Abstain – Don’t Do it
I love to use Google definitions. For example, take the word abstain. To abstain is to “refrain” from doing something. So then, what is it to “refrain? Well, let me Google that…
I can abstain from Algebra, and I can abstain from dishes and taking out the trash, working, and dieting! No problem. I can abstain from the obvious: drugs, harmful people, toxic things, anything with a warning. But let’s get real, you are reading a blog on ABC Life Choices’s page, so we are actually talking about abstaining from sex. “No, not sex!” …yes, sex!
Now you may be thinking about clicking the screen closed, but give me a minute.
Unless you are in a safe, monogamous marriage, sex is one big risk with the potential for deadly consequences. “But,” you say, “sex is a basic human need. Every person has the desire to enjoy a physical relationship with someone they care about.” In the context of marriage, sex can bring joy and pleasure to your life. But when sex is used in the wrong way, such as a tool to keep you together with someone, it may cause guilt, anxiety, depression, disease, jealousy and low self-esteem. Abstinence may sound like “less” of something, but is actually a “more” and “better” gift to come.
Check out this article which may help you decide when and with who you should choose to be sexually intimate.
We live in a culture that bombards us with the idea that having sex, with someone, anyone, brings pleasure and is good. In reality, it’s placing your body and soul at risk. Contracting an STD or STI, increasing your risk of infertility, or having an unintnended pregnancy, are the reasons to consider an abstinent lifestyle. Add to that, a potential break-up with your partner; the break-up may cause you emotional distress, distrust, regret and emptiness. Sex connects us in body and soul. That is what makes sex special, yet harmful, if we mishandle it.
IS IT GOOD TO ABSTAIN? (yep)
What is the answer to the question, “should I choose abstinence?” – well let’s look at the facts. I love statistics and assuming we could become one (a statistic), it is important to consider where we may end up. The human race is extremely sexually charged (thanks to TV, movies, advertisements, song lyrics and the internet which promote it) and active! The CDC reports women have an average of 4.3 partners and men an average of 6.6 partners. Meanwhile, the CDC adds, that 10.6% of women state having more than 15 partners and more than 21% of men state having more than 15 partners. All that sexual activity, with multiple partners, in a day and age where there is an enormous amount of STD/STI’s in the general population, increases risk. In fact, if you are sexually active, you have a 50% chance of getting an STD/STI!
Let’s consider these benefits of abstinence:
- Guaranteed not to get an unintended pregnancy.
- You will not get a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection.
- You don’t have to fear that after intimacy you will break up.
- Sex causes an emotional bond especially for women; when that bond is broken it can cause damage, hurt and emotional pain.
- Married people are happier, better off financially, more successful at work, fight less, tend to be better parents.
- You can focus on a deep, rich knowledge of the person you are dating. You will know they are dating YOU for you. If they break up with you because you won’t have sex, it’s the sex they want, not a relationship with you. There is always the partner that states, “If you really love me you would have sex with me.” Avoid this person. He (or she) is manipulating you. This is not THEM LOVING YOU. It’s them looking for their own self-gratification. Long-lasting relationships are based on trust and respect – this represents neither characteristic.
- A man may struggle to live out the lasting, sacrificial love required by a husband and father if he’s learned to quench his lust by taking from others. (FotF)
BUT I’M HAVING SAFE SEX (nope)
Safe sex = More sex = More risk
That’s because when you think you’re practicing “safe sex”, you become more sexually active which puts you at greater risk physically and emotionally.
Okay – so what? You are using protection? That is the only distinction between safe sex and unsafe sex. Did you know that Wikipedia calls safe sex, “harm reduction”? Harm reduction seems like risk. Did you know that birth control and condoms both fail and cannot protect you against bodily fluids? The misconception that certain vaccines will protect you is also misleading and confusing and promotes more sex. More “safe-sex” or “harm reduction” sex is still unsafe sex.
Check out this graph, which allows you to see the potential for STD/STI interaction based on the number of partners you and your partner have had. The first column represents you. The center icons represent how many potential people you are physically exposed to through multiple partners. The last column totals those exposures.
Safe sex is only safe in a monogamous marriage between two people that do not have a sexually transmitted disease or infection.
BUT WE LIVE TOGETHER? (…and)
Lets talk about those who live together. The stats are not compelling. In fact, they are downright discouraging. According to Heritage House, partners living together are:
- Twice as likely to have affairs.
- More likely to get an STD.
- More likely to break up.
- More likely to live in poverty.
Allow me to drill-down further…
- People that are sexually active and co-habitate are at greater risk for abortion. (LiveAction)
- People that are sexually active prior to marriage have a greater risk of divorce. (FotF)
- Only 40% of teen mothers finish high school, and less than 2% finish college by age 30. (NCSL)
- Children of teen mothers perform worse on many measures of school readiness, are 50% more likely to repeat a grade. Only about two-thirds of children born to teen mothers earn a high school diploma, compared to 81% of their peers with older parents (people that have children out-of-wedlock generally have lower wage earnings). (NCSL)
- “In the U.S. and 17 European countries, children born to cohabiting couples are 96 percent more likely to see their parents split by the time they are 12, compared to those who were born to married couples,” https://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/new-study-disproves-three-myths-cohabitation/
- When relationships end, emotional consequences may range from sadness to suicide. (Healthline)
Living together is not good for a relationship. If you are living with someone and already having a sexual relationship, it would be to your benefit to communicate these facts to your partner. Express your desire for a full commitment to a life-long relationship. Marriage is far more than “just a piece of paper”.
ABSTAIN and WAIT
Honestly, if you want a long-term monogamous relationship, the evidence shows that your BEST bet (there are no guarantees) is through marriage. Sex outside of marriage invites consequences. You may end up alone, faced with a pregnancy decision of parenting, adoption, or abortion. Plus, you may contract an STD or STI that could last indefinitely.
“YES” to ABSTINENCE?
Yes you can! You can succeed at a healthy, safe, monogamous relationship that is rewarding. Be ready to face challenges and be prepared to say “No”. Avoid situations where sex will be a temptation by spending time together in public, and in groups. Keep other friends around to hold you accountable. The most careful couples find themselves in compromising circumstances. When tempted, know what you will say and do to keep your commitment to abstain. You may need to remove yourself from the temptation.
When you are challenged, remember:
- Why you are choosing to be abstinent.
- What the consequences are of sex outside of marriage.
- What situations you should avoid.
- Alcohol and drugs may impair your decision.
- Be surrounded by supportive friends who encourage you with your choice.
- …and, call ABC Life Choices if you are feeling overwhelmed, 949 334 7722.
I’M NOT A VIRGIN
That’s okay. It’s not too late. Tomorrow isn’t here yet! There is no better time to start practicing abstinence than today. You can still set new boundaries. Let your significant other know you want to preserve the relationship and not complicate it. Your relationship can and will be more meaningful as you work to know each other in fresh new ways!
If you have questions or concerns about your situation, need advice on making these changes and commitments, call or make an appointment today. We would love to meet you.
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