Every year in Canada, people face the consequences of sexual activities. Having sex or making love can be a rewarding, wonderful experience. But too often, teens or women that aren’t ready for a family have this experience and then have to face an unplanned pregnancy or an STI. In this country, over 95,000 abortions* are performed every years, and whether you’re pro-choice or not, that is a shockingly high number; one that could be lowered if more people embraced the often misunderstood practice of abstinence, or not having any form of sex.

Sexual abstinence is not an easy task. In the past four decades, the images of sex and society’s views about sexual behaviour have changed drastically. True, you cannot necessarily fight the changes and some of them may be for the better (Women’s Lib anyone?) But the loose moral compass that tends to accompany these changes is harming today’s female population and is clouding their judgment about sex. The very term “making love” has become a corny saying, one that makes today’s teens giggle and twenty-somethings cringe. One-night stands seem to be rite of passage and girls are wearing sex bracelets with pride. There is a fine line between sexual freedom and sexual recklessness, and this has somehow gotten lost along the way.

There are various methods of protecting against unexpected pregnancy – all of which are generally available to Canadian teens. In face, in 2010, a study in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality reported that teen pregnancy in Canada had dropped by 37% over the last ten years due to birth control being readily available and educational programs for youger women. But the epidemic is far from over and there are still thousands of unplanned pregnancies each year. The fact is, most birth control methods are hit and miss but abstinence is 100% effective.

Here is the average effectiveness of the usual forms of Birth Control:
•    Abstinence: 100%
•    Intra Uterine Device (IUD): 99%
•    Birth Control Pill: 92-98%
•    Condom /  Diaphragm: 87%
•    “Rhythm” Method: 75%
•    Only Spermicide: 70%
•    Withdrawl: 70%

Abstinence is the only 100% proven method of protection against unplanned pregnancies. Yet it is the least frequently used method. Unfortunately, teens and younger adults look upon this method as “impossible” or un-cool. They don’t tend to consider the high stakes of their sexual relationships. By no means is abstaining from sexual activity easy: intercourse and procreation are basic human instincts. Also, there may be emotional ramifications of practicing abstinence; people who do not properly discuss this method with their partners may find themselves facing ultimatums or the end of a relationship. And let’s face it, sex is everywhere: music, media, school halls and movies. People’s views have changed.
But the fact remains: if abstinence is the form of birth control you would like to practice, then it is the best choice for you. People who don’t respect your core values may be best sent on their way.

People practice abstinence for a variety of reasons:
•    to prevent unexpected pregnancy
•    to stay healthy and free from sexually transmitted infections
•    for religious reasons
•    to practice a core value in which they believe that sex is the highest form of commitment to another person

Whatever the reason people practice it, they are reaping the emotional and physical gains of staying happy and healthy while not having sex. Abstinence needs to be more than a joke; it needs to be presented as a viable option for sexually active people and virgins alike who are not ready for the consequences of sex.

Imagine a country where we didn’t have to debate a woman’s right to choose abortion, but we could celebrate a nonexistent abortion rate; that would be the ultimate freedom.

*2005 Statistics from Stats Canada

Author's Bio: 

Lilly Gordon is a freelance author and web publisher. She writes on a variety of topics and is an avid supporter of educating children about safe sex and unplanned pregnancy and is currently writing about unexpected pregnancy in Edmonton, Alberta.