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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.
  • When I started, someone told me that you should be with a lover the night before so you look all secure and soft out there. But for downhill you should reserve you strength. That's one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. You need to be loose in sports to do well, not all knotted up.
    • Suzy Chaffee, as quoted in Women & Sports (1979) by Janice Kaplan.
  • I'm against abstinence programs because I really consider "abstinence only" child abuse.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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