Abstinence only: No sex for you!

Sex on Tuesday

Teresa Chin poses for her mug in 2002.

This column was originally published in the Oct. 15, 2002 issue of The Daily Californian

So we’ve already gone through vibrators, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, dildos and erotic fantasies. Been there, done that; what else do you have for me? Well, if you sexually adventurous readers are really up for a challenge, I’ve got a technique that will really knock your socks off: abstinence.

Yeah, I’ll bet that wasn’t the first thing that came to your mind, eh? Bondage, hamstring, ménage à trois—that’s the kind of scandalous Sex on Tuesday stuff you imagine at the playful utterance of “sexual adventure.”

Puhleeze, this is not the script to your own personal porn movie, and we’re college students, not contortionists. While abstinence may sound about as stimulating as a 9 a.m. chemistry lab, don’t get stuck on the assumption that no sex equals no fun.

Whether it’s waiting to get a ring on your finger, waiting for Friday night or waiting between bouts to catch your breath, there’s a certain appeal to the time you’re not having sex. If you think about it, what really characterizes a sexual hiatus isn’t so much the lack of sex, as it is the desire to start having sex.

But can you ever really get “too much of a good thing?” To use the ever-popular baseball metaphor in tribute to the upcoming World Series (Go Angels!), maybe you’ve been hitting those perfunctory home runs so long, you’ve forgotten about the nice view from third base. Or how about that adrenaline rush you used to get from really really wanting to … uh … score. I’d say abstinence can make you feel like a teenager again, but hey, many of us are still teenagers anyway. Even better.

Abstinence. Don’t be afraid to say it. I don’t know why abstinence has gotten such a bad reputation. (Ironic that it’s something that you supposedly do to keep a good reputation, eh? Ha ha ha. I crack myself up). Immediately, we conjure up images of tight-lipped, nunlike, middle-aged virgins, or that speech about the birds and the bees Mommy and Daddy gave us when we asked where babies came from.

But really, abstinence is merely holding back from a sexual activity for a time period you designate. For example, you could choose to be “oral sex” abstinent for one month. Thinking of abstinence as a test of willpower, it’s kind of sexy—restrained urges, forbidden passion, powerful yearnings … is it getting hot in here?

Interestingly enough, one wistful comment I repeatedly hear from sexually active couples is “I really miss making out.” There’s definitely something to be said for the “newness” of a relationship: when holding hands and French kisses were more than enough for your body to throw its own endorphin party.

As people become more and more sexually active, they build a sort of sexual “tolerance,” and it takes more to get the ol’ juices flowing. Why not take a stroll down memory lane? Take a step back: Rediscover the joys of oral sex, light groping, erotic conversation, necking or holding hands, to name just a few ideas.

For some of us, the inherent, prolonged teasing of abstinence may sound tantalizing, but maybe you don’t know if you can honestly restrain yourself for more than five minutes. Well, you’re in luck my impatient friend five minutes is all you really need. Try what I’d like to call an abstinence “quickie.”

For five minutes and not a second less, your partner must be absolutely nonparticipatory physically, while you have free reign to tease as you see fit. It may not sound sexy to be all over a veritable mannequin, but knowing that you’re driving your partner crazy trying to restrain himself or herself is very exciting. You’ll see what I mean when the five minutes are up. You can be subtle here: caressing, kissing, whispering, et cetera, or you can be, well … not so subtle. It’s up to you.

Feeling wanted is one of the greatest turn-ons there is, and nothing accomplishes that more effectively than the antici … pation of abstinence. After all, absence, er, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.


Teresa Chin was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and is a former Daily Cal columnist.