It is nearly impossible to maintain your decision to be abstinent if sexual abstinence is the only standard you set. Learn from people who have tried that philosophy; it does not work. Sex often happens “in the heat of the moment.” If you put yourself in situations that are conducive to sex, chances are you will have sex sooner or later. Set a standard ahead of time that you will not be with someone of the opposite gender in a situation where it is easy to have sex. Examples of this might be:
- Being alone together in a building
- Lying on the bed together
- Going to secluded places together
- Sneaking off together
- Sitting together in a parked car
- Getting together when you don’t have any plans
These situations may be perfectly innocent, but given the right conditions, they can easily lead to sex. If you avoid situations like these, you are helping yourself avoid the temptation to have sex.
Set your own boundaries. The Greek philosopher Socrates had a life principle: “Know Thyself.” This is such good advice! Know yourself! Know the things that will tempt you to have sex. We are all tempted in different ways. Understand that everyone is tempted to have sex, but it is quite possible to avoid and resist the temptation. Set your standards based on your weaknesses. If you are susceptible to a partner who pressures you to have sex, don’t date someone who is okay with sexual activity. If you need help setting standards like this, make an appointment to come speak with a peer counselor at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. Your future is exciting, and by setting boundaries, you help protect your future from crisis pregnancies, abortions, and STDs.
Reasons to Wait. Abstinence is often encouraged because it is a definite way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. There are several other reasons to choose abstinence:
“Waiting for sex is a decision that’s packed with positive benefits. Even if you’ve already had sex, it’s not too late to decide to wait to have sex again. Instead of struggling with emotions like regret or depression, waiting gives you the chance to feel:
• Free. Your whole future is ahead of you. Without the worries of STIs, pregnancy or emotional entanglements, you are free to explore and experience all that life has in store for you on your terms and your timeline.
• Independent. The strongest people are leaders, not followers. So what if it seems like everyone else is having sex! (By the way, they’re not.) Show your leadership by making independent decisions. When something is hard to do and takes determination, it usually means it will have great rewards.
• Loved. You are worth waiting for. Someone who really cares about you wants the best for you and wants to know and love you as a whole person. When someone loves you so much that they are willing to wait for sex, it’s a strong statement about just how special they think you are.
• Respected. You earn respect by standing out, not blending in. When your convictions are strong enough to endure pressure, you will gain self-respect and the respect of others.
• Healthy. It’s hard to appreciate good health until you’re sick. But you can be sure it feels a whole lot better knowing you’re not infected. Feeling healthy can positively affect your entire outlook on life.
• Happy. Enjoy this exciting time of life! Without the worry of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, you can focus on your friends, family, sports, music, and other activities you enjoy.
• Hopeful. You have so much to look forward to. Waiting to have sex until you are in a lifelong, committed relationship such as marriage will allow you to enjoy all the benefits that sex can bring. In the meantime, get out there and passionately pursue your interests, knowing that healthy choices will help keep you on track for success.”1
“Brain Chemicals. Did you know that sex releases certain chemicals in your brain that change the way you think? These chemicals are called hormones. The hormones released during sex work to bond you like super glue to your partner. There’s one for males and one for females. The same female hormone is released after birth to bond a mother to her new baby.
“When you have sex with someone, it’s like gluing two pieces of paper together. If you tried to tear those pages apart, the break wouldn’t be a clean one. The same kind of thing happens when there’s a breakup in a sexual relationship. One or both people end up hurt in the separation. If this happens over and over, you can have trouble bonding to someone you want to start a family with later on.”1
1 “It’s Just Sex, Right? The Emotional Impact of Early Sexual Activity.” (2007). The Medical Institute: Austin, TX.