Abstinence, also known as celibacy, has a different range of subjective meanings. However, abstinence normally imparts the will power to refrain from sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse also carries various meanings. For instance, some people consider engaging in any sexual activity, such as oral or anal sex, as breaching the fine line of abstinence. Due to this loosely defined notion, it's a good idea to express all personal boundaries with future partners before making physical contact. Clear communication will help convey acceptable behavior before getting intimately involved.
Before jumping to conclusions, first consider the hidden dangers of engaging in sexual intercourse. Even non-vaginal penetration hints at severe risks for contracting sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Sexually transmitted diseases, usually received when coming into contact with infected bodily fluids or broken epidermis, inflict a harsh range of symptoms, depending on the virulent strain of STD. In fact, there are roughly fifty different STDs spreading among the general population. Some of the symptoms will range from a mild, urinary burning sensation or vaginal discharge to a full-blown death sentence. Using a condom or dental dam will help lower the risk of contracting STDs.
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nine million infections occur every year. Young adults, ages 15 to 24, are considered to have the highest percentage of infections out of all age groups. The most common infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis (PDF), chancroid, the human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV/AIDS, genital warts and herpes, crabs, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PDF). Depending on the aggressiveness of the strain, the earliest stages of infection may not produce symptoms, which lead to severe problems if left untreated. Practicing abstinence will not only eliminate the risk of infection, but it will also protect against premature pregnancy. Keep in mind that not everybody has sex. Statistically, less than half of teens reported ever having sex as of 2005, and three-quarters of teens are not ashamed of retaining their virginity. Almost 70% of teens wish they had waited to have sex, instead of relinquishing their innocence at such an early age. To reinforce those facts, over 60% of college freshmen disagree with casual hook-ups and less likely agree with unprotect sex.
Aside from deterring life altering consequences, abstinence may also prove to reinforce personal preferences. Some reasons include waiting for the right person to have sexual intercourse with; after all, an intimate partnership often proves to enhance the sexual experience since performance tends to improve as interpersonal relationships strengthen. Taking the time to mourn over the loss of another, instead of aiming to use gratification to replace the grieving process will help increase the likelihood of a rapid recovery. Likewise, upholding moral and religious standards can solidify dedication to respective faiths. Practicing abstinence will also remove all legal repercussions stemming from child custody, child support, or even date-rape accusations in extremely rare cases. The only pitfall to abstinence hinges on will power, and the ability to live a satisfactory life without engaging in casual sexual affairs.
Today's society imparts the belief that nearly everybody engages in casual sex. Abstinence seems like a far-off challenge in comparison to just submitting to internal passionate desires. Advertisements in the entertainment, fashion, and sporting industries only further exacerbate this modern dilemma. Teenagers have it the worst, since the hormonal surge overtakes all matters of resistance, especially when limited physical contact and privacy combine together to create an irresistible scenario. "Sex sells," an exploited notion taken to the extreme, has presented a general attitude among the general population that it's OK to do "it." Unfortunately, this mentality has led to an AIDS pandemic with 5,000 people dying every day due to the infliction of this ferocious virus. Practicing abstinence guarantees protection against these debilitating diseases, and it's an achievable goal if thought came before sexual impulse. A couple of advisable actions to consider when making a vow to uphold abstinence include: finding a partner with the same values, finding friends, family, and support groups that actively encourage an abstinent lifestyle, and finding the proper education to reinforce instilled reasons to abstain from sexual intercourse.
Sexual abstinence advocacy groups are determined to inform teenagers and young adults about the benefits of living a celibate lifestyle. Some of these groups include the Pure Love Club, Real Love, Sex, Aids, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the PMSA Movement, Chastity, No More Money for Abstinent Only Until Marriage Programs, and Washington AIDS International Teens (WAIT). The general consensus behind most abstinent-only premarital support groups agree that the programs hold religious undertones. Others believe that the abstinent-only programs present a legitimate solution to the growing STD epidemic among the nation's young adult population. The American educational system has also presented confirmatory and counterarguments for abstinent-only programs, including studies that show pledges do not keep their vows after a certain amount of years have transpired, and studies that show abstinence really works. Despite the controversy, most parents concur with the educational strategies to implement abstinent-only programs to help inform teenagers and young adults about the pitfalls of living a sexually active lifestyle.
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