Adult sexual behavior includes a range of different sexual activities. There are some adults who choose not to engage in sexual behavior, whereas others may choose to ex­periment with sexual partners and behaviors. Celibacy, or abstinence, occurs when a person chooses not to engage in sexual intercourse. One 18-year-old man said:

I just don’t take my virginity lightly. I want to be sure that the time is right and my partner is right before I decide to have sex. I want to feel completely comfortable and in love with someone before sex enters into the picture. It’s that important to me. (Author’s files)

In Chapter 9 we discussed abstinence and A. C. Green’s Youth Foundation. People may choose abstinence for many reasons (e. g., to wait for marriage or the right partner, because of a fear of sexually transmitted infections, or for religious convictions). In the past decade, abstinence has become more popular in the United States. Some college students who have become frustrated with past sexual relationships have decided to be­come abstinent and spend time working on healthy relationships without sex (Elliot & Brantley, 1997). Some people remain abstinent their whole lives and have no sexual partners, whereas others may go through life with just one partner, and still others have multiple partners.