get the Edge on abstinence
Abstinence from sexual activity and alcohol, tobacco and drug use is part of a healthy lifestyle. Risky Behavior? No, not everyone is doing it.
Some people think that abstinence means never having fun… EVER. But all abstinence really means is to not do something you may want to do. That could include many things for many reasons – not eating certain foods for health reasons, not drinking alcohol because you have a family history of alcoholism, not spending money because you’re saving up for something, not smoking because you like being able to breathe, etc.
Sexual abstinence means waiting until marriage to have sex. Practicing any kind of abstinence requires self-control, which has historically been considered an important virtue for a successful life but has recently been downplayed in our culture. Lately people seem to think that the highest good is to be “true to yourself”, which they think means immediately indulging any impulse you might feel. On the contrary, abstinence doesn’t require that you deny or devalue your sexuality; in fact it shows more honor for your sexuality by recognizing it as something to be protected and preserved for the proper context.
Others think that it’s unreasonable to ask people, especially teenagers, to have the self-control to deny their natural impulses. They try to imply that anything “natural” should be obeyed not controlled. But when was the last time you saw one of these people wet their pants? That’s a natural impulse that we all know it’s best to control until you are in the right place and time. Why shouldn’t we be able to control our sexual impulses as well?
While “until marriage” may sound like practically forever, let’s get a little perspective on this. The average age of initial marriage in the United States is 26 years old. That gets even lower in more rural areas. And the payoff of sexual abstinence is that you have the rest of your married life to enjoy your sexuality without having to suffer the consequences of emotional baggage, STDs, or teen pregnancy. That sounds to me like a pretty good deal.