On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 232
Sexual beings pay another price in their human relationships. Their sexuality taints relationships with members of the opposite sex — or, if they are homosexual, members of their own sex. Sexual beings tend to classify the people they meet according to their desirability as sexual partners. A man at a party might break off a conversation with an intelligent but homely woman in order to cross the room and converse with a woman who, though strikingly attractive, hasn’t had a thought in weeks. A woman might refuse the friendship of a man because she suspects that what he is really after is sex — or might refuse her friendship because she fears that it will lessen her chances of being sexually attractive to some other man. Celibates appreciate people not as potential sex partners but as human beings.
Celibates routinely experience a kind of love that the rest of us rarely do. Celibate love isn’t exclusive: celibates don’t let their love for one person detract from their love for another. Nor is their love possessive: they aren’t trying to use or take advantage of the object of their love; to the contrary, they are trying to help him or her. In the words of one nun, ‘To be celibate … means first of all being a loving person in a way that frees you to serve others. Otherwise celibacy has no point.’ “