How to Practice Abstinence

Three Parts:Staying FocusedDealing with Your PartnerCoping with Sexual Urges

Sexuality has been more than emphasized in today's society. TV, radio, Internet, books, magazines and media in general. Practicing abstinence can be difficult. By staying focused, talking to romantic partners, and finding healthy ways to cope with sexual urges you can successfully practice abstinence.

Part 1
Staying Focused

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    Remind yourself why you chose abstinence. It can be difficult to stay abstinent in a sexually driven world. If you feel yourself doubting your decision, try reminding yourself why you chose abstinence to begin with. This can help strengthen your resolve.
    • People choose abstinence for different reasons. Some people choose to remain abstinent due to religious beliefs. Others simply do not feel ready for the complications of sex. Some people have previously engaged in sexual activity and, for whatever reason, want to stop having sex for a period of time. Whatever your reason, it should be respected if it feels right for you.[1]
    • It can sometimes help to write thoughts out. Periodically journaling the reasons you chose abstinence can help remind yourself that you made the right choice.[2]
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    Think of the advantages of abstinence. When you're feeling weak or pressured, remind yourself of all the advantages of abstinence. This can help you feel secure in your decision.
    • In regards to personal health, abstinence has many benefits. It is the only 100% foolproof method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In terms of mental health, abstinence eliminates the anxiety and depression than can accompany having sex too soon or with the wrong person.[3]
    • Abstinence can also strengthen the emotional aspects of a romantic relationship. When you're not focused on the physical aspects of the relationship, this can sometimes result in deeper conversations. You might end up getting to know your partner better by waiting to have sex.[4]
    • Many people also find when they're not so hyper-focused on sexual activity they end up concentrating on their career, school, or outside projects more.[5]
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    Stay strong during sexually charged situations. Unfortunately, you cannot entirely avoid sex in modern society. Sexually charged movies and television shows are the norm. If you're dating someone, you may occasionally find things getting heavy physical. During such sexually charged moments, remember to stay strong.
    • If a situation is difficult, it's okay to remove yourself for a moment. If a television show is very sexual, change the channel. If you're making out with your partner and feel tempted, pause for a moment.[6]
    • If you feel tempted to have sex, asking yourself a few questions can help. What will happen if I have sex with this person? Will I really feel good about myself? Is this truly worth breaking my commitment to abstinence? Am I really ready to have sex? Is this person making me feel pressured?[7]
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    Seek support. It can be helpful to network with like-minded people to help you stay focused. Seeking out support from others who practice abstinence can help.
    • If you're practicing abstinence for religious reasons, many churches offer weekly meetings or occasional seminars to discuss the benefits of abstinence. Try attending some of these meetings and see if you can exchange phone numbers with fellow churchgoers. You can engage in activities outside of church that can help keep your minds off sex.
    • There are many forums online where you can discuss abstinence. If you're shy about discussing your decision in person, going online can help. This can also be helpful if you're not necessarily practicing abstinence for religious purposes.

Part 2
Dealing with Your Partner

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    Be transparent about your decision and boundaries. If you get involved in a romantic relationship, you need to make your boundaries clear. Talk to your partner about why you're choosing to practice abstinence and make your expectations and boundaries clear.
    • It's important to be as straightforward as possible. Many people do not understand why someone would practice abstinence and how they manage to keep sexual desires in check. Explain to your partner why practicing abstinence is important to you, what reasons you have for doing so, and how abstinence will affect your romantic relationship.[8]
    • There are different levels of abstinence. Some people do not want any physical contact, including kissing and hand-holding. Others allow kissing, making out, and some light touching but no activity that could lead to orgasm. Some people practice an "everything but" approach, only abstaining from activities that involve genital to genital contact or penetration. Explain to your partners where your boundaries lie and what is and is not acceptable contact on your terms.[9]
    • Your partner might be unsure how to support you, so talk about what you like to do instead of having sex. Talk about planning fun date nights that limit sexual temptation. Things like hiking together, volunteering together, and attending events with friends and family members can help you both avoid temptation and respect one another's boundaries.[10]
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    Find other ways to be intimate. There are way to intimate that do not involve sexual activity. The following activities can be fun ways to feel intimate with your partner without engaging in sex:
    • Taking time to talk can help. Without the pressure to fill time with sex, you can spend late nights sharing stories and discussing ideas and opinions on a wide variety of topics.[11]
    • Touching can help with intimacy. Snuggling, holding hands, kissing, and generally remaining physically connected to your partner can foster feelings of intimacy without sexual activity.[12]
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    Recognize disrespect. Abstinence is sometimes looked down on. If your partner is being disrespectful, it is not worth your time or energy to stay with this person. Know how to recognize signs of disrespect.
    • No one should ever pressure you into having sex. If your partner says things like, "If you loved me, you would sleep with me" or "If we're not having sex, people with think there's something wrong with you" then you're being pressured. If even your partner does not share your views on abstinence, he or she should acknowledge your boundaries without judgment.[13]
    • If you're in a situation where you're being continually pressured, especially in a judgmental way, it's best to end the relationship. You should not stay with someone who does not respect your values.[14]

Part 3
Coping with Sexual Urges

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    Masturbate. Masturbation can be an easy way to deal with sexual desires without having sex. Regular masturbation can be a healthy activity that can help you stay abstinent.
    • Masturbation can be good for mental and physical health. People who masturbate regularly tend to be more comfortable with their bodies and have lower stress levels. You will also be more familiar with the workings of your body. This means you're more likely to be able to detect abnormalities in your genitals.[15]
    • People can masturbate with their hands alone via rubbing, touching, or otherwise fondling their genitals. There is no right or wrong way to do so. Simply follow what feels good to you. You can also use toys, such as dildos, to enhance the experience. These can be purchased online or at sex shops.[16]
    • Sexual fantasies can enhance the experience of masturbation. You can watch pornography or read erotica to help you get in the mood.[17]
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    Channel sexual energy into other activities. Many people find channeling build up sexual energy into other activities helps them deal with urges. You can try some of the following and see if it helps:
    • Dance
    • Exercise
    • Shop
    • Cook
    • Play video games
    • Any other activities you enjoy[18]
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    Engage in sensual, but non sexual, activities. You and your partner can engage in sensual activities without having sex. While some people find such activities too tempting, if you're able to avoid succumbing to sexual urges it may be helpful to you to try some of the following:
    • Deep, passionate kissing
    • Cuddling
    • Showering together
    • Mutual masturbation[19]


  • Communication is important in a relationship. Be open to your partner about your sexual desires and how they change over time.
  • Abstinence rings or bracelets may serve as a reminder throughout your day of that you need to stay focused on your goal.
  • Don't be embarrassed, be confident. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be abstinent and you do not need to justify yourself to anyone.

Article Info

Categories: Reproductive Health