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Sexual Abstinence


Abstinence in the context of sex means deliberately refraining from sexual intercourse or more broadly from any sexual activity. People choose abstinence for a variety of reasons.

Probably the most common reason — promoted by some sex educators, most parents and nearly all religious groups — is to deter teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

In addition, some groups encourage abstinence for ideological and moral reasons, such as religious values or personal beliefs. Some people practice abstinence as a method of contraception. These individuals or couples may engage in noncoital sexual relations, sometimes called "petting," stopping short of intercourse.

Some individuals are abstinent on a temporary basis, for instance, until they get married or find the right partner. Others are abstinent from intercourse and perhaps other forms of sexual contact as a safeguard against contracting or transmitting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute


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