Table Of Contents

What is Abstinence?

Basically it means to not engage in any sort of sexual activity at any time (ie. no contact of the genitals to any part of a partner’s body). This is the only 100% effective way to ensure pregnancy or STI transmission does not occur.

For some there are different degrees of being abstinent. Some people engage in various sexual activities without engaging in vaginal intercourse. For more information on this, please see our article on outercourse. Other people will refrain from sex at certain intervals based on the likelihood of pregnancy at the time. For information on this, please see our article on fertility awareness based methods of birth control.

How Does Abstinence Prevent Pregnancy?

It prevents pregnancy by ensuring that no circumstance can take place which involves sperm making contact with the vagina.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits are as follows:

  • Free
  • 100% effective in preventing pregnancy if used continuously
  • Prevents STI Transmission
  • No side effects (hormonal or medical)
  • Help find the right partner in life
  • Focus on themselves rather than on a partner (school, work, etc.)
  • Medical reasons due to infection or illness

What Are the Disadvantages?

The urge of sexual intercourse may make it hard to remain abstinent for long periods of time. This can result in a person being unprepared to protect themselves against infection or pregnancy.

How Effective is it?

The only 100% effective in preventing pregnancy if the method is used continuously.

How Safe is it?

This is one of the safest methods in preventing pregnancy and there are no additional side effects.

How do I practice Abstinence?

  • Honesty – talk to your partner about why you choose to by abstinent.
  • Communication – let your partner know that you want to refrain from having sexual intercourse, regardless if you have had sexual encounters in the past
  • Sharing – other ways to connect with your partner, sex play is not the only way to build trust
  • Respect – this one is important because if your partner can not respect your decision it will be difficult for you to practice Abstinence.
  • Think outside the box – depending on the level of Abstinence, looking at other various activities such as outercourse

Another method of practicing is by asking yourself why you choose to be abstinent in the first place.

  • Are you clear on why you did it in the first place?
  • Are you aware of the situation you are in and the benefits of staying abstinent?
  • Are there people in my life that can help me with my decision?
  • Can you approach them and will they be supportive?

By asking yourself these questions, it can help your success on becoming abstinent on a daily basis.

Tips for Practicing Abstinence

This is a decision that is made on a daily basis. There are various ways that can help you prepare yourself to refrain from having sexual intercourse. Think about the consequences of pregnancy or STDs.

Do not reevaluate your decision once you have made it. This can be hard when you are put in difficult situations such as where alcohol and drugs are present. Always be thinking with a clear head and tell yourself, would you make this decision if you were sober?

Being abstinent can be hard for long periods of time. If you are ready not to be abstinent, make sure you ask yourself why you are doing it. Do you have access to other types of birth control methods? How will you be protecting yourself from pregnancy and STDs?