There's a reason for taking things slowly, for putting off intercourse, or taking it away from center stage that often gets overlooked. I'm not talking about slowing things down for religious or moral ideals or social pressures. Not slowing things down to prevent STIs and pregnancy. Not even slowing things down for legal reasons or because of your age. I'm not talking about Just Say No, and I'm not talking about not having sex at all. I'm talking about PLEASURE.
If we look at our sexuality one way, it looks a million times simpler than it actually is. If we look at it another way, it appears a million times more complicated. While it's important that we bear everything in mind we need to in terms of infection and disease, birth control, our relationships, our bodies and the whole works, now and then we need to remember the bare bones and the human element of the thing, and keep the essentials in the forefront of our minds.
There are certain physical, hormonal and psychological mechanics that come into play when it comes to human sexual response, and understanding those is essential to lay the foundation for understanding how sex works for ourselves and for our partners. Once we understand how our bodies work when it comes to sexual response, we've won half the battle of learning how to enjoy that and incorporate it as a healthy part of our lives, both alone and with others.
What we are talking about here is celibacy, the deliberate choice not to have a sexual partner for any period of time. There's nothing ambiguous about that. Being celibate entails sharing NO sexual acts with a partner: any kind of intercourse (vaginal or anal), oral sex, manual sex, and so forth. In other words, no physical, sexual contact with others; meaning any genital (penis or vulva) touch, with mouths, hands or anything else between you and someone else is off limits.
The next time anyone tells you that only losers masturbate, or that they don't, and never would, bear this in mind: according to most studies and surveys, about 95% of adults have masturbated or continue to do so. Were many falsehoods and misconceptions about masturbation true, it would mean that 95 out of every 100 people would be blind, drooling psychopaths with hair on their palms and shrunken genitals.