Over half of teens in the United States are not having sex. In California, that number is even lower. Less than one third of California teens reported ever having sex and less than a quarter of California teens reported being currently sexually active. More and more teens are choosing abstinence.
What is abstinence?
Abstinence is choosing to not have sex. Different people define abstinence in different ways but because any type of sex can spread STDs, we define abstinence as not having any type of sex- oral, vaginal, and anal.
How effective is abstinence?
If someone chooses to not have any type of sex or sexual contact, it is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and STDs! Pregnancy is caused by sperm meeting with an egg in a uterus so by choosing to not have vaginal sex, sperm can’t get to an egg and cause a pregnancy. Some STDs can be spread through skin to skin contact so in order to be 100% effective at preventing STDs, abstinence has to include all types of sexual contact, sometimes called “outercourse”. Choosing to not have sex but have “outercourse” only is a great way to protect against pregnancy and STDs, just remember it may not be 100% effective!
Why choose abstinence?
People choose abstinence for many reasons! It is the best way to protect against STDs and pregnancy and this piece of mind can help a couple or individual focus on their relationship and goals! Abstinence is also free and easy. Someone may not feel ready to have sex or may be waiting for the right time in their life to start having sex.
What if I have had sex before?
You can choose abstinence at any time, even if you have had sex before. People may choose abstinence at different times in their life and for different reasons.
What if I want to choose to have sex?
Many people choose to have sex at some point in their life. If you are choosing to have sex, you can use a condom and get tested to protect against STDs. There are also many birth control options you can use, so find the one that is right for you! For condoms, STD testing, and birth control, find a clinic near you!