Sex Education and Abstinence
The act of not allowing oneself to engage in some or all kinds of sexual activity is called sexual abstinence. It could be for medical, social, legal, psychological, philosophical or religious reasons. Most people practice abstinence at some point in their life after puberty.
With regards to birth control, abstinence is the only method, which is 100 per cent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The debate rages between promoters of abstinence-only sex education and those, who prefer a comprehensive sex education policy with information on birth control and safe sex. According to the promoters, abstinence is the only way out from the problem of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. They believe that all other methods are bound to fail, so, why take a risk at all. Thus, they say it is proper to instruct the teens to abstain from sex till marriage.
In countries which have high rates of teen pregnancy and STDs, such as USA, many abstinence-only sex education programmes are active there. They also try to instil moral values stating that it is morally unjustified to have sex before marriage. The main target of such programmes is the youth, particularly teens.
Advantages of Sexual Abstinence
A lot of young people as well as adults are looking to turn a new leaf in their life, by resolving to abstain from sex. Their reasons vary but even some people, who have had sex before, have started to resolve not to have sex. Most of them have some emotional or physical concerns, leading them to this decision.
The level of abstinence that a person aspires to have varies. It could mean:
- abstaining from vaginal sex only,
- abstaining from vaginal, oral and anal sex, and
- avoiding all sexual behaviour including masturbation and even kissing.
These approaches have different benefits, such as:
- Abstaining from vaginal intercourse ensures that there is no unwanted pregnancy. It is also very effective in preventing STDs. But there is still good risk of STDs, including HIV with anal and oral sex.
- Abstaining from all forms of sex including anal and oral is the only way of ensuring that you are completely guarded from the risk of unwanted pregnancy, as well as STDs.
- Abstaining from all forms of sex is believed to result in better long-term health. Teen girls reduce their risk of cervical cancer by abstaining from sex, while boys can steer clear from the risk of STDs that persist even if condoms and other safe sex methods are used.
Injunctions on sexual acts are a part of every religion and more or less every society. Complete sexual abstinence is also practiced for varying reasons.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Jul 20, 2012
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