Abstinence Information

Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to abstention from sexual intercourse, alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions or practical considerations.

Abstinence has diverse forms. Commonly it refers to a temporary or partial abstinence from food, as in fasting. In the twelve-step program of Overeaters Anonymous abstinence is the term for refraining from compulsive eating, akin in meaning to sobriety for alcoholics. Because the regimen is intended to be a conscious act, freely chosen to enhance life, abstinence is sometimes distinguished from the psychological mechanism of repression. The latter is an unconscious state, having unhealthy consequences. Freud termed the channeling of sexual energies into other more culturally or socially acceptable activities "sublimation".

Abstinence may arise from an ascetic element, present in most faiths, or from a subjective need for spiritual discipline. In its religious context, abstinence is meant to elevate the believer beyond the normal life of desire, to a chosen ideal, by following a path of renunciation.

Wikipedia, Abstinence, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstinence (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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