Every day, young people make choices that affect their health, and their choices about sexual behaviors are among the most important. Being abstinent—choosing not to have sex—is the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy. It also lowers the risk for sexually transmitted disease (STD), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Explore our extensive line of abstinence materials below.
ETR offers an extensive line of abstinence materials as well as materials appropriate for abstinence-only education programs, from pamphlets to videos, posters to curricula. Our consistent message across these products honors human sexuality and reinforces abstinence as the healthiest choice for teens. Our materials help youth acquire the skills to resist sexual pressure and make healthy decisions about relationships.
Support for sex education in middle and high school is remarkably high among likely voters in the United States, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Planned Parenthood. There’s strong support for sex education to include a comprehensive range of topics: birth control methods, HIV and STDs, puberty, consent, healthy relationships, sexual orientation and abstinence.
Attraction, love and sexual feelings have always been part of young people’s lives. But in the contemporary landscape, media and technology give young people new ways to communicate and make connections. It’s even more vital for young people to think carefully about their values and make responsible choices around sex. The choices they make about abstinence and sexual behaviors can have a huge impact on their lives.
Abstinence can be defined in different ways. Some young people believe that if they don’t do anything that puts them at risk for pregnancy they are being abstinent. They might believe that abstinence can include oral or anal sex. Others might think of sexual petting and open-mouth kissing as forms of sexual activity that aren’t allowed if a person is abstinent.
Problems can arise when people are confused about how to define abstinence or aren’t clear with their partners about what they mean by it. For example:
Young people may have heard that abstinence will protect them from STD. But if they think abstinence only means avoiding vaginal intercourse, they could get an STD from oral or anal sex or genital touching.
Couples may have conflicts if one partner believes that abstinence allows oral sex, while the other doesn’t.
Teens may experience peer pressure to accept a broader view of abstinence that allows some risky activities.HYPERLINK "https://www.etr.org/store/product/not-ready-for-sex-talking-with-your-partner/"
It helps everyone when abstinence is clearly defined. Being clear helps young people talk to their peers and partners. They can discuss what they expect and set limits in a relationship. Being clear helps young people talk to their parents. Our materials offer useful conversation starters for parents and their children.
People may choose to be abstinent at different times over the course of their lives. Most teens are abstinent. Many teens who have had a sexual relationship follow it with a period of abstinence. Adults might be abstinent after a relationship or marriage ends, during a period of illness, or when sex wouldn’t feel right in a relationship.
People may also choose to be abstinent when they want to take time to focus on themselves, without the demands or distractions of a sexual relationship. Our materials respect the fact that abstinence is a normal part of everyone’s life.