Difference Between Celibacy and Abstinence

Main difference

Celibacy is the term that refers to voluntarily avoiding marriage and sexual activities for the sake of moral, ethical, and religious values. Abstinence is the self-imposed avoidance and restriction of anything that provides inclination and pleasures the body. Abstinence, most of the time, refers to sexual abstinence, which means that a person voluntarily avoids sexual intercourse and other activities related to sex. It can involve various reasons. Celibacy involves marriage and religious restraint and vows, while abstinence has to do with self-restraint.

Comparison chart

Celibacy Abstinence
Definition Celibacy is voluntarily avoiding sexual activities and marriage for the sake of knowledge. Abstinence is the absence of sex in life due to your personal will.
Reason For the good of religion. For own will.
Duration For life or permanent It could be permanent, but usually temporary.
Base Do not marry and remain a virgin, remain pure to preach the religion. Do not get distracted from other important goals in life and focus only on them.

What is celibacy?

Celibacy is a practice or state of not being married or not engaging in any sexual activity throughout life as a religious vow or for the sake of religion. Celibacy is derived from a Latin word caelibatuswhich refers to non-marital matters. A person who practices celibacy is said to be celibate. A celibate abstains from engaging in any sexual activity and from marriage. And this is usually due to religion. According to the beliefs of celibate people, being a virgin and not getting involved in marriage and other sexual pleasures will make them wiser and they will be able to concentrate more on the goals of their particular religion. Each religion has a totally different concept of celibacy. Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism all imply celibacy to a great extent, and their priests, monks, and nuns promise to be virgins throughout their lives. Some religions like Islam and other concepts do not promote celibacy, but they also discourage such practice as they can disturb the balance of nature.

What is withdrawal?

Abstinence is voluntarily refraining from all pleasurable, enchanting, and bodily pleasing activities for social reasons, personal preferences, financial concerns, a moral issue, or even a religious reason, etc. it is total due to the will of the person himself. Sexual abstinence is the voluntary avoidance of sexual intercourse and all other activities related to sexuality. A person may avoid or not engage in sexual activity for any reason. Any of the personal reasons that cause a person to abstain from sexual intercourse is abstinence. A person may be skipping or avoiding or voluntarily not having sex due to various reasons, such as disliking their partners, having mental disorders, not feeling well, they don’t have enough time or a variety of other personal problem. Abstinence involves refraining from pleasure-based activities so that a person can focus on goals and other important matters in life. Abstinence can also involve religious boundaries and issues why a person refrains from sexual activities. But in this case, he or she is not subject to the religion but to its will.

Celibacy versus abstinence

  • Celibacy is the state of avoiding sexual activities and marriage and remaining a lifelong virgin for the sake of religion.
  • Abstinence is voluntarily refraining from sexual pleasure and activities due to personal problems.
  • Celibacy is involved in religious norms, moral values,
  • Withdrawal involves personal problems and issues.
  • Withdrawal can also be due to religion.
  • The celibate does not marry all his life and remains a virgin.
  • Abstinence avoids intercourse and other activities for sexual pleasure in order to focus on something else.

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