2. Or: sexual abstinence , refraining from sexual/genital relations of any kind, temporarily or permanently, as a religious requirement, as a contraceptive measure or for other motives. Refraining from sexual intercourse during menstruation, ovulation or late pregnancy are examples of temporary abstinence. Periodic (sexual) abstinence during the fertile period of the menstrual cycle is the basis for the method of birth control known as natural family planning. The lifelong vow of celibacy and chastity taken by monks, priests and nuns is an example of permanent or total (sexual) abstinence. Synonyms and quasi-synonyms: celibacy; chastity; coitus abstentia; continence; self-denial; temperance; sobriety. Note: Remember, absence, not abstinence makes the heart grow founder.