Anyone can choose to be sexually abstinent no matter what past choices they have made. Once you make the choice to be sexually abstinent, it may be obvious that this isn’t an easy path and it doesn’t mean that sexual temptation will no longer exist. Here are 10 practical ways to help you reach your goal of sexual abstinence:

  1. Remind yourself often why you are choosing abstinence, whether your reasons are ethical, religious, moral, or for your personal health.
  2. Calmly, yet firmly, explain to your date why this decision is important for you both. It will be clear who has your best interest at heart if they are respectful of this healthy choice. Your date can also keep you accountable if you communicate to him/her the importance of boundaries and work to set them together.
  3. Create ways to be accountable with yourself, your friends and family. It may be helpful if a reminder of this decision is placed somewhere visible—maybe in a wallet or posted on a wall. Find friends and people to date who appreciate this decision to be sexually abstinent and will support you in obtaining your goal.
  4. Be prepared for questions or objections from others about why you made the decision to not have sex. Some may even try to rationalize why it is okay to be sexually active, but by keeping strong convictions, you can stand up for yourself when questions come.
  5. Plan dates ahead of time and stick to the plan. Too much time with nothing planned can quickly lead to choices that can compromise your goals.
  6. Try to plan dates around fun and positive things that promote getting to know each other better.
  7. Tell friends, siblings, or parents when dates are occurring, and set up a time for them to check in on how things are going.
  8. Invite friends along if there is a lull in the plans or maybe too much time has been spent alone. Many times, it’s helpful to get to know each other in a group setting and not just one-on-one. This way, you can also include trusted friends who understand the boundaries which you have set.
  9. Avoid alcohol and drugs as these substances can affect the ability to think clearly, and may blur the lines that wouldn’t normally be crossed when sober.
  10. Lastly, be fully aware of the consequences if you fail to limit your sexual partners to one mutually monogamous relationship for life. Not only are there physical consequences, including STIs and unexpected pregnancies, but having sex even once outside of a mutually monogamous relationship could affect you mentally, socially, ethically, and emotionally. Reminding yourself of these realities can renew your determination to remain abstinent even when it’s hard to live that decision out.