Celibacy is usually defined as a permanent or transitory life state that implies abstinence of sexual relationships and renouncement of marriage and intimate romantic bonding, usually inspired by religious conviction. It is becoming quite controversial in recent times in advanced societies, so it demands an updated approach to this life choice decision. What follows is a discussion of some of the theories about this unusual human practice.

Celibacy has a long history in Christianity, and it also finds expressions in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is clearly a product of post–Axial Age religions, or those pointing to more universalistic and moralizing divinities, and inside them, it is often linked to notions of perfection or mystical movements, such as monasticism in all its various traditions. Beyond that long ...

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