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revised Friday October 12 2007


What is abstinence and how does it work?

Abstinence means not having sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral sex). Abstinence means different things to different people. For some, kissing is the limit. For others, everything but vaginal or anal intercourse is the limit. Others have limits somewhere in between. If choosing abstinence, you and your partner will need to talk about setting your limits.

How effective is it?

Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing sexually transmitted infections (STI's) if there is no oral, anal or vaginal contact of any kind.

What do you need to do to use abstinence?

  • Decide what your limits are before you are in a sexual situation.
  • Talk with your partner about your limits.
  • You may wish to avoid situations where you feel pressured or unable to stick to your limits. For example, being at home alone with a partner, getting drunk or high or feeling pressured because "everyone is having sex" may alter your judgement.

Abstinence has many advantages that you may not have considered. These include:

  • no worries about getting pregnant
  • some protection against STI's (depending on your limits!)
  • no cost
  • no need to see a doctor
  • allowing you to focus on other things such as sports, school, friends, and to spend time on your relationship without having intercourse
  • no guilt about going against your religious beliefs or cultural practices.

If you decide to use abstinence, you may feel pressure from your friends and you may feel like you do not fit in with the crowd.

Feel good about what you do.
It's your decision.

It's a fact:
By grade 11, 50% of teens have not had sex. (Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study, 2003)

If you do decide to have some sexual activity, use condoms to help prevent the spread of STI's, HIV and Hepatitis B.

For more information, call 905-799-7700 and ask for Sexual Health Information.

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Revised: Friday October 12 2007

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