Think about this: Most young people (and some adults) have sex in hopes of meeting some need or obligation. How likely is it that having sex will actually fulfill that need or obligation?

Researchers have often asked sexually active young people why they choose to have sex. For these young people (especially younger adolescents), having sex is often a means to a different end. Different young people report different reasons, depending on their gender, economic status, family situation, or other factors.

Some of their reasons include: having sexual intercourse is expected to be part of a relationship, peer pressure from friends or dating partner, to prove maturity, to satisfy curiosity and to experiment, to satisfy sexual urges and derive sexual pleasure, to express or prove love to a boy/girlfriend, belief that everyone is engaging in sexual activity, lack of parental guidance, lack of knowledge, information and tips on abstinence, lack of knowledge about the consequences of engaging in sexual intercourse, pressure or force from an older adult, and many other reasons.

Many adolescents engage in sexual activities without knowing the consequences that follow such as teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, emotional problems, limited education, birth complication, etc.

Therefore, to be totally free of all the consequences of engaging in sexual behaviors during adolescence, it is advised to practice Abstinence.

WHAT IS ABSTINENCE?

To abstain is to deliberately hold oneself back. Abstaining may require an effort of self-denial, or it may be perfectly comfortable – even a relief. Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from sexual behaviour. Abstaining from sex is the surest way to guide against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. As an adolescent, you might think sexual abstinence is only about not engaging in vaginal intercourse, but engaging in all other forms of sexual activity that would probably not lead to pregnancy. But total sexual abstinence is refraining from all types of sexual activities.

SOME MYTHS ABOUT SEXUAL ABSTINENCE:

-It may cause stomach ache

-There is a high risk of not being able to procreate in future

-Those who abstain are not normal

-It makes child delivery difficult

-It makes menstruation painful

-Abstinence can make the testicles burst

-It is not possible to stop sexual intercourse once it is started

-It causes early menopause in women

-It causes swollen testicles

-It causes impotence and infertility

-It leads to anti-social behaviour

-Abstinence causes the development of breasts or swollen and painful nipples in boys

HOW CAN I PRACTICE ABSTINENCE?

It is still possible to practice sexual abstinence even if you have had sexual intercourse. Abstinence requires a conscious decision and effort to avoid sexual activities and for an adolescent to abstain, you have to:

-Get accurate information

-Be assertive

-Refuse (make sure you use the word “No”)

-Use appropriate body language to reinforce your verbal “No”

-Say “No” properly—Say something caring (advice the person about abstinence)

-Do not be apologetic

-Build your self-esteem

-Clarify your values

-Stay focused

-Choose your friends wisely

-Remind yourself why you chose to be abstinent

-Think about the consequences

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