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Abstinence

Abstinence in the Sexually Supportive Community means refraining from sex because you choose to.  There are many reasons for this choice. You may wish to remain pure until Marriage.   You may find that sex interferes with your cognitive thought processes.  You may have something inside you that you need to explore. 

What ever your reasons, you have the right to make that choice for yourself.

Abstinence Considerations

People choose abstinence to
  • prevent pregnancy
  • prevent STDs
  • wait until they're ready for a sexual relationship
  • wait to find the "right" partner
  • have fun with romantic partners without sexual involvement
  • focus on school, career, or extracurricular activities
  • support personal, moral, or religious beliefs and values
  • get over a breakup
  • heal from the death of a partner
  • follow medical advice during an illness or infection

What Are the Benefits of Abstinence AS BIRTH CONTROL?

Abstinence:

  • has no medical or hormonal side effects
  • is free

Special Advantages for Teens

Sexual relationships present risks. Abstinence is a very good way to postpone taking those risks until you are better able to handle them.

Women who abstain until their 20s — and who have fewer partners in their lifetimes — may have certain health advantages over women who do not. They are less likely to get STDs. Because they are less likely to get an STD, they are also less likely to become infertile or develop cervical cancer.

What Are the Disadvantages of Abstinence?

There are few disadvantages to abstinence.

  • People may find it difficult to abstain from sex for long periods of time.
  • Women and men often end their abstinence without being prepared to protect themselves against pregnancy or infection.

How Do I Talk with My Partner About Being Abstinent?

Talking with your partner about your decision to abstain from sex play is important — whether or not you've had sex play before. Partners need to be honest with each other and make sexual decisions together. These are some of the best ways to keep a relationship happy. Even so, it may not be easy to do. You may feel awkward or embarrassed.

  • It's best to talk about your feelings before things get sexual. For many people it's hard to be clear about what they want if they get aroused. It is helpful to think — ahead of time — about how you can say "no" to sex play. What behavior will be clear? What words will be best? You can practice saying the words out loud. Then think about how someone might respond to you.
  • Take the time to consider fully what being abstinent will mean for you. It is important to know what you are thinking and feeling and what you need. Then you can tell your partner about it.
  • Be straightforward about the limits you want to set.

Keep in mind that having sex is not the only way two people can get to know each other. Sex play is also not the only way couples can be close. People get closer as they build trust by

  • talking
  • listening
  • sharing
  • being honest
  • respecting each other's thoughts and feelings
  • enjoying one another's company

Abstinence can only work when both partners agree to it. So it is also helpful to keep talking with each other about why you've agreed to abstain from sex play. Your relationship may change. And your decision to be abstinent may change, too.

How Can I Stay Abstinent?

Staying abstinent is a choice you make every day. There are ways to help yourself with that choice.

  • Remind yourself why you chose to be abstinent.
  • Think about the consequences.
  • Don't reevaluate your decision to stay abstinent during sexually charged situations — stick with your decision until you can think about it with a clear head.

Abstinence can be difficult for some people. Women and men need to be clear about their reasons to stay abstinent. If you are tempted to have sex play, it helps to remember why you made the decision to be abstinent in the first place. How can you stay abstinent? Think about your answers to these questions:

  • Am I clear about why I want to be abstinent?
  • Am I aware of situations that could make staying abstinent difficult for me? Can I avoid them?
  • Alcohol and other drugs can affect my judgment and decision-making ability. How do I feel about not using them?
  • Are there people in my life I can talk to about my decision to be abstinent? Will they be supportive?

Most people stop being abstinent at some point in their lives. When you decide not to be abstinent, ask yourself

  • Do I have information about other methods of birth control and do I have access to them?
  • Do I know how to protect myself from STDs?
Source: Planned Parenthood:  http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/abstinence-4215.htm