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What is Abstinence


Updated November 26, 2011

Definition: (in relation to contraception) abstinence means not having any type of intercourse or sex play with a partner.

Abstinence is the only birth control method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Beng abstinent includes the practice of voluntarily refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. Most people are abstinent at some point in their lives.

Some people define abstinence as a well thought-out choice regarding one's mind, body, and sexual health. It can be a positive way of dealing with sexuality and/or resolving feelings about sexual intimacy stemming from religious or moral beliefs.

Abstinence is considered to be a natural birth control method. This is because abstinence is a particular action that a person can physically do (without any assistance or device) in order to prevent conception from occurring.

Pronunciation: ab•sti•nence (ãb'stə-nəns)
Also Known As: self-denial, continence, abstinent, temperance

Continence specifically refers to abstinence from sexual activity: The priest took a vow of continence.


I practice abstinence because I am waiting for the right time to have sex.

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