Abstinence means not having vaginal, oral or anal sex with a partner. Complete abstinence is the only way to guarantee that you won't get pregnant and/or get a sexually transmitted blood borne infection (STBBI). You can choose to be abstinent even if you have had sex before. Many people choose abstinence based on religious, cultural and/or personal beliefs.


  • Most effective method of contraception
  • 100% protection against STBBIs
  • No costs involved (it's FREE)
  • No side effects (medical or hormonal)
  • Can be initiated at any time
  • Supports a person's moral or religious beliefs and values


  • It's hard to remain abstinent especially when drugs or alcohol are involved
  • Requires both partners to be fully committed to using the method
How do you talk to your partner about abstinence?
You don't have to be dating to be thinking about whether or not to engage in sex or to practice abstinence. In fact, it's a good idea to know how you feel about sex before you have to make a decision about it. Once you have made this important decision, talk about your reasons with your friends and any potential partners. It's important to be honest up front, even if you feel embarrassed or awkward. Here are a couple things to think about:
  • Ask yourself what your reasons are for wanting to be abstinent. The most common reasons are:
    • Not ready to have sex
    • Don't feel safe and secure
    • Not prepared or ready to use birth control
    • Prevent an unwanted pregnancy
    • Avoid a sexually transmitted blood borne infection (STBBI)
    • Stay true to religious, cultural or personal beliefs
  • You might want to focus on school, work or life goals and its okay to want to focus on what is really important to you.
  • You may want to wait until you have found the 'right' person for you.
  • Know what you want and how you feel before things get sexual.
  • Think about the kinds of situations or activities that could lead to you feeling 'turned on' which would make it hard for you to say "no".
  • Be clear with your partner about your limits.
  • Sex isn't the only way to be close with someone. Talking, listening, sharing, holding hands, kissing and spending time together can build trust and closeness.

Tip: Avoid Drugs & Alcohol

The use of drugs and/or alcohol can cause you to let down your guard and forget why you decided to be abstinent.

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