Once you know you want it, how do you go about getting it?

sex education abstinence lineupYesterday’s post was all about decision making and values clarification about abstinence. Today’s lesson is for young people who want to move forward with abstinence in the immediate future. When someone chooses to remain abstinent, they need to talk with current or potential romantic partners about that decision in a way that offers love, support, and information about what abstinence means to them. This lesson from Making Sense of Abstinence supports them through exactly that process.


Much More Than “Just Say Not”

Participants will:

  1. Recognize that abstaining from intercourse is more complex than some slogans might suggest.
  2. Identify the steps and skills necessary for abstaining successfully.

The decision to abstain is more complex than the slogans found in some abstinence education programs might suggest. Catchy phrases like “Pet your dog, not your date” or “Quit your urgin’, be a virgin” ignore teens’ real experiences, belittle their intelligence, and discount their capabilities. This lesson helps teens think about the conscious decision-making process that successful abstaining requires and identify specific, concrete ways to make abstinence work.


I love how this lesson breaks down the communication steps that are required for effective communication about abstinence. It starts with introspection – as all sexual decision making should – and then moves into communication with a partner. Students come up with their own ideas of what is required to achieve abstinence. Lessons on abstinence that are student-centered and skills-based are so much more likely to actually see abstinence as a viable and accessible option.



(This lesson is based on the widely used condom lineup – which is printed in Teaching Safer Sex – and the two are suggested as companion lessons.)