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June 13, 2024

Inside the new dating trend of 2024

CityMag's resident sexologist has been blown away to see that more Gen Z and Millennials seem to be talking about the power of celibacy.

Adelaide sex advice
  • Words: Jamie Bucirde
  • Picture: Morgan Sette
  • This article was produced in collaboration with Adult Bliss Erotica.

The new trend of “Sex Sobriety”, or celibacy, involves making an active choice to not have sex (in all forms) and stop looking for romantic and sexual validation outside of yourself. On TikTok, it’s being labelled as going “boy sober”, “girl sober” or “boy/girl sobriety”.


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I want to look at this trend from a sexual empowerment lens, not a religious lens – we can leave religious sexual shame, guilt and judgement at the door, thanks!

Sex Sobriety means you have to:

  • Stop dating
  • Stop using dating apps
  • Stop going back to exes
  • Stop being involved in situationships
  • No physical intimacy

When I first started hearing about this, I felt conflicted.

As a sexologist I am here to promote healthy sexual relationships and empower people to have great sex BUT the further I’ve looked into it, the more I’m coming around to it. As someone who loves sex, has a high sex drive and who’s love language is physical touch, the idea of choosing to be celibate is confronting. It would be pushing me to seek validation only within myself and stop looking outwards for connection.

The term ‘boy sober’ was originally coined by Comedian Hope Woodard this year, who spoke to her new dating phenomenon that is now taking off. She spoke in a podcast recently with Dan Savage on her choice to go ‘boy sober’ for a year. She explained that while she felt her past sexual encounters were consensual, she recognised that she said yes a lot of the time because she “was never really given the permission to say no”.

Sexual sobriety aims to focus on reclaiming autonomy over your bodies and re-allocating your lost time, energy and mental space from dating onto yourselves. A sexual sober period of time gives you true, uninterrupted space to reflect, heal and focus on what you want next within your life.

There’s also a few celebrities who promote being celibate too. Amongst them includes Julia Fox, Lenny Kravitz and Khloe Kardasian, who are all aboard the no jiggy train. I recently listened to a podcast episode on Call Her Daddy with Kate Hudson, who also spoke of her year off men and dating and she spoke about the power of turning inwards and truly listening to her needs and wants. So maybe you’re considering it? But if you’re going to abstain from sex, let’s make sure you’re going to do it with intention and purpose!


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Here’s my top tips for how to actively try ‘sexual sobriety’:

Use this time to explore your own sexuality:

Deciding to be actively celibate doesn’t mean you can’t explore masturbation. Take this time to get to know yourself, explore intimacy within yourself and be romantic to yourself. Read new books on sex and pleasure to learn new ways of being a sexual being, listen to new podcasts and think about what you’ve been missing in your sex life. Think of this like a sexual wellbeing restructure.

Date yourself:

Deciding to be actively celibate shouldn’t mean you have to sit at home thinking about all the sex you’re not having. Take yourself on dates! Go to gigs alone, take yourself out for a glass of wine and dinner or do things that truly bring you joy. Also go out and spend quality time with the people you love. Be present with the people around you in your life and put energy into deepening those connections. A huge part of your overall happiness is your contentment with yourself. True love starts with self love, and we should be striving to love ourselves everyday.

Reflect on your sexual scripting:

Sexual scripts significantly shape our perceptions, behaviours, and experiences of sexuality. These societal frameworks dictate how we believe we should act in sexual situations, influencing everything from our expectations to our interactions with partners. By understanding and potentially redefining these scripts, we can create healthier, more fulfilling sexual relationships. For instance, traditional sexual scripts often suggest that men should initiate sexual activity while women remain passive. They may also imply that sex is mainly for procreation or that certain sexual practices are taboo. Such rigid frameworks can restrict our sexual expression and lead to misunderstandings or dissatisfaction in our relationships.

Take time to reflect on your own sexual beliefs and behaviours. Ask yourself where these ideas come from and whether they truly reflect your values and desires. This process can help you identify scripts that may be limiting your sexual expression and start creating more satisfying sexual experiences in the future.

Give yourself a cut-off date:

Like any goal, it’s always helpful to give yourself a date to work towards. A year may sound like a lot, so start small and see how it works for you. You are in control of a timeframe that fits your lifestyle. I’d recommend starting at a month to three months. If it feels good, keep going. If it doesn’t, that’s okay.

Stay safe and stay sexy.

Jamie Bucirde has a postgraduate degree in sexology from Curtin University. Her advice is of a general nature and should be taken in the spirit of the column.

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