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I am celibate. I am a single, heterosexual, early-middle-aged male. I have all the appendages that nature intended and, although modesty forbids that I class myself as good-looking, attractive women still make me interesting offers of intimate entanglements — and, yes, some of them are even sober at the time.
Of course, being a Guardian reader also helps to make one irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex. So why am I celibate? More than a decade ago I was in a relationship when I discovered that I had a neurological condition that is likely, in time I know not when , to deteriorate.
That was the end of the relationship — a decision that my partner made and which, although I took it badly at the time, I now appreciate a lot better.
After all, it is one thing to think that illness or death may happen to one or other of you half a century hence, another altogether when it may be only five years down the road. Despite this, if you met me in the street you probably wouldn't even know that there was anything wrong with me. Certainly nothing off-putting to any potential mate. So why celibacy? At first, after the break-up, I could have gone one of two ways.
I could have dived head-first into a flurry of empty, hedonistic sex in a quest for revenge against all women for my ex-partner's abandonment of me. I didn't; although it crossed my mind. Instead, at first, I took some time out to grieve for the loss of a relationship that had meant a lot to me and, to be honest, to feel bloody sorry for myself.