogether. Choosing to be celibate all her life, she says, has come with multiple perks.
“My mental health is better knowing that I’m not engaging in sex with someone who could possibly dump me the next day,” Opoku says. “I’ve also avoided a lot of heartbreak because I’m able to cut off guys who are only looking for a sexual connection, and I’m more interested in emotional and mental connections.”
Opoku is not alone in her journey of celibacy. In fact, ongoing social conversations on TikTok reveal that more young Black women are choosing celibacy and their reasons for this are not related to religion or the social isolation caused by the pandemic. Celibacy TikTok has increasingly become an avenue for young, Black women to share the benefits of being celibate as a form of self-care. With the hashtag amassing up to 60 million views, young Black women have gained popularity in spreading the message of choosing yourself first and taking care of your mental health and wellbeing.