What is it?
Abstinence means not having sex of any type: no vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Abstinence is a very effective way to prevent pregnancy and reduces the risk of getting STIs.
How do you practice it?
People practice abstinence by not having sex of any type. Some people decide to be abstinent after they have had sex and then decide to have sex again.
It is important to know your boundaries. If you are in a relationship, it is key to talk about what is important to each person and what they are comfortable with.
Sometimes people don’t want to have sex of any kind and feel uncomfortable with other things like making out. Your boundaries are up to you and you have the right to make sure those boundaries are respected. Nobody ever should be forced to have sex.
You can learn more about resources for people who have experienced sexual violence, as well as how to express boundaries in the relationships section.
Is it right for you?
Yes! Abstinence is very common. In Pueblo County, 56% of students are not having sex of any type. This might be because it is part of their values and spiritual practice, or because they are learning about themselves, and what they like and dislike. Keep in mind that experimenting with sex for the first time is a personal process, that has an emotional impact.
Deciding to not have sex may feel like the best way for someone to prevent a pregnancy and avoid STIs. There are many ways to feel close with a romantic partner that do not include having sex.
For other people, abstinence is not what works best for them. Folks who have sex also need to talk with their partners about boundaries and preferences.
Talking with a health provider is a great place to start. It can also be helpful to talk with friends or trusted adults in your life. Everyone is different, what works best for one person might not be what works best for you.