Not always easy…but doable
Deciding to abstain can be easier said than done. In our society, sex is literally everywhere, from magazine covers to billboards and from car ads to beer commercials. "Back in the day," only soap operas might feature sexually active characters. Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds. All Greg Brady might get after a date was a peck on the cheek. When Natalie lost her virginity to Snake on The Facts of Life, that was huge - and it was only 1988! Now, shows like Friends and Seinfeld, whose characters routinely jump from bed to bed, are considered "quaint." The personalities of characters on shows like Will and Grace, The OC and Sex and the City are virtually defined by their sex lives! All this makes it seem as if promiscuity is the societal norm. It isn't, nor should it be.
Media pressure makes living a modest life challenging enough. The added combination of teenage curiosity and raging hormones makes sexual urges very difficult to overcome. In order to be successful, be sure to avoid tempting or high-pressure environments such as houses with no one else at home and the back seats of cars. There are enough pressures in society that already make it difficult to abstain without adding more yourself. Recognizing the challenges you may face will help you better deal them. It may be hard, but you will find that abstinence can be far more rewarding than you imagine.
Following are some of the obstacles teens may face in their decision to abstain:
Time, time, time...
People start becoming sexually curious in their teen years. In previous generations, people generally married at much younger ages, so saving yourself for marriage meant only a few years. Today, teens are expected to finish high school, go to college and start a career before they get married. This could mean 10 or 15 years from the onset of puberty until marriage. It can be hard to resist the lure of one's hormones. (This is why many religious people date seriously and get married at younger ages than many other segments of the population.)
It's OK - we're engaged!
Sometimes, couples who planned to wait until marriage feel that, since they're engaged, it's "close enough." Why wait until the wedding day if we're already committed, right?" Wrong. Religious issues aside, there is the practical reality that engagements do get called off. How would you feel if you saved yourself for marriage, gave in to temptation during the engagement, then broke it off? Giving in during the engagement still does yourself a disservice.
A quick stop at the drug store
Fear of becoming pregnant was once a huge deterrent for many teens from having sex. Now there are so many forms of contraception available - including after-the-fact forms - that many teens are (mistakenly) not worried about the possibility of pregnancy. Aside from the fact that no form of birth control is 100% effective aside from abstinence, the reality is that pregnancy is only one of many reasons to abstain from sexual activity before marriage.
You can't save what's already spent
People who have already had sex may think that it is too late to be abstinent. Not true! By that logic, nobody could ever become a vegetarian if they ever ate meat. Maybe you thought you were ready before, but now you realize that was a mistake. Whatever the case, just because you had sex in the past, that doesn't mean you can't stop now. If you abstain proactively, you can still reap many benefits, just like a smoker who gives up tobacco.
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