Abstinence is referred to as the restrain from bodily activities that give pleasure. Mostly, the term refers to abstention from food, sex and alcohol. The practices arise from the prohibition by religious teaching and practical consideration. It takes many forms being partial or temporary. In temporary, an individual can abstain from food or may be fasting for few days and then start eating. In the permanent abstinence, the individual stays without taking the substance like refusing to take alcohol for the life time. Abstinence can be an act of choice or reinforcement. For example, in most societies, sex before marriage is forbidden. In case the individual has sex before marriage he/she is declared an outcaste. As a result, people abstain from sex due to the fear of punishment.
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In religion, abstinence is encouraged. Most religions discourage luxuries and encourage believers to abstain. The Christian Protestants encourage abstinence of drugs and sex. The holy Bible teaches that those taking alcohol and other drugs will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. As a result, many believers abstain from drugs in order to live according to the scripture. Many scriptures in the Bible also forbid sex before marriage. Some scriptures also states that those having sex before marriage will suffer. Strongly, Christianity disregards sex before marriage. The Catholics accept the use of alcohol. They believe that an excessive use of drugs is not acceptable, but people should take little portions of wine. Other religions like Islam prohibit pre-marital sex (Lee, 2008). Christians and Muslims practice fasting. During fasting, they do not take food and water. The Seventh-Day Adventists’ Church strongly discourages smoking, the consumption of alcohol and encourages eating clean meat as stated in the book of Leviticus. Religious practices encourage abstinence. The people committed in faith obey the scriptures and abstain from different luxuries.
In medicine, people are advised to abstain due to some medical conditions. Those suffering from HIV/AID are told to abstain from sex in order to avoid the contact with other types of \ deceases. Other drugs like alcohol have some side effects. Smoking also causes lung or throat cancer. People are told to avoid smoking and taking the excess of alcohol. While under medication, some medicines can develop side effects if mixed with tobacco or alcohol. As a result, people are told to abstain from those drugs in order to recover from illness. Some people do not respect the medical advice. Thus, they endanger their health. About one million people die each year due to the failure to abstain while being under medication. Medical abstinence is essential. People should not avoid it because it can lead to the development of side effects or even to death (Donovan, 2009).
There are different types of abstinence. Food abstinence occurs as a result of fasting. Many people fast to grow spiritually. Other people fast in order to lose their weight. Some people live for few days without food and water; while others are opting to take only water and abstain from food. The abstinence from tobacco smoking is a difficulty to handle with. After an addiction, individuals feel some difficulty to avoid taking tobacco. Though smoking has side effects people have failed to stop. Some people abstain from smoking due to the medical advice from the doctors. Alcohol abstinence is another type. People abstain from alcohol permanently or temporally. Some opt to abstain in order to attend a meeting, drive, or save some money for other investments. Other people dislike taking alcohol due to the first experience; and they abstain permanently. Others abstain from alcohol due to some health problems (Lee, 2008).
The other type of abstinence is sexual abstinence. People opt to abstain from sex due to a number of reasons. Married people abstain due to the family planning to avoid getting a child. They can also abstain due to some health issues. For example, when one couple does not feel well they can abstain until the further recovery. Religious practices can also make the individual abstain from sex. Many religions discourage pre-marital sex. Religious people wait until they get married in order to have sex. Other people have had some bad experiences with their partners. Thus, due to a psychological trauma they end up with not having sex in their life time. For example, in case of rape, a woman develops the negative attitude towards men. She can decide not to have sex again. Psychologists discourage sexual abstinence. They claim that it leads to the development of aggressive behavior because of the excessive stress (Karl, 2010). After the release of fluids, both parties feel certified and free. However, psychologists discourage sexual abstinence. It helps in prevention of sex transmitted diseases and early pregnancies.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Luxuries lead to some social, economic, physical and health problems. Abstinence helps in the reduction of problems. For example, when an individual abstains from taking alcohol he/she can make savings instead of wasting money for drugs. In case of sexual abstinence, one can avoid contacting eith somebody having the sex transmitted deceases. This also helps in the development of faithfulness in marriage, because when the individual abstains he/she can manage to stay with one partner. In other hand, abstinence has disadvantages. When one abstains he/she lacks the exposure and life experience. While drinking beer people interact and share their feelings, many people have made business from clubs. The people abstaining fail to meet the people to interact with, hence, they lack the exposure (Thinly, 2008).
People should consider both positive and negative effects of abstinence. People should not compromise abstinence due to some medical requirements. Many people die because of negligence; while others lose their jobs. People should abstain in order to develop economically and physically.
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