Sexual Abstinence – Can You REALLY Have Intimacy Without Sex?

Regardless of your personal reasons for choosing sexual abstinence, you really need to talk with your partner about what is and is not OK. The boundaries are different for everyone.

What IS Sexual Abstinence?

Here’s an excellent definition from SmarterSex.org

Sexual abstinence is a choice to refrain from sexual activity. This choice is usually made for a specific reason. The reason may be moral, religious, legal, or for health and safety.

Read this question from a desperate young man who’s wondering how he can ignite the passion in his relationship – without actually having sex…

Dear Dan and Jennifer,

I have been dating my girlfriend for a little over two years now, and we have decided to refrain from sex until marriage.

The lack of sex isn’t a problem like I said, but the main problem we are facing is a lack of intimacy. For example, we haven’t really ever made out or fooled around. We started to make out once but then all of a sudden – like something clicked in her head – she stopped abruptly.

Since then I have tried a few more times to make a move to make out with her, but every time she just seems to have a defense mechanism. I was wondering if you have any advice for me to be able to overcome this hurdle, or if you have some tips for us to try and make our relationship be more intimate without sex. Any advice you have will be greatly appreciated.

– Dan, Michigan

Intimacy Without Sex

Given that you’ve agreed not to have sex, is it possible to still have sexual intimacy?

Again, that depends on how you define intimacy. Is it cuddling on the sofa, or is it giving and receiving oral sex? As you can see those are two very opposite extremes. We like to think that intimacy is a shared closeness rather than a sexual activity, but that does not have to be your definition.

Intimacy is one of those words that has different meanings for different people. That’s why it’s critical to talk to each other and find meanings and boundaries that you’re both comfortable with. This is not about anyone else and is completely between the two of you.

You see, to some, kissing is the highest form of intimacy and to others ‘getting intimate’ means sexual intercourse.

It’s time to get down to details…

Talk openly about what kinds of sexual activities you are open to and what sexual activities are absolutely off limits. Since you’re not having sex, you’re going to have to learn to talk about it openly.

Here’s my question. If you’ve never had sex, how do you define the boundaries of sexual activity?

My suggestion to answering this question is to buy some books and truly learn about your body and sex – what it is, what it isn’t. That way you can make an educated decision on where to set your personal boundaries.

Once you’ve identified the boundaries, stick to them!

Trust and communication are so important to maintain a deep level of intimacy, especially when trying to abstain from sex. You don’t want to accidentally go too far and risk ruining the opportunity for further intimacy – and damaging your relationship!

Choosing Sexual Abstinence

One thing we want everyone to consider carefully is their reasons for choosing sexual abstinence.

While we support and respect other belief systems, we do not feel that sex is either bad or evil, especially when shared between two people who are in love. We feel that sex is a natural expression of this love and should not be repressed.

Many religious organizations and parents use all kinds of scare tactics like guilt, pregnancy, and disease to keep their children, and even other consenting adults, from having sex.

Don’t fall for these scare tactics.

We believe in making an educated decision! Take the time to really do your homework, read, watch, and ask questions… Understand sex and your body, what it is and what it isn’t, and why you are choosing to refrain from having sex.

Did you get that subtle word? Choice. It’s YOUR choice to have sex or to refrain from it (assuming of course you are of the age of legal consent, which may not be the same everywhere).

You don’t have to agree with us, but don’t simply do what others are telling you to do either.

If you do choose abstinence, make sure that you are doing so because it’s the right thing for you and for your relationship – not because of guilt, religion, or parental obligation.

Ask questions and demand honest and open answers!


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