Abstinence is refraining from oral, anal and vaginal sex and is 100% effective in STI and pregnancy prevention when used consistently and correctly.
When continuously practiced, abstinence is 100% effective. Abstinence works by keeping the fluids that may contain STIs from touching sexual partners and prevents pregnancy by keeping the sperm from entering the vagina.
You can say “no” to vaginal sex, oral sex, and/or anal sex at any point in your life. Sometimes people who have had sex decide to practice abstinence later. Because abstinence means different things to different people, it is important to talk with your partner before, during and after your decision to engage in sexual activity.
Having Fun with Abstinence
Masturbating alone or with someone else can be an effective way to relieve sexual feelings. Remember, in order to prevent STI transmission, keep all sexual fluids from entering the other person’s body (this includes cuts or sores).
Outercourse, also called “sex play,” can be a variety of activities including body-to-body rubbing or “humping,” kissing various body parts, or fantasy by reading stories, sex talk, or looking at pictures. Keep in mind, some STIs can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.
Sex toys include dildos or vibrators and can be used alone or with a partner. If you are sharing a sex toy that gets inserted into a vagina or anus, be sure to cover it with a condom and change the condom before switching partners. It is also important to wash sex toys between uses.