from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abstinence ( Latin abstinere 'abstain', 'keep away') means abstinence or renunciation in the broad sense. The term is used in everyday language and in various technical languages ​​with slightly different meanings. Its use often implies social norms (e.g. rules of conduct or taboos ) that are well known.

Sexual abstinence

Sexual abstinence is the term used to describe abstinence from sexual activity. It initially involves abstaining from sexual intercourse and can also include abstaining from masturbation . In everyday language, the terms celibacy and chastity are sometimes used synonymously, although they come from different areas - “chastity” originally has an ethical connotation .

One form of asceticism - a practice in the context of self-training for religious or philosophical motivation - is sexual asceticism.

In addition to medically required abstinence (e.g. as a result of operations or certain illnesses), sexual abstinence is practiced by members of different religions, including abstinence from sexual intercourse before marriage or in certain forms of life ( celibacy , Christian celibacy "around Heaven's sake ”). In modern youth cultures abstinence may be a behavior that is its affiliation expresses a grouping (see Straight Edge or the religiously initiated and motivated chastity movement True Love Waits - German True Love Waits , in which young people commit to premarital sex) refrain .

The sociologist Karl Lenz wrote in 2004:

“A profound cultural change has occurred in sexuality. The cultural ideal that sexuality is only permitted in marriage has almost completely disappeared [...]. Sexuality is no longer limited to marriage, but has moved far forward in two-way relationships. [...] The sexual model of marriage incorporated into the bourgeoisie was primarily effective as a social control over female sexuality. "

- Karl Lenz : Unlimited coping with life: youth, gender and youth welfare

Abstinence campaigns

In the United States in particular, there are state-sponsored abstinence campaigns which proponents propose to prevent underage pregnancies and the associated risk of poverty and to represent a means of preventing HIV / AIDS . Proponents cite studies that make abstinence programs partly responsible for the weight loss of teenage pregnancies. However, other studies found no positive effects on the incidence of unwanted teenage pregnancies or HIV infection rates , and a national study in the US even found that regional abstinence programs correlate with an increased teenage pregnancy rate .

Opponents of abstinence programs criticize the fact that programs with a focus on abstinence often result in adolescents receiving little or no information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases and thus not being informed about risks. The programs, which are often religiously motivated, also show little consideration for sexually active or homosexual young people. Other concerns concern third world countries and HIV / AIDS prevention.

At the international AIDS conference in 2006, experts reported that abstinence-only programs in developing countries or the USA had little effect. The German Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) in Cologne takes the position that abstinence programs are not recommended.

Abstinence from addictive substances

The health and psychosocial disadvantages of alcohol lead some people to forego it entirely. If the consumption of alcohol is only restricted, one does not speak of abstinence. According to the prevailing opinion, unconditional abstinence must be sought in the treatment of alcoholic illness , because a person who has once been addicted is no longer able to consume the addictive substance in a moderately controlled manner throughout his life ; Addiction is a disease that can be stopped but never completely cured. Alcoholics who are abstinent are colloquially referred to as "dry" and drug or medication addicts who are abstinent as "clean".

The Old Testament mentions the nomadic tribe of the Rechabites , who refrained from consuming wine for religious reasons . The forerunner of an abstinence movement in the modern sense was the Order of St. Christopher . The Alcoholics Anonymous , the Blue Cross and the Good Templars are movements that represent the abstinence from alcohol as a cure for alcoholism and their members live strictly abstinent. Christian denominations such as the Salvation Army , Seventh-day Adventists, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also abstinent. In addition to alcohol abstinence, all of these groups also practice abstinence from smoking and other drugs .

Abstinence paradigm in drug therapy

In the German drug discussion, the “abstinence paradigm” means the orientation of all efforts towards total abstinence from drugs among addicted drug users. This strategy, which is mainly represented within German psychiatry, advocates, if necessary compulsorily, inpatient abstinence therapies and rejects drug substitution . An opposing position has developed under the name of the acceptance paradigm and has recently also come under the broader term “harm reduction” that is customary in English. She advocates all measures that lead to a reduction in the harmful effects associated with the use of drugs, e.g. B. Drug substitution, including the administration of heroin, syringe exchange, etc.

Abstinence from food

Abstinence from food is often used to mean abstinence from meat or sweets . The term plays a role in certain diets as well as in various religions that prescribe permanent or temporary abstinence from certain foods or drinks. In medicine, the suspension of food for a limited time is known as food abstinence.

Involuntary abstinence can occur in the event of illness if the body is deprived of substances that are necessary for the normal course of bodily functions due to the lack of medication . Treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus is often accompanied by behavioral measures known as abstinence as part of a diet. Patients are then not allowed to eat certain foods.

Refrain from consuming

With the voluntary renunciation of consumption , an attempt can be made to achieve a positive effect on one's own life, for example one's own health , or for society, for example through resource conservation ( sufficiency ). There are often religious , ethical , ecological , economic , or political or socially critical motives for not consuming consumption ; the latter often express themselves as a criticism of a consumer-fixated society .

A variant of abstaining from consumption is the temporary or permanent voluntary renunciation of media consumption . It is directed z. B. against information overload .

Abstinence in psychotherapy

The term abstinence was first used by Sigmund Freud for use in psychotherapeutic contexts - here especially in psychoanalysis  - and adopted by therapeutic schools that were developed later.

Initially, the term was addressed to psychoanalysts with the demand to persuade their patients to adhere to the rule of abstinence, which is important for treatment. They describe by Laplanche and Pontalis a

“Principle according to which psychoanalytic treatment should be conducted in such a way that [sic!] The patient finds the least possible substitute satisfaction for his symptoms. For the analyst it includes the rule of denying the patient the satisfaction of his desires and actually taking on the role that the patient seeks to impose on him. In certain cases and at certain points in treatment, it is part of the rule of abstinence to point out the repetitive nature of their behavior, which inhibits the work of remembering and working through. "

- Laplanche & Pontalis : The Vocabulary of Psychoanalysis

However, this definition lacks the second half, which is addressed to psychoanalysts and other psychotherapists with the requirement to remain abstinent during treatment.

In psychotherapy , the term describes a basic attitude of the therapist not to pursue personal interests. He is then forbidden to use the conversation for his own entertainment or to convey his own interests to the patient, such as that he likes doing this or that himself or what hobby the therapist has. However, abstinence can also mean not giving advice to the patient, because this influences their own decision-making. In particular, drastic negative assessments violate the principle of abstinence. The principles of therapeutic abstinence correspond to those of value freedom . In emergencies, intervention may even be necessary, otherwise a friendly wait-and-see approach is desirable.

The demand for therapeutic abstinence is derived from resistance analysis. The same attitude must be expected of the therapist as he expects of his patient, namely that of a therapeutic ego-splitting . This means that the ego should split into an observing and an experiencing part. The observing part is used for the distanced analysis of facts, the experiencing part of human sympathy. Adhering to the rule of abstinence does not mean adopting an emotionally exclusively cold and distant attitude, but alternately adopting and weighing up the opposing standpoints one after the other. This also applies to the working alliance with the therapist, which can only be built up through an emotionally sympathetic attitude on both sides and through mutual interest in the progress of the therapy, but also occasionally requires critical and sober detached consideration in order to avoid insufficiently conscious mistakes. Abstinence therefore also means not mixing opposing viewpoints, but rather carefully weighing them up.

Abstinence is particularly required in depth psychological psychotherapy. Other schools of psychology take different approaches. In Germany, a psychological psychotherapist who disregards the abstinence requirement can be punished under Section 174c (2) of the Criminal Code and held accountable under civil and professional law.

See also


  • Berndt Gustafssonr:  Abstinence / abstinence movements . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE). Volume 1, de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1977, ISBN 3-11-006944-X , pp. 392-398.
  • Peter Sadowski: Self-management therapy: interventions in an inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol addiction , 2007. This dissertation is based on practical experience gathered over decades. Based on this, Sadowski published a generally understandable book:
  • Peter Sadowski: The mature drinker. Self-management therapy for alcoholics. dgvt-Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-87159-066-5 (www.der-muendige-trinker.de)

Web links

Commons : Abstinence  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Abstinence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: abstinence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

References and comments

  1. ^ Karl Lenz, Werner Schefold, Wolfgang Schröer: Unbounded Coping with Life: Youth, Gender and Youth Welfare. Juventa, Weinheim 2004, p. 83 ( books.google.ch ).
  2. ^ John Santelli et al .: Can changes in sexual behaviors among high school students explain the decline in teen pregnancy rates in the 1990s? In: Journal of Adolescent Health . Volume 35, 2004, pp. 80-90.
  3. ^ Hannah Brückner, Peter Bearman: After the promise: The STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges. In: Journal of Adolescent Health. 36, 2005, pp. 271-278, doi: 10.1016 / j.jadohealth.2005.01.005 . Celibacy PR does not make young people more chaste . Mirror online
  4. a b c No-sex campaigns are useless - Federal government relies on education . Süddeutsche.de , August 3, 2007
  5. Katrin F. Stanger-Hall, David W. Hall: Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the US 2011
  6. ^ Abstinence-only education policies and programs: A position paper of the Society. (PDF) In: Adolescent Medicine Journal of Adolescent Health , Vol. 38, 2006, pp. 83-87
  7. The End of Enlightenment . ( Memento from October 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Berlin Institute for Population and Development
  8. Deadly Commandments . In: Die Zeit , No. 33/2007
  9. This is contradicted by a dissertation by Peter Sadowski, see alcohol disease .
  10. Lorenz Böllinger, Heino Stöver: Drug Practice, Drug Law, Drug Policy. Handbook for drug users, parents, drug counselors, doctors and lawyers. 4th edition. Frankfurt 1995, p. 88 ff.
  11. Jean Laplanche, Jean-Bertrand Pontalis: The vocabulary of psychoanalysis (=  Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft . Volume I , no. 7 ). 1st edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, DNB  540124540 , p. 22 (ISBN in book edition: 3-518-17607-7).
  12. Stavros Mentzos : Neurotic Conflict Processing, Introduction to the psychoanalytic theory of neuroses, taking into account more recent perspectives . Kindler Verlag, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt 1992, pp. 269, 271-272
  13. SO Hoffmann, G. Hochapfel: Neurosenlehre, psychotherapeutic and psychosomatic medicine . Compact textbook, Schattauer, Stuttgart 2003, p. 409
  14. E. Hahn: The psychotherapeutic abstinence requirement of § 174c Abs. 2 StGB - A "failed attempt" of the legislature? Health Law (GesR) 2011, pp. 649–655.
  15. uni-egoswald.de