Note: Information provided on this page is for general education only, please seek medical assistance when in doubt
Sexual abstinence or sexual restraint is a practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral or religious reasons. Sexual abstinence generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Sexual abstinence before marriage is required in some societies by social norms or by laws.
Sexual abstinence could be voluntary when an individual chooses not to engage in sexual activity due to moral, religious, philosophical reasons, or could be involuntary as a result of social circumstances such as when one cannot find sexual partners
Some groups advocate total sexual abstinence, by which they mean the avoidance of all sexual activity, in the context of birth control the term usually means abstinence from vaginal intercourse. Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy however is very difficult to practice and not everyone who intends to be abstinent refrains could from all sexual activity
Experts recommend that those using abstinence as a primary method for birth control should have backup method also readily available such as such as use of condoms or emergency contraceptive pills. Deliberate non-penetrative sex without vaginal sex or deliberate oral sex without vaginal sex is also sometimes considered as a birth control measure. While this generally avoids pregnancy, pregnancy can still occur with intercrural sex and other forms of penis-near-vagina sex such as genital rubbing, and the penis exiting from anal intercourse where sperm can be deposited near the entrance to the vagina and can travel along the vagina's lubricating fluids.