"What's the opposite of sex?" Gautam Kapadia wondered one summer evening in suburban Ontario last year. Across the lamb casserole, Jasmine, his wife of six years, also of Indian descent, piped up, "Sleep." It started as a casual chinwag.
By the end of the evening, the dishes dried, the leftovers stowed away, the couple had settled on a decision that would entitle them to more of one and none of the other. In other words, more shut eye. They were going to experiment with celibacy -- towards the taming of the screw.
Celibacy is no longer a vexatious condition of religious life. It is now a considered choice individuals are exerting -- those not of the cloth or cloister but choosing nevertheless to gird their loins, test the frontiers of self-restraint and redirect their Eros towards other ends. Let's not forget, Gandhi and Freud did it.
When Gautam, an investment banker aged 37, and Jasmine, a 35-year-old yoga instructor, decided to have a go at coital abstinence, they set themselves a six-month timer. Just to see if they could hold out that long. "It emerged from a dare, a challenge to ourselves to see if we could take our marriage through a couple of months without sex," says Jasmine, adding, "We were bored with the after-work 'bed-work'; impatient with expert advice on how, where and when to get it on. By the third year, sex had become a damp squib and we found ourselves trying hard to fit the template cut out by popular culture. 'Happy couples have it four times a week' and that sort of pap. We were constantly falling out over sex because we had built it up to be the monolith of our marital life. We needed to give sex a rethink."celibacy ] [ sex-scandal ]