What’s the abstinence definition?

Abstinence is not having sex. A person who decides to practice abstinence has decided not to have sex.

How does it work?

If two people don’t have sex, then sperm can’t fertilize an egg and there’s no possibility of a pregnancy. Some forms of birth control depend on barriers that prevent the sperm from reaching the egg (such as condoms or diaphragms). Others interfere with the menstrual cycle (as birth control pills do). With abstinence, no barriers or pills are necessary because the person is not having sex.

You don’t have to be a virgin to practice abstinence. Sometimes people who have been having sex decide not to continue having sex. Even if a person has been having sex, he or she can still choose abstinence to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

What is abstinence only education?

Abstinence only education teaches to not have sex outside of marriage and typically excludes education about safe sex and birth control.

How well does it work?

Since the abstinence definition is refraining from sex, abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Although many birth control methods can have high rates of success if used properly, they can fail occasionally. Practicing abstinence ensures that a girl will not become pregnant because there is no opportunity for sperm to fertilize an egg.

How do you do it?

Not having sex may seem easy because it’s not doing anything. But peer pressure and things you see on TV and in the movies can make the decision to practice abstinence more difficult.

If it seems like everybody else is having sex, some people may feel they have to do it, too, just to be accepted. Don’t let kidding or pressure from friends, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or even the media push you into something that’s not right for you. The truth is that most teens are not having sex.

A couple can still have a relationship without having sex. If you’ve made a decision not to have sex, it’s an important personal choice and the people who care about you should respect that.

Why choose abstinence?

Abstinence also protects your heart, because research tells us that for women, when they have sex, they most commonly give away a piece of their heart. Abstinence can help to protect your heart from the hurt that a broken relationship can bring.