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Sexual Health: Abstinence


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Abstinence is choosing to abstain from any type of sexual activity including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Abstinence as a choice is the only 100% effective form of protection from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy when practiced correctly and continuously.

Advantages of Abstinence

  • Extremely Effective.
  • Can be practiced at anytime in a person's life.
  • You won’t have to worry about protecting yourself from HIV or other STIs, or getting pregnant.
  • May encourage people to build relationships in other ways.
  • Free of charge with no medical side effects.
  • Decreases the chances of emotional, psychological and physical issues that may come with a sexual relationship.

Disadvantages of Abstinence

If a person changes his or her mind during the heat of the moment, they may not have protection readily available.

It's Your Choice

Many people choose to remain abstinent for religious or personal reasons. It is a private decision that only you can make. If you have any questions about abstinence or would like tips for communicating with your partner feel free to contact the Sexual Health Coordinator 581-7786 or at herc-sexed@eiu.edu.

Reasons Why People Choose Abstinence

  • Minimize risk of pregnancy and STIs.
  • Wait to find someone they trust.
  • To support moral, religious, and emotional beliefs.
  • To focus on school, work and extracurricular activities.
  • For health reasons

Frequently Asked Questions About Abstinence

If I choose abstinence, can I still create a close relationship with my partner?

  • Absolutely! It is important to build a strong relationship through conversation. By listening and respecting each other, you will build a connection prior to sex. Take the time to talk, be honest and spend time together to have fun!

How do I bring up abstinence to my partner?

  • It is important to know yourself before talking with your partner. Know your limits and what abstinence means to you. Do not put yourself in a situation where you are unsure of what you want. Be clear and up front! Have this conversation prior to any sexual activity. This way, your partner will know exactly what you are expecting and will not try to push any limits.

I still want to show affection. What are some ideas on how to do so without having sex?

  • Try fun, new dating ideas. Don't go to the movies EVERY Friday! Mix it up! You can also exchange small notes, cards and emails reminding each other of your love or thoughts. Always be open with your feelings and emotions; deep conversation is an excellent way to feel connected to your partner.

But, isn't everyone doing it!?

  • Be aware of the many peer pressures linked with sex. Today, the media and celebrity role models can impact the decision of sexual activity. Remember, the people in the media are not looking out for your best interest. Be yourself, know yourself, and decide for yourself. The right person will wait until you are comfortable and ready to have sex.

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