Skip to main content
SFU Health and Counselling Services
Health Peer Educators

empty
Two people having a coffee chat at a table
Credit
Priscilla Du Preez @ Unplash
In a healthy relationship, your partner should be willing to respect your boundaries.     

Today’s Western media fosters a sex-positive culture and in some cases, it has resulted in promoting sex while hushing abstinence. For instance, it is easy to name several shows about high schoolers, such as Euphoria or Gossip Girl, where having sex is a common theme. In contrast, we don’t often hear about abstinence and as a result, it is harder to quickly name media that revolve around it. When a character who practices abstinence is introduced in a show (e.g., The Secret Life of the American Teenager), they are often written to give in to their temptations. In others, abstinence is seen as a joke where virginity is seen as something embarrassing or appalling. Specifically for cisgendered and heterosexual men, the decision to stay abstinent often challenges their manhood and masculinity.

Whether you choose abstinence because of religious, cultural, or personal reasons, your choice is just as much valid as someone who decides to have sex. As sex-positivity does not often highlight abstinence, many who choose to remain abstinent may not know how to approach this topic in a relationship. Below are 3 tips on how one can discuss or bring up abstinence with their partner(s).

Set Your Boundaries

Before having the conversation, define what abstinence means to you. Think about what you feel most comfortable doing. Abstinence does not necessarily mean being devoid of any and all sexual activity, so, understand your limits. Setting these boundaries before entering the conversation can give you more confidence because you are aware of what your non-negotiable factors are. Furthermore, boundaries can bring you awareness of what you are looking for in a partner. In a healthy relationship, your partner should be willing to respect your boundaries.         

Be Open 

Talking about abstinence may be uncomfortable, so you might unintentionally rush through the conversation. However, remember that honesty is crucial when discussing this with your partner so that they can have a deeper understanding of your decision and can gauge whether they are on the same page as you. It can be an issue later on if you rush past the conversation, only to find out that both of your expectations don’t align. 

Discuss Your Love Languages

Having sex, however you define it, isn’t the only way you can be intimate with your partner. We all have different love languages, which are ways in which people express and receive love. For some, they show their love by giving gifts; for others, they feel loved through spending quality time with their partner. By communicating love languages, you and your partner can develop a deeper understanding of one another.


If you are struggling with trauma or personal experiences around sex and sexuality, connect with SFU Health & Counselling Services or the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office.  

Participants and Contributors
Balpreet Bhagtana
Author
Health Peer Educator
SFU Health and Counselling Services
Health Peer Educators
Health Peer Educators work with the Health Promotion team at SFU Health & Counselling Services to support student health and well-being on campus.

You Might Like These... Professional Development, Personal Development, Career Exploration, Life Experience

Marble statue of Socrates
Know Thyself

So you have graduated from university and are hanging your well-earned degree on your bedroom wall, and all of  a sudden, a tiny, yet unavoidable voice in the back of your head is quietly screaming “No time to celebrate, you need to find a job!” or “I’ve got my degree…what do I do with it?!’.

Mike, author
Indigenous Stories: Mike, SFU Alumni

"I have no solid plans for the future and I love it...I know that every experience that I have had, every failed plan, was really an excellent mistake that gave me the skills I need to handle any situation that gets thrown my way in the future."  Read Mike's story of career exploration, and how to handle constant change.

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

You Might Like These... Life Experience

Notebook banner
The Notebook: A Highly Unlikely Love Story

At the start of her co-op, Sandy expected to work hard and do her best. What she didn't expect is that she would fall in love - and fall hard. What you're about to read is a highly unlikely love story...

Image of Yat with other students at SFU
Leaving an Imprint

During the past five years at SFU, Yat has been asked multiple times: what do you want to become after you graduate? Every time, he would hesitate before answering. He didn’t have an exact position he wanted to be in, nor did he know whether he would have the skills for whatever that ended up being. Hence, his typical answer: “I don’t know.” To many, uncertainty is uncomfortable. Read more to learn how Yat overcame uncertainty, and left an imprint. 

Frogplum Solutions Inc. Team
Read Beyond the Job Description

"When you work at a start-up, literally anything can happen." Anmol takes us into a world where content is born out of chaos, and the landscape is dynamic, creative and challenging.  Becoming an integral part of a new company and seeing your creations make an impact can be one of the most rewarding experiences.