Sexual abstinence is a very real option for many people, and it’s worth considering if it may be right for you at this stage in your life. It may be a personal choice, planned lifestyle or value system; there are many reasons people choose abstinence including:
- Religious beliefs of reserving sex for marriage
- Wanting to have a special and romantic honeymoon
- Feeling too young or inexperienced for sex
- Fear of getting sexually transmitted infections
- Not wanting to get pregnant
- Not wanting to disappoint parents or family members
- Wanting to find true love first
- Not wanting to get distracted from other goals like school, sports, career
These are just a few reasons; you may have your own that are just as valid or meaningful. In any case, knowing why you’ve chosen abstinence and feeling confident in your decision is very important as you meet others that don’t understand or agree with this choice. If you’ve chosen abstinence, you may feel that you are the only one not having sex…that is not true! Surround yourself with others that support you and encourage you, especially dating partners.
Developing a Healthy Relationship
Any healthy relationship includes mutual respect for what another thinks, feels and wants. When dating, it’s important that your partner respects your choice of abstinence because it’s important to you. Growing together into a loving and authentic relationship takes time, mutual support, respect and communication. Sex often interferes with the development of a lasting relationship because physical intimacy tends to be a detour from emotional intimacy.
When dating couples engage in sex, they often spend less time talking and sharing thoughts, feelings and dreams. They “feel” close and in love, but in actuality they have not invested in the communication required for emotional intimacy and their levels of trusting and understanding one another suffers. This is especially important as the couple strives to navigate their differences. If productive conflict resolution is replaced with sex, the issue gets put on the shelf and real solutions are not reached. Unresolved conflict eventually erodes or destroys a relationship.
Lasting, meaningful relationships require so much more than sex can deliver. Choosing abstinence allows critical relational areas to develop, or to identify that a relationship does not have the right elements to be long-term. If you are already having sex and recognize that your relationship needs work in other areas, you can still talk to your partner about abstinence. You might be surprised that he or she is open to exploring this option. It will give you a chance to focus on getting to know one another more deeply. It will also help to clarify if the relationship you are in is where you want to stay, especially if you discover that sex is the only thing keeping you together.
The Safest Option
Abstinence remains the only fully reliable way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The health, emotional, spiritual and relational benefits of abstinence are worth considering. Being sexually active comes with complications, now may be the time to keep your life simple.