self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities

Abstinence is a voluntary forbearance from indulging a desire or appetite for certain bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to abstention from sexual intercourse, alcohol, or types of food.

Abstinence-only programs have not demonstrated successful outcomes with regard to delayed initiation of sexual activity or use of safer sex practices. ~ American Academy of Pediatrics
I'm against abstinence programs because I really consider "abstinence only" child abuse. ~ Joycelyn Elders
We found, as have others, that sexual debut after marriage is not the norm. ~ Theo G.M. Sandfort, Mark Orr, Jennifer S. Hirsch, and John Santelli


  • Programs that have linked educational curricula with access to reproductive health services and comprehensive community-based interventions have also documented reductions in pregnancy rates. Despite these findings, among the 69% of public schools that provide district-wide sexuality education, 14% treat abstinence as an option for adolescents, 51% teach abstinence as the preferred option for adolescents but permit discussion about contraception as an effective means of protection against unintended pregnancy and STDs (an abstinence-plus policy), and more than1 in 3 (35%) teach abstinence only, with discussion of contraception prohibited or limited to discussion of its lack of effectiveness.
  • Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
  • When I started, someone told me that you should be with a lover the night before so you look all secure and soft out there. But for downhill you should reserve your strength. That's one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. You need to be loose in sports to do well, not all knotted up.
    • Suzy Chaffee, as quoted in Women & Sports (1979) by Janice Kaplan.
  • I'm against abstinence programs because I really consider "abstinence only" child abuse.
  • All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
    • Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 19:11-12.
  • Self denial is not a virtue: it is only the effect of prudence on rascality.
  • Contrary to the suggestions of proponents of [[w:Abstinence onlyabstinence-only education, we found that both early and late initiators are more likely to experience problems with sexual functioning than those who initiate sexual activity at a normative age. Such a finding in regard to late initiation lends credence to research showing that abstinence-only education may actually increase health risks and that strategies designed to promote relevant sexual health information, motivation, and skills are likely to be more effective than abstinence-only messages in helping young people avoid short- as well as long-term health consequences. In-depth knowledge of sexual initiation patterns and health outcomes and how they are affected by individual, social, and structural factors, including exposure to sexual education programs, is urgently needed to inform adolescent health policies and programs.
  • Usez, n'abusez point […] L'abstinence ou l'excès ne fit jamais d'heureux.
    • Translation: Use, do not abuse […] Neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.
    • Voltaire, "Cinquième discours: sur la nature de plaisir", Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme (1738).

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: