Giving Up SEX for Lent

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

I was in my local health food store when I saw a neighbor and we began chatting.  When asked what I was up to I told her of my recent blog on giving up a girly thought for lent—you remember the one where I suggested you give up one girly thought for lent, yes just one, even if you’re not observant, even if you’re not Christian, all with the understanding that you can return to this form of self-sabotage after Easter if you still want to do this to yourself (

She began laughing and told me of a story of a younger cousin with a wicked sense of humor.  We’ll call her Colleen.  When she was asked what she was giving up for lent by her Episcopal priest, she said SEX.  He evidently turned pale and began shaking.  Colleen was only 14 and lived in boarding school in a rural part of Canada.  She was quickly isolated from the other girls, questioned repeatedly—they needed to know who the boy was—and then not believed when she said she was just kidding.  By the way, she has become a successful comedy writer – noted for her sense of humor and her timing.

No Kidding 

It’s still not too late for you. Just try stopping one of those girly thoughts that tell you:

  • You’re too smart
  • Too fat
  • Too aggressive, or
  • It’s all your fault that….

Think of it just like a science experiment you did in high school.  You do something and see what happens.  You can do this within yourself—stop thinking one girly thought  and see what happens when you make space in you by stopping one particular way you are distracting yourself, beating yourself up, keeping yourself down – yes stopping just one girly thought can make a big difference in how you feel about yourself, and how much energy you have to do what it is you’d like to accomplish.

Try it and let me know…

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Girly Thoughts and Lent


Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”

– Pope Francis

Whether you are Christian or not, devout or not, you are probably aware that we have entered Lent, a season of spiritual growth and self-examination, which often includes fasting and a tradition of giving something up (even though this is pretty short-lived for some of us).

Your Girly Thoughts . . . and Lent?

Pope Francis speaks about Lent as an opportunity to not have life as usual, to awaken from our lethargy that says we cannot change. We can consider expanding that reawakening to include not having our usual thinking about ourselves.

So, how do you usually think about yourself? Of course you have many positive thoughts about yourself. And they’re great. But there are also those other thoughts, less than positive, that I’ve named girly thoughts. Lent can be a great time to give up that toxic way of thinking.

How About Giving Up a Girly Thought or Two . . . Just for Lent?

Yes, during this time of self-reflection, consider changing your thinking, especially your girly thoughts, like I’m fat, or I have to make nice at work. You could decide to totally give up a girly thought, or if that seems too difficult, you could choose one girly thought and refuse to think it for just a limited period of time, like for the Lenten season.

So, instead of giving up a specific girly thought forever, you could:

  • give it up for now,
  • see how this feels, and
  • if you miss it so very much, you can come back to it later and start beating yourself up with this girly thought all over again.

The Payoff

Consider this time-limited practice as a kind of an experiment that not only helps you direct your thinking into more positive directions, but also can have an ongoing payoff:

You begin to feel better about yourself as you stop finding fault with yourself, and you start to appreciate your very special qualities, particularly those that are not in the mainstream, like your wacky sense of humor, your long red hair, your ability to dance and move unlike your friends.

How to begin? Yes, you can reflect on your thinking and change what you say to you about you! This is, after all, what this season of reflection is all about, a time of quiet to prepare for greatness.

For now, every time you slip up and find yourself thinking your specific girly thought, let it be a reminder that you do not need to continue to do to yourself what society does to you! You can begin to step into your power, your personal greatness.

I invite you to take a moment and watch my video blog where I talk to you about your girly thoughts and Lent.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power