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Pro Domo Sua: Narratives of Sexual Abstinence

7 October 2020

Publication date
7 October 2020

Original abstract

Sexual abstinence is generally interpreted as a health-promotion practice, in particular to avoid HIV/AIDS risk and unwanted pregnancy and parenthood. This paper offers insight into narratives and interactional fantasizing that challenge common conceptions of sexual abstinence. The data come from several interviews and group discussions conducted in a netnographic context, altogether involving 21 European, middle‐ and upper‐middle‐class women who have never engaged in sexual intercourse or who are sexually experienced but have discontinued sexual practices for some reason. The women’s narratives and interactional fantasizing about sexual abstinence can reveal positive societal effects such as opposing sexualisation of culture and pressure for sex, but also more individual perspectives such as promoting self-esteem, psycho-physical well-being, work productivity and career prospects. Narratives and interactional fantasizing seem to play an important role in examining how sexual abstinence can impact society, especially people’s perception of sexuality and gender roles.


Poppi, F. I. M. (2020). Pro Domo Sua: Narratives of Sexual Abstinence. Sexuality & Culture. DOI: 10.1007/s12119-020-09782-w

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ethnography, interview, interactional fantasizing, narrative, online, sexual abstinence


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