Let me now go into the explanation and give the Biblical facts.
Celibacy by definition is the disavowal of marriage, thus celibate persons have chosen not to marry. Nothing in this definition speaks to abstinence, and so therefore a celibate person can be sexually active outside of marriage. Usually however, religious celibates, also take vows of chastity, where they promise to abstain from sex as well. Please see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/celibacy. Many people have used the passage in Matthew 19:12 to teach that Jesus endorses celibacy, and we read:
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it (Matthew 19:12).
Some have said that Jesus was teaching celibacy here, however if you read the preceding two verses, you will see that Jesus was in fact not teaching celibacy, but disagreeing with it on principle. Jesus was having a discussion with the Pharisees about marriage and divorce, and after the discussion His disciples said, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (vs. 10). To which Jesus replied, " All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given" (vs. 11). What Jesus was saying was that only certain people can be celibate, and he named three catergories of people, who were all eunuchs! In verse 12 He named:
- Natural-born eunuchs: People born with low lido/sex drive
- Surgically induced enuchs: People who were castrated and hence had low libido/sex drive, and
- Spiritual enuchs: People who have lost the desire for sex due to a sense of spiritual fulfillment and wholeness.
The practice of making people take vows of celibacy is unnatural. A normal person with normal libido should not swear off sex. They are putting themselves in danger of falling into sin and sexual immorality. A couple months ago, a former Catholic priest was ousted because he was found to be in a relationship with a woman. He could not practice as a Catholic priest and still keep his girlfriend, therefore he left the Catholic priesthood and became an Episcopalian priest. For more on Father Cutie please read http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1896581,00.html . Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage His people to be celibate. He may encourage abstinence for short periods of time such as for "prayer and fasting" but He then says, "Come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency" (1 Corinthians 7:5). This is tantamount to a command to have sex, and lots of it.
Some have even tried to use 1 Corinthians 7:8 to justify celibacy, where Paul says, "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I." They assume that Paul was encouraging unmarried people and widows to remain single because he was single. Nothing is further from the truth! Paul was not encouraging singleness in this verse, because he himself was married! We read in Eusebius Ecclesiastical History that Paul was married, but did not take his wife along with him on missionary trips. We also read in 1 Corithians 9: 5 where Paul asked the Corinthian church: "Don’t we have the right to bring a Christian wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does?" (NLT). Why would Paul ask about taking his wife with him if he did not have a wife! We see in Phillipians 4:3 where Paul references his wife by calling her his "true partner" in NLT ( or "true yoke-fellow" in KJV). Starting from verse 2 we read, "Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. " (Phillipians 4:2-3, NLT). Here Paul was asking his wife to negotiate a quarrel between two women - Euodia and Syntyche. Paul was therefore not teaching that the unmarried and widows should be celibate, but that they should practice abstinence due to lack of a mate, just as he had to practice abstinence being away from his wife. There is no reason to believe that Paul did not resume normal relations with his wife when he went home to see his wife.
So what about those spiritual eunuchs? So what about them. As was said before, spiritual eunuchs have low sex drive because of a sense of spiritual fulfillment and wholeness without a sexual partner. Generally speaking, spiritual eunuchs are normal people with normal libido but due to their high level of spiritual involvement in the pursuit of spiritual things, they may temporarily have a low sex drive or low libido. They are so caught up in the things of God, that sex and marriage becomes the least of their concerns. Such persons are actually practicing a form of sacred sexuality, where God, and not a person gives them complete fulfillment. God fills their hearts with joy, peace, happiness, ectasy, and love that even surpasses the love of a spouse. For those unable to find a suitable spouse, this condition of being a spiritual eunuch may be permanent. For those who are able to find a suitable spouse, this condition may be temporary, but they will continue to receive God's love either directly, or indirectly through their spouse. "For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one.' But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him ( 1 Corinthians 6:16b-17, NLT). As Christians we are all married to our heavenly Spouse, Jesus Christ. He is our Spouse, and earthly marriages are just a reflection of our marriage to Him. So whether we are married to someone, or single, we can all enjoy the privileges of being married to our heavenly Spouse.
So we can see that celibacy is totally unbiblical, but is a condition that can only be maintained by eunuchs! Spiritual eunuchs are really not celibate at all, but are practitioners of sacred sexuality, where God fills their lives with joy and ectasy, and a love that far surpasses the love of a spouse.
ADDENDUM: Jesus said, "and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" in Matthew 19:12. We can also include in this category people who have voluntarily undergone procedures to decrease their sex drive, as a way of controlling their sex drive and to maintain sexual purity. I can think of pedophiles, who have a high sex drive for children, and who do not respond to behavior management/training, that might undergo castration. People who do this are opting for entering into eternal life "maimed" than to go to hell with all their body parts intact (Mark (9:43). Personally, I do not endorse castration, because I believe the Holy Spirit has the power the change the sexual desires of the sexually depraved. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to access the power of the Holy Spirit.