OverviewAny argument towards completely abstaining from sexual intercourse during a substantial portion of one's life is generally referred to as pro-abstinence. Typically, this can refer to any of the following philosophies:
- abstinence until procreation is desired
- abstinence until marriage
- lifelong abstinence
Politically, "pro-abstinence" groups are strongly in favor of "abstinence until marriage" and generally don't mention "abstinence until procreation" as a possibility, although presumably they would prefer it as an alternative to non-abstinence (which is not the same as sexual promiscuity, although they generally imply that it is – a false dilemma).
Pro-abstinence groups tend to focus their activity on promoting:
- abstinence-based education, which refers to the belief that sexual abstinence should be taught and promoted as the best (or only) method of contraception, and that schools should strenuously avoid mention of other methods
- abstinence-based health policy
Pro-abstinence groups seem to have a large overlap with anti-abortion ("pro-life") groups, implying that most anti-abortionists are also against contraception. This leads to the obvious conclusion that if laws were passed in accordance with the wishes of these groups, both contraception and abortion would be illegal. It is difficult to see how this could lead to anything but vast quantities of unwanted children, thus not only placing a huge burden not only on society but also on women who find themselves with unwanted and unplanned-for children and who therefore probably do not have adequate resources to deal with those children and may already be struggling themselves. The costs of unplanned pregnancy should be obvious to all, including pro-abstinence groups; the only issue remaining to establish, then, is the effectiveness of pro-abstinence policies versus those that are more inclusive and open.
- "Sexual abstinence as a form of contraception makes just as much sense as personal hygiene as a way of not getting sick."
- This is a good argument for making a personal choice to be abstinent, and for encouraging others to do so. It is not an argument for abstinence-based education.
- Personal hygiene is more than just "don't ever touch anything", which would be the metaphorical equivalent of abstinence.