Abstinence And Its False Promise

abstinence two hands joined together

Sex Alchemist Kuel Category Expert: Ronda Ray

The start of new year is a perfect time to talk with kids about sex, pleasure, and being a responsible sexual partner.

“Ronda, when, how  do I tell our kids about sex?”

When I tell people what I write about, it’s not unusual to hear questions—lots of them.

Questions range from desire levels, mismatched libidos, solo pleasure, even how to interpret erotic dreams.

And someone always asks, “Ronda, when, how  do I tell our kids about sex?”

So What About Abstinence?

They say their kids aren’t ready for ‘the talk.’ In reality, it’s the parent who isn’t ready. What they want is their kids to be ‘sex ignorant’ until marriage. So the teaching is often ‘don’t do it’.

So what about abstinence? It basically means no penis in your vagina (PIV) until marriage. And, this is mostly about girls staying ‘pure’ until marriage.

Many of us were taught being a virgin on our wedding night was of the utmost importance—whether we actually were didn’t change what was taught.

“These beliefs lead to the incorrect conclusion that abstinence is foolproof.”

They Believe:

Even if they weren’t virgins when they became a Mrs, many parents still teach this because they believe abstinence will:
100% guarantee the girl will arrive on her wedding night as
100% virgin, 100% pure, and ensures there will be no pregnancy before marriage.

They believe that keeping a penis out of the vagina means there is: ZERO chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and
ZERO chance of becoming pregnant.

These beliefs lead to the incorrect conclusion that abstinence is foolproof. It is not. It has a failure rate.

Typical Use Failure Rate:

When we talk about effectiveness for forms of contraception, we first start with the Perfect Use Failure Rate – when used exactly as intended each and every time. And this means no sexual contact at all. None.

And then there is the Typical Use Failure Rate. This is the rate at which a method fails because it isn’t practiced perfectly.

“Sometimes a pill gets forgotten, a condom breaks, the IUD slips out of place.”

Sometimes a pill gets forgotten, a condom breaks, the IUD slips out of place.

As in the case of abstinence, those who have every intention of remaining abstinent get caught up in the moment, and normal desire takes over. And that is when the Typical Use Failure rate comes into play.

Abstinent Kids:

According to Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Associate Professor of Psychology at Mount Allison University in Canada, the abstinence Typical Use Failure Rate is likely somewhere between 80-90%.  

According to Dr. Hamilton’s research and experience, many of these kids are engaging in outercourse (dry humping), mutual masturbation, oral sex—and yes, using anal sex as a substitute for PIV.

So, what does this mean for some of these ‘abstinent’ kids?

Kids Don’t Realize The Risks:

  • They are not abstaining from sexual exploration, from learning what they like about sex.
  • They are not abstaining from learning about how they respond to sexual stimulation, from using their hands and mouth.
  • Moreover, they are not abstaining from enjoying someone else’s hands, mouth, or toys, to experience orgasm.
  • They are doing perfectly natural things to learn about their sexual preferences and desires.
  • They are only abstaining from granting entry of a penis into their vagina – thus keeping their promise.

“All kids deserve truthful sexual education no matter their orientation.”

Kids, in their naïveté, don’t realize the risks.

Even without PIV, bodily fluids are exchanged orally and genitally. This increases both the chance of STIs and pregnancy.

Truthful Sexual Education:

Another problem with abstinence teaching is it’s heteronormative-centric. This leaves out kids who identify as gay, bi-sexual or other orientation. All kids deserve truthful sexual education no matter their orientation.

So, parents, think about what you’re telling, and not telling, your kids.

Not telling them is leaving them to their own devices.

Try To Protect Them:

Limited communication leads them to think you won’t understand if they do want to talk to you about it. To top it off, if an ‘abstinent’ kid becomes pregnant or infected, they risk even more to avoid telling you. By trying to protect them (or yourself) you create distance in your relationship.

“Talking to them about sex is one of the most important responsibilities.”

If you’re uncomfortable with this conversation, find an open-minded friend; a counselor who specializes in adolescents and teenagers—for yourself and your kids. Need help finding the words? I can help.

Starting these conversations younger is better. Talking about sex, pleasure, and agency over their bodies becomes normalized sooner. Waiting increases the risks to your kids.

Parenting is a privilege with serious responsibilities. Talking to them about sex is one of the most important responsibilities. Be courageous.

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Ronda Ray
About the Author:
Ronda is an Alchemist—she takes conventional thinking, social, and cultural norms around Sex, Intimacy, and Pleasure and turns them on their heads!  
She has a passion to help women (and more than a few men) reconnect to Pleasure and reawaken the truth of Pleasure as Our Birthright—yes, this is true for each and everyone of us. The awareness that there is no expiration date on pleasure has been helpful for women of all ages to realize they are built for pleasure—yes, this is true in the most literal sense: Women. Are. Built. For. Pleasure.
You can connect with Ronda by email at [email protected] This is where she loves receiving comments and currently schedules appointments. 

2 thoughts on “Abstinence And Its False Promise

    • Kuel Life Membership
      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you Joanne… the ups and downs are crazy when we enter this kinda empty nest phase…. Glad it resonated with you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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