The word ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œAbstinence’ refers to an act of self-control. It is often used to refer to self-control in terms of sex. However, abstinence can also mean abstaining from other pleasures, such as drinking, eating meat, etc. Some consider abstinence as a mean word while for some others it is a higher state of mind that alone can help attain spiritual and intellectual achievements. Whatever abstinence means to different people, it has its own benefits when applied in the right context and by the right people. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.
The greatest benefit of sexual abstinence is the reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. STDs have long-term effects, especially, on the health of women. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common example of how STDs can play havoc with a woman’s life and health. PID’s can lead to spread of infection to other surrounding organs and even get into the bloodstream. This can lead to scarring of fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancies, and even infertility. Abstinent women also have reduced risk of cervical cancer, vaginal infections, and urinary tract infections. Also abstinence is considered a more healthy option of birth control. Pills and other methods come with their own risks and there is also the added risk of ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œtechnical failure’ in all these methods.
Throughout history, abstinence is also claimed to have several health benefits to men, especially in increasing their vitality. Preventing the loss of semen is believed to preserve vital nutrients such as lecithin and phosphorous, which are essential for the healthy development of the body. In addition to maintaining vitality and health, it is also believed to contribute towards intellectual prowess.
Adolescents and teenagers who abstain from sex at an early age are believed to perform better academically. Involving in sex and related activities at an early age or outside marriage, in addition to increasing the risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, also leads to dropping out of school or college, lower performance in studies, and thereby leads to lower income. Further, sex outside marriage or before marriage leads to relationship problems resulting in depression, guilt, loneliness, disappointment, emotional turmoil, family breakup, domestic or partner abuse, social disruptions, etc.
Abstinence among teenagers and adolescents ensures a healthier society. Premarital sex is quite a common thing today and it has its own problems. Such practices have resulted in higher drop outs from schools and colleges, more people going into lower income jobs due to interrupted education, unwanted pregnancies and the complications that follow, etc. Abstinence can solve all these problems and lead to a healthier generation ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬â€œ healthy both in mind and body to take on the challenges of their life. Preventing unwanted pregnancies means lesser homeless children, lesser delinquents, and lesser grown-up criminals. It’s often the family background that pushes people to a more aggressive, crime-prone life. All this can be prevented if teenagers and adolescents are taught the importance of abstinence as part of their sex-education classes.
A remarkable example of how abstinence can help society is the story of how Uganda saved its people from the brink of an AIDS epidemic. The policy they followed was called ABC ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬â€œ Abstinence, Be faithful, and Condoms. They realized that condoms are a last option when the first two fail to work. They relied more on abstinence and monogamy to help save their society from the clutches of AIDS and an impact they did make. From 21% HIV infection in 1991 to only 6% in 2000, they had come a long way, thanks to following the golden rule of abstinence ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬â€œ abstaining from sex before marriage and abstaining from sex outside marriage.
Thus, abstinence is not a bad thing. Some follow it because of their religion; some others follow it because of their attitude. Complete abstinence from sex all your life is not recommended and not possible for everyone. But exercising abstinence in the right context and in the right way has its share of benefits that all can enjoy, both as an individual and as a society as a whole.