Abstinence means not having sex: oral, anal, or vaginal. It means keeping things from getting too hot and heavy, or getting to any of those “later bases.” And for a lot of people, it works! They might decide to be abstinent for emotional reasons (not feeling ready), cultural/religions reason, physical reasons, or mental reasons (they don’t want to deal with the whole birth control/safe sex thing yet). Whatever the reason, it’s super important to respect that.
Our culture seems to put sex in every advertisement, in every movie and video game, and it’s everywhere on the internet. Sometimes it might seem like everyone is doing it! In reality, that just isn’t true. Lots of teens and young adults wait until they are ready, and they spend their time and energy on other great stuff, like social lives, school, work, and family time.
Relationships don’t necessarily mean having sex, either. There are lots of affectionate things couples can do without “going all the way.” In fact, anything that doesn’t involve actual penetration is technically abstinence, though it’s pretty important to get informed about STIs if the clothes are going to come off.
Questions? Talk to your local teen clinic about making the choice to be abstinent. And remember: once you’ve had sex, it doesn’t mean you have to keep having it either… abstinence can be your style at any time!