ABSTINENCE

Skipping vaginal sex is a great method to use when it comes to effectiveness. It’s 100% effective if you use it 100% of the time.

EFFECTIVENESS
Skipping sex is 100% effective if you really don’t have sex.
SIDE-EFFECTS
None.
COST
Totally free!
WHERE TO GET IT
There’s nothing to get—other than the conviction to stick to it.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS
Hormone free, no side effects.
OTHER NOTES
You have to have a lot of self-control.

Skipping vaginal sex is a great method to use when it comes to effectiveness. It’s 100% effective if you use it 100% of the time. Call it whatever you want: “abstinence,” “not right now,” or “just not feelin’ it.” But it does involve a whole lot of self-control.

Different people have different definitions of sex and what it means to be abstinent. For some people, it means skipping vaginal intercourse. For others, it means skipping everything. Take some time to define your boundaries so you can feel comfortable and in control when you talk to your partner. Remember—intimate contact like oral sex and/or touching still carries some STI risk. So be ready to protect yourself within your boundaries.

 

 

It takes discipline.

Saying “not right now” only works as a birth control method if you do it consistently.

It’s normal.

Even though people assume everybody’s doin’ it, the truth is fewer than half of all teens have had sex. That percentage changes, though, the older you get. Most 16-year-olds haven’t had sex; most 19-year-olds have. The point? You shouldn’t feel ashamed of your history or boundaries.

Good communication skills.

You’ll need to be able to tell your partner what’s okay and what’s not. Which means you need to be comfortable speaking your mind.

You have support.

If you’re in a relationship, both of you have to be down with the plan. But remember, saying “not right now” doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fun. There’s always room for a little sex-free sexy time.

You can do it any time.

Skipping sex is something you can do at any point in your life for any reason. Yes, even if you’ve had sex before.

Don’t forget other risks.

If you’re skipping vaginal sex to prevent pregnancy but not skipping other kinds of sex, you can still get an STI. If you’re having other kinds of sex, use condoms.

Plan ahead.

Skipping sex now doesn’t mean you’ll never, ever have sex. Check out your birth control options now so you’re prepared when you choose to have sex—or if your willpower doesn’t turn out to be as strong as you think.

 

Don’t have vaginal sex.

Jk, jk. But that’s pretty much what it comes down to: a conscious, deliberate decision to not have vaginal sex. It’s a choice you’ll need to affirm each and every day. To stick with it, keep reminding yourself why you chose not to have vaginal sex, and think about the potential consequences of changing your decision. If you decide to have sex, make sure you’re protected with another form of birth control.

Other helpful hints:

  • Avoid putting yourself in situations where it’ll be hard to stick to your decision.
  • Think about avoiding alcohol and drugs as well—they can mess with your judgment.
  • Find people you can talk to about your decision and lean on for their support.
  • Talk about your decision with your partner well before you’re in the heat of the moment.
  • Be totally straightforward and clear with your partner about your limits.
  • If you’re doing “everything but” vaginal intercourse, remember to avoid STIs and HIV by getting tested and using condoms.

Cost

Totally free!

Pro tip

This still might be a good time to make a little investment in future birth control. You might qualify for free or really low cost long-acting birth control, like an IUD or implant, that you can have covered under your parent’s health insurance. That could protect you from pregnancy for up to 12 years! Think ahead, even if you aren’t having sex now.

Don’t forget other risks.

If you’re skipping vaginal sex to prevent pregnancy but not skipping other kinds of sex, you can still get an STI. If you’re having other kinds of sex, use condoms.

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every birth control method. And everyone’s different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friends experience.

The Positive

  • Doesn’t cost a thing
  • Never causes side effects

The Negative

  • Can be hard to maintain
  • Can be tough to stick to if you’re using drugs or alcohol

Don’t take our word for it. Check out these videos to hear women and men talk about their experiences skipping sex.

Savannah, 18, not right now

 

Norelle, 22, not right now

 

Anna, 19, not right now

Expert dirt: “100% effective if you use it 100% of the time.”