Careful consideration of the negative consequences

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Careful consideration of the negative consequences associated with sexual activity will reinforce the decision to practice abstinence until marriage. What are your reasons for practicing abstinence? HS_HEALTH_U04_C12_L4 12/6/03 9:37 AM Page 320
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Effects on Emotional Health One of the important benefits of abstinence is that it leads to healthy feelings of self-respect. Engaging in adolescent sexual activity goes against the values and religious beliefs of many people and can be associated with emotional trauma. Often, the fear of being caught leads teens who engage in such activity to begin lying to parents or others. This dishonesty can cause emotional trauma by bringing on feelings of guilt and regret that are harmful to a teen’s self-concept. For teens facing unplanned pregnancy, the demands of being a par- ent can cause great emotional strain. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only method that is 100 percent effective in preventing the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity. 321 Lesson 4 Abstinence: A Responsible Decision Work with a small group. Use your answers to the questions to create a poster advocating that high school teens practice abstinence. Communicate the importance and benefits of practicing abstinence. Make your poster persuasive and attention-getting, and include a memorable phrase or slogan. A C T I V I T Y Abstinence Pledges: A Growing Trend Teens who take a pledge to delay sexual activity until marriage are far less likely than their peers to become pregnant or to contract a sexually transmitted disease. How can teens strengthen their commitment to abstinence? Abstinence Pledge A Commitment to Myself and Others On this day, I make a commitment to myself, my family, my friends, and to those I date, to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. My reasons include: upholding family values, wanting to attend college, safeguarding my self-worth and self-concept, wanting to have healthy children when I marry. People who will support me in my pledge include: my parents/guardian my family doctor my best friend my school counselor I hereby sign this pledge as an indication of my personal commitment to remain abstinent until marriage. My signature: How can teens’ goals be compromised by sexual activity? What are the most important reasons for you to practice abstinence? Which people in your life can help support your decision to practice abstinence? HS_HEALTH_U04_C12_L4 12/6/03 9:37 AM Page 321
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Effects on Social Health Sexually active teens risk their reputations. Being labeled by peers as “easy” can make it difficult for a teen to build new and healthy relationships. For example, to eliminate the risk of being pressured into sexual activity, some teens refuse to date those who are sexu- ally active. Also, partners may view each other differently when a relationship involves sexual activity. In some cases, the pressure and expectations caused by sexual activity may lead to the breakup of a relationship.
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