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Sexual Abstinence

What is Abstinence?

Abstinence means choosing not to have sexual intercourse. It is practiced throughout the world by many people in many different cultures. It is a common, deliberate choice, made by normal women and men who want to avoid some of the consequences that arise from premarital sexual activity.

Some people believe abstinence is only abstaining from sexual intercourse. But true abstinence is to refrain from any sort of sexual activity, including: intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, dry sex (a.k.a. outercourse or grinding), mutual masturbation, or any other intimate physical activity done between two people for sexual pleasure. A good question to pose to yourself if in doubt is: can this behavior be done in public, or only in private? Some people tell themselves that activities such as oral sex aren't "real" sex. But engaging in acts such as oral sex are often a precursor to sexual intercourse. And while oral sex will not make you pregnant, you can still contract many sexually transmitted diseases through oral sex, including both bacterial and viral STDs, including the AIDS virus.

A Hard Choice

Obviously refraining from sexual activity can be very difficult from a physical desire perspective, but it can also be difficult from a relationship standpoint. For instance, some couples feel the need, or even an obligation, to become physical to express love, affection, or even just to take their relationship to the "next level." For most people though, a good relationship is about so much more than just sex. In many ways, saying no to sex early on can lead to a deeper relationship that is more than just physical activity or attraction. For some couples, watching a movie, going out for dinner, or taking a romantic walk on the beach is every bit as fulfilling as sex, which often then leads to deeper communication and respect.

If your partner thinks you need sex to better your relationship, what kind of relationship do you have anyway? Teenagers often feel peer pressure to engage in sexual activity. Or they hear that they are a "loser" or "uncool" if they haven't done it, which also makes it even harder to resist. But allowing someone to pressure you into a decision of such magnitude, with so many risks is definitely not a "cool" thing.

Twelve Freedoms of Sexual Abstinence

  1. Freedom from the physical dangers of multiple partner sex: sexually transmitted diseases, cancer of the cervix, and unwanted pregnancy.
  2. Freedom from the problems of birth control: The Pill and its side effects, the IUD and its risks.
  3. Freedom from the pressure to marry too soon.
  4. Freedom from the pain of giving your baby up for adoption.
  5. Freedom from exploiting others or being exploited by others and all the emotions that come with it — guilt, doubt, worry, disappointmenger and rejection.
  6. Freedom to be in control of your body.
  7. Freedom to get to know your dating partner as a person.
  8. Freedom to be in control of your life and your future — not to have it disrupted by pregnancy or disease.
  9. Freedom to respect yourself.
  10. Freedom to look forward to marriage and not be haunted by the "ghosts" of past sexual relationships.
  11. Freedom to enjoy being a teenager, with many male and female friendships.
  12. Freedom to form a strong marriage bond with one person for a lifetime — in other words, abstinence before marriage leads to greater trust, commitment and faithfulness in marriage.

Six Basic Steps to Sexual Abstinence

  1. Dress appropriately. The way you dress sends messages to others even when you don't intend to. Guys are especially affected because they are designed to be sexually stimulated by what they see.
  2. Don't do drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol cloud you decision-making ability and lower your resistance to say no.
  3. Don't spend long periods of time alone together. Date wisely... that is; avoid long periods of time alone together because it can lead to too much physical contact too soon.
  4. Go out with people with similar goals. Be friendly with everyone, but having close relationships with people who have similar values and goals makes it easier to keep your value system.
  5. Recognize your love need and what it means. Knowing and understanding your vulnerable areas will protect you from making some serious mistakes.
  6. Set your standard high and set it before the heat is on. Decide now why you want to be a virgin and stick to it.
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