1. Define abstinence.
2. Identify what makes abstinence work, and identify the factors that can cause abstinence “user failures.”
3. Examine the important role of active decision-making when it comes to choices about abstinence.
Throughout the United States, abstinence is being promoted as the only 100% effective method for avoiding an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. In actual use, however, abstinence often fails, i.e., people who intended to be abstinent have sexual intercourse – often without using either a condom or another contraceptive. This lesson helps participants think about what it takes to make abstinence work – and what they would need to do if they were going to choose abstinence as the way to protect themselves from unwanted consequences of sexual intercourse.