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For other uses, see Abstinence (disambiguation).
Purity rings are worn by some youth committed to the practice of sexual abstinence.[1]

Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to sexual abstinence, or abstinence from alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions and practical considerations. Abstinence may also refer to drugs. For example you can abstain from smoking. Abstinence has diverse forms. Commonly it refers to a temporary or partial abstinence from food, as in fasting. In the twelve-step program of Overeaters Anonymous abstinence is the term for refraining from compulsive eating, akin in meaning to sobriety for alcoholics. Because the regimen is intended to be a conscious act, freely chosen to enhance life, abstinence is sometimes distinguished from the psychological mechanism of repression. The latter is an unconscious state, having unhealthy consequences. Freud termed the channeling of sexual energies into other more culturally or socially acceptable activities, "sublimation".

Abstinence in religion[edit]

Abstinence may arise from an ascetic element, present in most faiths, or from a subjective need for spiritual discipline. In its religious context, abstinence is meant to elevate the believer beyond the normal life of desire, to a chosen ideal, by following a path of renunciation.

Hindus observe fast once in a fortnight on the auspicious day of Ekadashi (Eleventh Day). This is done to please Lord Sri Krishna by keeping themselves busy in religious activities on this day.

For Jews, the principal day of fast is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

For Muslims, the period of fasting lasts during the whole month of Ramadan, from dawn to dusk.

Both Jews and Muslims abstain from pork in their regular diet.

In both Christianity and Islam, amongst others, pre-marital sex is prohibited.

Also, Catholics abstain from food and drink for an hour prior to taking Holy Communion, and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent. Many Traditionalist Catholics abstain from eating meat all Fridays in the year.

Orthodox Christians abstain from food and drink from midnight on the day they receive Holy Communion, and abstain from meat and dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year, as well as during Great Lent.

Catholics distinguish between fasting and abstinence; the former referring to the discipline of taking one full meal a day, and the latter signifying the discipline of eating no meat (fish is allowed).

Some Protestants have preferred to abstain from drinking alcohol and the use of tobacco.

Mormons abstain from certain foods and drinks by combining spiritual discipline with health concerns. Mormons also fast one day a month, for both spiritual and charitable reasons (the money saved by skipping meals is donated to the needy).

The Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages the consumption of only clean meats as specified in Leviticus and strongly discourages the consumption of alcohol, smoking, and the use of narcotics.[2]

In India, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Hindus abstain from eating meat and fish (basically, all living animals) on the grounds both of health and of reverence for all sentient forms of life. Total abstinence from feeding on the flesh of cows is a hallmark of Hinduism. In addition, lay and monastic Buddhists refrain from killing any living creature and from consuming intoxicants, and bhikkhus keep vows of chastity. In Theravada Buddhism, bhikkhus also refrain from eating in the afternoon, and cannot accept money.

In medicine[edit]

In medicine, abstinence is the discontinuation of a drug, often an addictive one. This might, in addition to craving after the drug, be expressed as withdrawal syndromes. Abstinence from smoking is also recommended for those who undertake or have recently undertaken cosmetic surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) said about this issue, in a paper about smoking and its effects on cosmetic surgery,

I believe that total absistence from smoking is necessary prior to major cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.[3]

Types of abstinence[edit]

Food[edit]

Further information: Fasting, Vegetarianism and Veganism
"Woman's Holy War. Grand Charge on the Enemy's Works". An allegorical 1874 political cartoon print, which somewhat unusually shows temperance campaigners (alcohol prohibition advocates) as virtuous armored women warriors (riding sidesaddle), wielding axes Carrie-Nation-style to destroy barrels of Beer, Whisky, Gin, Rum, Brandy, Wine and Liquors, under the banners of "In the name of God and humanity" and "Temperance League". The foremost woman bears the shield seen in the Seal of the United States (based on the U.S. flag), suggesting the patriotic motivations of temperance campaigners. The shoe and pants-leg of a fleeing male miscreant are seen at lower right.

Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. A fast may be total or partial concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. Fasting practices may preclude sexual activity as well as food, in addition to refraining from eating certain types or groups of foods; for example, one might refrain from eating meat. A complete fast in its traditional definition is abstinence of all food and liquids except for water.

Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game, marine mammals and slaughter by-products), poultry, fowl, fish, shellfish and other sea creatures.[4][5] There are several variants of the diet, some of which also exclude eggs and/or some products produced from animal labour such as dairy products and honey.

Tobacco smoking[edit]

Further information: Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation is the action leading towards the discontinuation of the consumption of a smoked substance, mainly tobacco, but it may encompass cannabis and other substances as well.

Alcohol[edit]

Further information: Teetotalism

Teetotalism is the practice and promotion of complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages.

Some common reasons for choosing teetotalism are religious, health, family, philosophical and/or social reasons, and, sometimes, as simply a matter of taste preference. When at drinking establishments, they either abstain from drinking or consume non-alcoholic beverages such as tea, coffee, water, juice, and soft drinks.

Contemporary and colloquial usage has somewhat expanded teetotalism to include strict abstinence from most "recreational" intoxicants (legal and illegal, see controlled substances). Most teetotaller organizations also demand from their members that they do not promote or produce alcoholic intoxicants.

Pleasure[edit]

Further information: Work-life balance

A general abstinence from pleasures or leisures, either partial or full, may be motivated by ambition, career or general self-respect (excluding the point of view that even the latter examples may be regarded as sources of pleasure).

It is widely accepted that abstinence from addictive drugs gives successful outcome[citation needed] . However, it is not certain whether a general abstinence from pleasures of leisure yields higher productivity. Too much work generates stress and its potential adverse effects. Furthermore, the effort itself to achieve abstinence may consume willpower from its ultimate purpose. Total abstinence from pleasure or leisure is practically impossible and instead an individual work-life balance is necessary.

Sexual abstinence[edit]

Main article: Sexual abstinence

Organizations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Brien, Jodi (2009). Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. SAGE Publications. p. 155. ISBN 9781412909167. "In this subset of abstinence-only education programs, young people vow chastity until marriage and wear a "purity ring" to demonstrate a commitment to sexual abstinence." 
  2. ^ "Fundamental Beliefs". 2005. Archived from the original on 10 March 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-07. 
  3. ^ Jewell, M.D., Mark L. (February 2007). "Smoking and Plastic Surgery". ASPS Patient Consultation Resource Book (ASPS). Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  4. ^ "The Vegetarian Society - Definitions Information Sheet". The Vegetarian Society. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  5. ^ "Vegetaria". Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-06-15. "a person who does not eat meat for moral, religious, or health reasons. ['meat' is defined as 'the flesh of an animal as food']" 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstinence — Please support Wikipedia.
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6596 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 04:26:15 -0700

Another woman in Florida outlined how her middle school teachers instructed abstinence: They showed the students a wrapped gift, and the girls were told they shouldn't give their gift away until marriage. If students did give away "their gift", it ...
 
U.S. News & World Report
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 07:48:45 -0700

At the same time, whether or not abstinence is healthy depends on the circumstances surrounding it. There are times that – for the same reasons your junior high health teacher probably told you – abstinence is healthy and protective: when you don't ...
 
The Birmingham News - al.com
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:33:14 -0700

AL.com asked several school districts about what they teach. Many teach abstinence while others rely on healthcare agencies and volunteer groups, including a pro-life group, to talk to students about abstinence, abstinence plus, teen parenthood ...
 
Jezebel
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:45:16 -0700

A hearty Mazel Tov (a blessing on your head!) to Louisiana Congressman Bill Cassidy, whose staunch support of abstinence-only education will soon bear delicious fruit from the tree of poetic justice: His 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant and ...

Viral Global News

Viral Global News
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:07:30 -0700

A GOP abstinence advocate has revealed that his underage daughter is pregnant and that the baby is due soon. Bill Cassidy told reporters last week that his daughter, who is 17 years old and not married, will have the full support of himself and his wife.
 
PsychCentral.com (blog)
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:41:15 -0700

Freud once wrote: “The strength of the [...] wishes can [...] be detected behind the prohibition behind them.” I think this line is essential to understanding the struggle of compulsion. Abstinence feeds (uncontrolled) desire whereas moderation ...
 
Brush News-Tribune
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:11:15 -0700

Advocates of abstinence-only say equipping teens for safe sex, without their parents' involvement, signals a surrender to reality rather than a victory. But health officials say that curbing the teen birth rate relies on a simple formula — and it has ...

Monthly Prescribing Reference

Monthly Prescribing Reference
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:08:13 -0700

Purpose: An update on pharmacotherapy for achieving and maintaining abstinence and mitigating hepatic damage in patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is presented. Individual variation in the severity, presentation, and complex pathologenesis of ...
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