Sex Ed

Infographic: How College Students Define Abstinence

October 19, 2016 by Justin Lehmiller

What does it mean to be “abstinent?” It depends who you ask. Sex researchers have found that there is incredible diversity among college students in terms of how they personally define the term abstinence. While students largely agree that one can be abstinent and still engage in kissing, they are pretty split over whether someone who is abstaining can still engage in activities like sexual touching and oral sex. Even more fascinating is the fact that students do not necessarily even agree on whether abstinence precludes the possibility of vaginal and anal intercourse! In fact, it appears that, for some folks, the key factor that determines whether a given behavior “counts” is whether an orgasm occurs. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at the research.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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