(Information obtained from Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Handbook for Skill Development, Massachusetts Department of Social Services – click here to visit website)
There are many health and personal reasons which make abstinence an important option. Some of your reasons might include:
- Abstinence coincides with your personal values and beliefs.
- Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. (No other method of birth control is infallible.)
- Abstinence greatly reduces serious health risks like STD's and cervical cancer.
- Abstinence can show that you are a strong and mature person by not giving in to peer pressure. It can also show that you can exert control over your own impulses.
- Abstinence can help partners to develop a better friendship and evaluate their feelings for each other.
Abstinence might help prevent you from getting hurt emotionally. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have not compromised your values and that you've done nothing that you did not want to do.
At any point in your life, your choice of whether or not to have sex should be a conscious and informed decision. It is important that you evaluate whether or not you are ready and are aware of possible consequences. You should know how to reduce risks of pregnancy and STD's. Having sex should never be circumstantial. Before engaging in any kind of sexual relationship, you should ask yourself:
- Am I really ready? Is my partner ready?
- How do I feel about my relationship with my partner? Do we agree on its terms?
- Am I being influenced or pressured by a person or situation to make this decision?
- Is there anything which might interfere with my ability to make a good decision?
- Am I aware of the consequences of teen pregnancy? Am I aware of the potential risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS?
- Have I communicated clearly my feelings and concerns about having sex and the risks involved?
- Am I knowledgeable about the various methods for preventing STD infection and pregnancy?
- What other alternatives do I have?
- What are my values around sexuality and how do they influence my decision-making?
- Is this a good decision for me at this time?