Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


  • Susan HimesEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2456-1



The practice of restraining from a particular behavior.


Abstinence is a broad term that can cover many different behaviors that one may wish to avoid indulging. Although this term can be used in several contexts, abstinence in regards to sexual intercourse will be the focus. Largely used as a personal strategy to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it is often associated with the avoidance of vaginal intercourse but can also include the avoidance of all sexual activity. Individuals will often have varying definitions of what is considered to be abstinence, but they ultimately have the same goal in mind.

Abstinence in Sex Education

The topics discussed in sex education is a controversial issue. Assuming that the sex education provided in schools is a driving force behind sexual lifestyles, the information that is taught within these courses should be scrutinized. Guidelines for this information are not...

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  1. Carr, J. B., & Packham, A. (2016). The effects of state-mandated abstinence-based sex education on teen health outcomes. Health economics.Google Scholar
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Reproductive health: Teen pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/
  3. Kohler, P. K., Manhart, L. E., & Lafferty, W. E. (2008). Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education and the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 344–351.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina - BeaufortBlufftonUSA