Love & Sex
It's a huge sacrifice for a guy dubbed by his friends a ladies' man: a whole year without sex.
Pete Lynagh's pledge shocked his flatmate so much he bet him $2000 he would fail.
But the 32-year-old from Melbourne was serious. Sick of meaningless one-night stands and the relentless weekend pursuit of women, it was time to try abstinence.
''I've been single for the last year and I'm just over going out and running wild and picking up,'' he said.
''Probably a bit of me wants to settle down and find the right girl and it will help me to start connecting with women in a non-sexual way, just take it off the agenda so I can get to know them better.''
The charismatic boxing instructor - who estimates the longest he's gone without sex before is two months - gave it up on January 1, vowing not to indulge again until at least the first day of 2014.
But just as Hollywood heart-throb Josh Hartnett discovered in the movie 40 Days and 40 Nights, in which he abstains from any sexual contact for Lent, temptation is everywhere.
In Lynagh's boxing classes he predominantly trains young, fit women, and, as a DJ, he finds attention from women hard to ignore.
But he's adamant he will see the year out sex-free. For him, 12 months of chastity is more than just a break from chasing girls. His goal is to raise $100,000 for Free to Shine, a charity that rescues children from sex slavery in Cambodia and provides them with education scholarships.
Northern Irish-born Lynagh is recording his year-long sexless odyssey through his ''Pete's Chastity for Charity'' Facebook page with weekly video diaries.
He already sponsors an 11-year-old girl who has been saved from the sex trade and he hopes his abstinence will raise money to build a school for others like her.
While sex has been something frivolous and fun for him, he is acutely aware that for many disadvantaged people in developing countries it can be more sinister.
''Some of the things that these kids have gone through, it's just horrendous, it breaks my heart. It makes me think of sex in a whole different light. I'm going to go out to Cambodia in October with the charity and meet some of the kids and just help out in any way I can.''
In the meantime, what are the rules for this challenge? Flatmate Marty Gebert, who donated his $2000 bet to the charity, set the guidelines and says initially kissing was off the menu.
But then he relented. ''I wanted to punish him because I was annoyed that I'd lost my best wing man, so I said no kissing, no licking, no sucking, no touching, nothing sexual related to girls, guys, animals, anything that's remotely sexual,'' Gebert, 28, said.
''Then we started debating the rules and I thought I was being a little bit unfair. He might meet the girl of his dreams next month. If he can't passionately kiss her he's got nothing to keep her interested. But if they truly connect with a passionate kiss then surely there's a good chance she's going to hang around for this long year.''
So kissing, holding hands and cuddling are allowed, and, although Lynagh insists it hasn't increased in frequency since his sex ban, ''self love'' is also permitted.
Just over three weeks in and he's already been challenged. On a boys' weekend down the coast recently, he met a girl in a bar and they shared a kiss.
But when things started ''heating up'', Lynagh couldn't cope. He bolted.
On a date with another woman he was keen to see again, Lynagh explained his 12-month abstinence plan and she was baffled. ''I can understand why she wasn't keen to take things further. If I put myself in her situation she would need to be one hell of a chick for me to be prepared to wait a whole year.''
Instead of focusing on bedroom pursuits he is trying to harness his pent-up sexual energy by channelling it into creativity, yoga and meditation.
He's been pleasantly surprised by how much he's gained from the experience already, particularly in his interactions with women.
''I'm much more interested in conversation, what they're into, their goals. I'm definitely learning that the ego has a lot to do with sex and I suppose I was being superficial, shallow, going for looks, and it has given me a new perspective on women and what I want. I want to find someone to connect with on a deeper level and I find that I'm evolving into a better person and learning a lot about myself.''
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