Not too long ago, the message of abstinence was everywhere in mainstream media. It was very common for celebrities to claim to be virgins who were dedicated to abstinence until marriage or similar commitment. There was this idea of abstinence being cool.
And then, it seemed that it was no longer 'cool' in the same way. Celebrities hardly mention it these days, it seems.
The thing is, encouraging people to choose abstinence because it is 'cool' is pointless. Things are cool one day and 'so uncool' the next. We choose abstinence for good reasons. We believe in stable, healthy families, and that requires children only be potentially born into committed families. In turn, a committed family can only exist when two people are committed to spending the rest of their lives together, when they agree not to walk away just because they don't feel like being together anymore. It's not foolproof, and some marriages do turn sour, but it's at least something we should try for, I believe.
And if you believe in the above, it appears that the only situation where those conditions are reliably achieved is with a vow of abstinence until marriage or similar commitment. Sometimes this vow may be made to look 'cool', sometimes it may be informed by religious views and sometimes not, but the most important thing is the reasoning behind it, I believe. (Note that we don't judge others who don't believe or live the same way as we do, but it's great to openly discuss and celebrate our cultural lifestyle, right?)
However, there is still one more barrier we have to overcome. There are sadly plenty of people in the community who see those promoting abstinence as fundamentalist religious bigots or moronic ultraconservatives. And I guess you wouldn't be able to blame them, with a lot of abstinence education being carried out by homophobic right wing religious groups.
The point we should make is that we believe in abstinence until marriage or similar commitment, we live our lives according to this belief, we support each other in living this belief, and we are happy to share this belief with others. This, however, doesn't mean we think that everyone who doesn't believe and live this way are somehow less 'moral' than us. People live differently for different reasons, and whilst celebrating and promoting our own culture and lifestyle, we cannot really judge others'.
For this very reason, I believe the way abstinence only education is run is actually bringing abstinence a bad name. We need to reclaim the abstinence movement: it's a cultural belief that we share, not a judgement on the rest of the world.
p.s. What about gay people, some have asked me. This abstinence reasoning is mainly based on heterosexual relationships, but in the spirit of societal-wide equality, all abstinence movements should warmly welcome gay people too. If there should be equality in marriage, there really should be equality in abstinence too! Besides, there are many other benefits to the vow of abstinence, for both straight and gay people alike.