Abstinence Tips!

I get email:

So I’m nearly sixteen and I want to stay abstinent with my boyfriend until I’m ready and mature enough. Although sometimes it’s really hard to do so, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to stay abstinent. He respects my decision but I know he feels ready for sex so it’s hard for us to stay abstinent when we’re alone together. We love each other and don’t want this to ruin what we have :)

-M

Sounds like you’ve already taken the first step to get your needs met: talking about it. The mutual understanding that you have with your boyfriend is one of the most powerful tools you can use to keep your body in touch with your mind until you’re ready. When your ready, sex can be a creative force…not a destructive one! :)

Here are a few tips if you don’t think you are ready to introduce sex into your life/relationship yet:

1. Keep talking about your decision – keep updating each other on where you’re at with your readiness. This will also help to prepare you for a healthier sexual relationship when that time comes!

2. Keep your underwear on – underwear can be a good place to draw the line if you’re not ready.

3. Keep yourselves busy – if you don’t want to have sex, try to avoid situations that would be ideal for doing so.

4. Use alternative practices – if you’re ready for it, masturbating together is a fun, safe way to obtain sexual release without sex. In the same vein is making out, strip teasing, and massages.

5. Take a stance on drugs and alcohol in sexual situations – these can impair your judgment. Decide in advance if you want to use them.

6. Question yourself – if you’re having a hard time in the moment, remind yourself of the reasons why you feel you are not ready to have sex.

7. Pick a clear time for re-evaluation - consider choosing not to make any decisions about what you’re ready for while you’re in the moment with your boyfriend.

And don’t forget, when you decide that the time is right for you, protect yourself. :)

Other folks have tips of your own? Post them below!

Best,

22 thoughts on “Abstinence Tips!

  1. hey M and laci (:
    my boyfriend and i are abstinent for 4 months since i said i was ready, he told me he was too but that we could wait just to make our relationship stronger, i said yes and loved even more for that decision, we do several things instead of having sex like massages, it is great

  2. I was never in anything remotely like these situations, but I wonder why the belief is that avoiding something pleasant, giving, and stress-relieving is supposed to make you get along BETTER.

    My historical assumption was that this was yet another sex-negative teaching from the Authoritative side of the spectrum. I do however freely admit that it IS an assumption, and I’m curious to hear thoughts on the subject.

    • Yes, it is a sex-negative societal pressure to adhere to abstinence, especially in religious groups and people with strict upbringings, but if you jump into a relationship willing to have sex with that person, at least from my experience, it brings your self-esteem and that person’s opinion of you crashing down and can be a sex-negative experience all in itself. This has happened to me 3 times so far and in comparison, doing other things to bring you closer is much better. Sex is enjoyable and a human need, but so is companionship.

      • I’ve always seen it that if you are a person who will have sex or do sexual things with a companion early on in the relationship, then you should find someone who shares this opinion. There are many people who will not start a relationship with someone unless they experience something sexual together (not necessarily intercourse), because to them having a sexual connection is just as important as an emotional one. This of course depends on the person, but it is important to find someone who holds sex along the same level as you in a relationship.

        • That’s exactly what I was saying; I’ve been in relationships where the sex started right out of the gate, and I’ve been in relationships where it happened later, and without fail, every one of the “waiting” relationships was a disaster. Thus my difficulty understanding the common assumption.

          I certainly understand the necessity of waiting until you feel safe and/or comfortable with the person, and I understand the necessity to wait long enough to know whether this person is JUST in it to get laid… But it seems many people want to spend time avoiding sex for the sole purpose of avoiding sex. It seems to me that they might as well leave that bit the marriage, because the fact is that many many MANY people way until they are GUARANTEED to get hurt if (i.e. when) they find out they are sexually incompatible.

          • Religious and societal expectations aside, I think it all boils down to personal choice. When I say choice, I mean the choice of when it should happen. It’s known that life is all about sex and girls can get sex just like that. Thus, the question of, ‘when should I do it with X?’ while in romance will arise. Assuming that one has intentions to have a healthy, romantic relationship, definitely not an hour into the date, right?

            Come on, we’re humans. Rationality has to bring us through our friendships and love connections, not irrationality.

            Some people may get even more attached to a certain someone when sex occurs. Possible factors: Belief, power over one’s chastity, societal values, etc. Simply put: People want to be reasonable with themselves about sex.

            As for those who abstain for a while when already in a relationship, it could be a matter of self-confidence (about one’s capability of handling such a responsibility) and maturity. There are those who accept their lack of knowledge and prefer to play it safe by being more informed, or more experienced in life, before they venture into a completely different place. Sex is an entire different ball game with relationships. It’s not just a fuck-and-done thing for SOME, because sex is not as simple as that. For whatever reason it may be.

      • Actually, sex is not a need. A need is something you must have in order to live such as water, food, shelter and so on. You will not die if you don’t have sex. Just sayin

          • But it’s true. Asexuals don’t die because they don’t have sex. I haven’t died yet because I haven’t once had sex in my 19 years.

            Food and water, on the other hand, is a universal need. Everyone dies if they don’t get those things.

        • Finally someone who agrees with me! :) I wish people wouldn’t be so focused on having sex… in my personal opinion, building a relationship should come first. I think its much more important to spend time with the person you love and just have fun… sex will come when it’s time.

    • It can be important to at least avoid sex for awhile at the start of a new relationship, as sex is one of the most personal things you can have with another person (but not the only thing). Instead, its important to focus on activities that help you learn about the other person’s personality and such, so that the relationship can become a bit stronger. That way, if say two or three months into it you decide that its just not going to work out, at least you haven’t made yourself completely vulnerable to that person by opening yourself up sexually. It just makes the process of starting a new relationship a bit emotionally safer.

  3. It seems that there are other things in life that are pleasant, giving, and stress-relieving that strengthen a relationship more appropriately than sex (I mean “more appropriately” because I believe sex has a greater and more important meaning than pleasant and stress-relieving).

    For example: making effort to get along with the other’s family, cooking the other’s favorite meal, giving a nice calming massage, or serving your community together. Those are all pleasant, giving, and stress-relieving activities that are very good for a relationship.

    My experience has been that sex has an indelible unitive character. Sex has the capacity to bring two people together in a way that has long lasting effects. In the case of someone you are committed to for the rest of your life, this effect is welcome and strengthening. In the case of a relationship whose future is not clear, maybe not so welcome! There is also the procreative meaning of sex (at least heterosexual sex), which incidentally, is also a unitive meaning. The new life is a permanent sign of the union experienced by the parents.

    So I’m thinking if you are going for pleasant, giving and stress-relieving, try baking cookies for the nursing home residents. If you are going for long lasting, permanent union that could potentially start a family, try sex.

  4. Oh hey that’s my email!! Thanks soooo much Laci, appreciate it tons <3 And I don't think of sex negatively at all! I was afraid that if we did have sex when I wasn't ready it would mess somethings up for us because at the moment I don't feel ready. I'm not abstinent for religious reasons or because society pressure, it's just a personal choice that I would like to wait until I'm ready and able to handle all that comes with sex.:)

  5. I agree with the people that said you have to find someone who views sex the same you do. Sex is very important to me in a relationship. Not just intercourse, but other kinds. When I first started seeing my boyfriend, I made my thoughts on the matter clear.
    Don’t ever rush into things. Sex can not be important to some, but it can be extremely important to others. There is nothing wrong with waiting to have sex if it is your personal choice.
    I honestly respect those who can be abstinent and wait till they are ready. I wasnt ready when I first had sex and was completely pressured into it. I don’t want any girl or guy to have to go through that.
    Great post laci. :)

  6. Dear M-
    I agree with Laci’s points the most. When you and your boyfriend/man are ready for sex, you’ll know it for sure. It won’t just be a temptation. Also, remember, there is the internet, so you can always do some extra research just to see what’s available to keep you (and him) satisfied until you’re both ready.

    TO JAMES:
    I agree that is is a negative pressure to not have sex when there are clearly a lot of benefits to fornication. However, I like to keep my body as unused until I’m actually involved with someone I particularly feel passionate for! I just like the idea that not many people get to touch me, and that is at least one special thing I can provide for my lady.

  7. I’m 22 and engaged … When I was younger I decided to stay a virgin until my wedding night. – it isn’t for everyone but I have never once been tempted to go all the way. If it is something you say you aren’t going to to then don’t do it. It is all about how serious and committed you are to your own goals. I have truly never struggled with this.

  8. I am a strong Catholic who has always planned to wait for marriage because of the meaning of sex to me. Create boundaries, talk about them and make sure you both feel comfortable saying no, or stopping things if it starts to go to far. That trust that comes with knowing your (or their) wishes are being respected helps create a strong bond. From this, when it is time to finally go all the way, confidence is higher and doubts are lessened.

    Figure out what sex means for you in every aspect (physically, emotionally, spiritually etc.) from there decide what you are open to accepting, look at the consiquences if thing don’t go well. Talk about this, talk about alternative “entertainment” possibilities that you would be open to. Respect and keep communication open. Re-evaluate every once in a while.

    One last thing, decide during your conversations if a yes that is said when already intimate is to be taken as a yes, or should it wait until things cool down and it can be said with an clear head

  9. My boyfriend and I have been together since I was 15 and he was 17. It’s been four years and we still haven’t had sex (although we are planning on it in the next month or so as I join him at college). At first I wasn’t ready and then he went off to school and I wanted to be 18 and graduated. Now we want to have privacy at his apartment at school so we can not worry about privacy. I still don’t know how we’ve waited this long. haha But we definitely made sure to compensate with basically everything but penetration. It wasn’t a religious or “sex-negative” thing; I just wanted to be an adult and have privacy.

  10. Its interesting, I’m not religious at all, but I was way more conservative in high school when the rest of my area was religious because I was so worried about doing the wrong thing. I mean, it was bad enough I was already going to hell in the eyes of everyone there. It was some of the things my mom told me that got me thinking about things differently. She passed on advice someone gave her when she was my age, and that was to never have sex in high school because you’ll never lose your label as a “slut” in our society. The other thing was she said she wasn’t sure why I was so bent on waiting until marriage because that’s “a religious ritual” and I’m not religious.

    As a college student now, I do deal with a lot of social anxiety. I’m constantly worried about what people think, which is partly a result of being bullied. Of the relationships I’ve been in since college, I did wait until I felt comfortable with what I was doing before engaging on any level of physical contact. Because of my anxiety and insecurity issues, waiting longer in a relationship before having sex has been a good thing for me. My reasons is I want to be able to grow with a person on different levels, and be sure they respect me as a human being and not just for my body.

    Everyone has their reasons for waiting. I just really like to be comfortable with a person before I consider, and on another level comfortable with myself. And there are some relationships I’m glad it never went as far as sex (one in particular after 3 months, and constantly pushing me physically, we went not quite as far as sex, but still out of my comfort range and then he broke up with me the next week saying he didn’t actually love me…I felt like a sexual object instead of a human being on top of being deceived, it was awful).

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