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Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity


Among strategies to prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted infections STIs and unwanted pregnancies, are programs that promote sexual abstinence among adolescents. However, literature suggests that there may be differences in the understanding of abstinence across adolescents, and this study sought to explore the understanding of sexual abstinence among both male and female learners in a secondary school in a semi-rural area of North West Province, South Africa.

Focus group discussions were used to collect data from learners who were in grades 8—10 at the time of the study.

Which sentence is TRUE about...

The findings are that the learners in this area understand sexual abstinence as the decision not to have sex, and this was associated with prevention of HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies, which ensures a better future. Barriers to sexual abstinence include peer Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity, myths and wrong perceptions about sex, influence of drugs and alcohol and the influence of television. Based on how it is delivered, school-based sex education was viewed as both an enabler and barrier to sexual abstinence.

It is recommended that programs to promote sexual abstinence be strengthened and such programs be community-based. Sexual abstinence is therefore often regarded as the opportune primary response to prevention of adolescent pregnancy and STIs Morrison-Beedy et al.

However, the promotion of sexual abstinence remains a consideration and an option across the world, due to differences in culture, personal choices and religious convictions.

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Moreover, many of sexually experienced young people wish they had waited longer before having sex Collins, Elliott, Berry, Kanouse, Kunkel, Hunter, et al. The decision to practice sexual abstinence is shaped by a number of interlinking forces that include individual, family and community influences. Such influences may include what youth discuss and consider to be reality among themselves, and such reality may be different from that of other groups.

Hans and Kimberly also concluded that conceptualizations of abstinence may be changing among young adults.

Abstinence is the practice of...

Abstainers may be classified as primary, secondary or recent. Primary abstainers are sexually inexperienced and have chosen not to have sex at all. Secondary abstainers have some sexual experience, but have abstained for the past 12 months or more. These variations are potential influences to the understanding, the practice and value of sexual abstinence.

The objective of this study was to explore the understanding of sexual abstinence by learners attending a secondary school in a semi-rural area of North West Province.

What is abstinence?

An exploratory, qualitative and descriptive design, using focus groups discussions, was used with a sample of secondary school learners, to explore their understanding and role of sexual abstinence in sexual behavior.

The study population consisted of male and female Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity, who attended a secondary school grades 8—10 in Bojanala District, North West Province.

This area was selected because it has a combination of learners from the urban township and semi-rural, and the data would give a combination of both groups of learners. Within this population, purposive sampling of learners aged 15 years and above, who were willing to participate in the study and whose parents provided informed consent, were included. The sample size was determined by data saturation, which is the stage where additional focus group discussions no longer provided new information.

Data saturation was reached after conducting six focus group discussions. Participants were recruited from school during a life orientation class, which is compulsory for all learners.

During the class, the researcher was given time to give a brief explanation of the study, and learners who were interested in participating were given information letters and informed consent forms that request their parents to give permission for the learners to participate in the study. Although all learners were recruited and had an equal opportunity to participate in the study, only learners who returned the signed informed consent forms were eligible to participate. Each focus group discussion consisted of participants who were in the same grade.

Data were collected using a researcher-developed focus group discussion guide, developed in English and translated into the local Setswana language. The focus group discussion guide was developed using a review of literature on the understanding and use of abstinence by adolescents.

The focus group guide was pilot-tested at a high school in Ga-Rankuwa, a township whose learners are similar in terms of age group and language with the learners for the main study. Data collection occurred in a classroom after the school program was completed, and this provided a quiet atmosphere with no distractions from other learners.

Participation was limited to learners whose parents had provided the informed consent. Each focus group had both male and female learners numbering between six and eight.

The purpose of the study was explained and the assent forms were signed by all participants. Demographic data were collected using a quantitative questionnaire. The researcher facilitated the discussions in English, but the participants were encouraged to respond in English, Setswana or a combination of both languages.

All could use either language because English is the medium of instruction at school while Setswana is their mother tongue. A digital recorder was used to record the discussions. The duration of the focus group discussions ranged from one to one Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity half hours. The demographic data were descriptively analyzed. A codebook with corresponding definitions was developed from the transcripts and these codes were applied to all the transcripts using Nvivo 9 software to identify and develop several themes.

The themes formed the basis of the narrative. Trustworthiness was achieved by data triangulation, and by enhancing dependability of the findings. Data triangulation was implemented by collecting data from both male and female learners.

Data triangulation was also achieved by the use "Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity" two independent coders the student and the supervisordiscussing the codes and agreeing on the final codes.

Dependability of the findings was enhanced by employing a digital recorder, transcribing the recorded data verbatim, prolonged engagement with the data, and by using Nvivo for data analysis. Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Education District Office, as well as from the management of the school.

Informed consent was obtained from all parents whose children participated in the study, and assent was obtained from all participants. Their ages ranged between 15 and 18 years, with a mean age of 17 years.

The decision to practice sexual...

Dating was defined as being in a relationship with an individual of the opposite sex, and did not depict whether the participant was sexually abstinent or not. Eight themes emerged from analysis of the data, these being understanding of sexual abstinenceabstinence as protection from sexually infectious diseases and unwanted pregnanciesabstinence ensures a better futurebarriers to practicing abstinenceschool-based sex education working against promotion of abstinenceemotional protection as an enabler to being abstinentpromoters of abstinence and the community as a resource to promote abstinence.

This theme refers to what participants understand by abstinence. There is adequate consensus on what it is and the researcher did not attempt to differentiate between primary, secondary or recent abstinence.

Asked about what abstinence means, the participants did not define or explain it, but went on to state the use, role and advantages of abstaining from sex. This theme refers to the understanding that abstinence is a way of protecting one from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and unwanted pregnancies. This view, which was communicated by both males and females, seems to be the most frequently stated in relation to the use and value of sexual abstinence.

Abstinence as a specific protection against HIV were also stated as follows: Within the discussion that abstinence provides protection from sexually infectious diseases and unwanted pregnancies, there was also a view that abstinence is better than other contraception methods, which was stated by both males and females as follows: A better future was viewed as successful schooling and securing a career.

The negative consequences of being sexually active, specifically in relation to acquiring STIs and unwanted pregnancies, were seen as threats to a bright future, and abstinence was therefore viewed as one thing that will secure or enable the desired bright future.

The following statements are examples of how this view was stated: This theme refers to people or situations that make it difficult for young people to abstain from sex, despite the acknowledged advantages of abstinence. Four sub-themes emerged from this theme, these being peer pressuremyths and perceptions about sexuse of alcohol and drugs and influence of the media and television.

This sub-theme refers to the view that friends influence and exert pressurize among each other to engage in sexual activities, as illustrated by the following: I also say it is friends because we talk as friends about Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity we do in our relationships with our partners.

So we judge each other with how often we have sex and that makes us to end up impregnating a girl … Male participant. This sub-theme refers to myths that are often Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity among young people, which promote engagement in sexual activities. There are also attempts to ridicule virgins and uplift those that are sexually active or even promiscuous. Sometimes you wish to be like them and you want to try having sex too … Male participant.

Theme sub-theme refers to the view that the use of alcohol and drugs poses a challenge and often results in young people engaging in sex even though they would want to be abstinent.

This view was stated as follows:. This sub-theme identified the sexual content of the media and television as enablers to being sexually active. A male participant stated it as follows: School-based sex education refers to the content of sex education that is part of the school curriculum, and is taught at school, mostly in a formal life orientation period.

Some participants were of the view that conversations and information about sex, including at school, raise their curiosity and intentions to experiment with sex. The following statements illustrate this:. This theme refers to both the risk of potential emotional harm that might result from being in a sexual relationship, and the emotional turmoil or guilt that comes with being sexually active. The participants showed the knowledge and understanding of the consequences of being sexually active.

This is illustrated by the following statements:. This theme refers to who the participants view as promoters of abstinence, and these included parents, teachers, guardians and the Christian religion, as reflected by the following quotes:.

So I have to keep that in my mind that I have to engage in sexual activities when I finish school … Female participant. Many things that make people to stay abstinent is teachers, especially the Life Orientation teachers who teach children about sex and also that sex is not good for children … Male participant. Sometimes going to church is right because during the youth ministries you get informed and they tell us that we are not supposed to have sex before marriage and we also help each other with opinions … Female participant.

This theme refers to the view that community programs are potential platforms for teaching and promotion of abstinence, thus the view that abstinence can be effectively supported and promoted in a variety of community platforms.

The participants recommended development of specific community programs that intend to teach and promote sexual abstinence.

I Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity the community needs to stop telling people about sex but tell them about abstinence instead … Male participant. They must not tell them about sex but about sexual abstinence instead, and keeping your virginity until you mature … Female participant. Community must call all youth and tell them about sexual abstinence.

That if you choose to abstain, what Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity you get from it and what is good about Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity … Male participant. The value of abstinence seems to be appreciated by the participants as a primary tool to prevent consequences of sexual activity among young people.

Factors that enable practice of abstinences include the intention to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancies, a desire for a better future and religion, while the desire to experiment with sex, influence of social networks as well as abuse of alcohol and drugs were identified as barriers to abstinence.

Although religion has been reported to influence abstinence as a positive sexual behavior, Odimegwu argues that religious commitment is more important than just affiliation, which means that there is a need to strengthen religious commitment among those who are religiously affiliated.

The finding that personal values and choices is a factor that enables the practice of abstinence is similar to the findings of Paradise, Cote, Minsky, Lourenco and Howland and Abbott and Dalla This implies that young people need to be encouraged toward an informed process of making their decisions, which is based on developing personal values.

As with other findings, the sexual content of television was viewed as an enabler to sexual activities, which is similar to the findings of Collins et al. This results because television provides a considerable amount of information about sex without highlighting related risks and responsibilities. Being involved in a romantic relationship was identified as a barrier to sexual abstinence, and this was similar to the findings of Kabiru and Ezehwho concluded that a romantic relationship is a significant predictor of being involved in sexual activities, and that primary abstainers are least likely to be romantically involved.

Although some researchers promote the value of abstinence-only programs Jemmott et al. The decision to practice sexual abstinence is shaped by a number of in sexual intercourse rather than as a conscious choice to abstain. Which sentence is TRUE about having sexual intercourse with a minor? A. Sex with a minor can Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity.

Abstinence & outercourse's pros are that its a safe, effective & free way to prevent pregnancy & cons being wait until they feel ready for a Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from sexual activity relationship.

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