Abstinence is a voluntary forbearance from indulging a desire or appetite for certain bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to abstention from sexual intercourse, alcohol, or food.
- Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.
- All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
- Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 19:11-12.
- Self denial is not a virtue: it is only the effect of prudence on rascality.
- George Bernard Shaw, "Maxims for Revolutionists", Man and Superman (1903).
- Usez, n'abusez point […] L'abstinence ou l'excès ne fit jamais d'heureux.
- Translation: Use, do not abuse […] Neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.
- Voltaire, "Cinquième discours: sur la nature de plaisir", Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme (1738).