Not Right Now

Do you want to practice abstinence as a contraceptive method? Here we provide detailed information about it, its advantages, threats, and disadvantages.
Not Right Now


“Not right now” is one way of saying abstinence, or “no penile-vaginal sex.” It is a very effective method – however, for some people it may be extremely difficult to use. if you use it all the time, you are guaranteed not to get pregnant. If you are avoiding sexual activity altogether, you will also be safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Quick Facts

  • If you do not have sex, you will not get pregnant
  • Effectiveness: “Not right now” is 100% effective if you do not have sex
  • Side effects: none
  • Effort: high. You have to have a lot of control, and it only works if you do not have vaginal sex


[5] It takes discipline and commitment. Saying “not right now” only works as a contraceptive method if you do it consistently.

Good communication skills. If you are dating or in a relationship, you will need to be able to tell your partner what is okay and what is not. Which means you need to be comfortable with speaking with your partner and telling them what you are thinking.

You have support. If you are in a relationship, you both need to be okay with not having vaginal sex. But remember, saying “not right now” does not mean you are not allowed to have fun. It is a great opportunity to get creative with your sex life.

How To Use

Do not have vaginal sex. This method is a conscious, deliberate decision to not have vaginal sex. It is a choice you will need to remember every day. To stick with it, keep reminding yourself why you choose to not have vaginal sex. It also helps to think about the potential consequences of changing your mind. If you decide to have sex, make sure you are protected with another effective contraceptive method.

Other helpful hints:[3]

  • Avoid putting yourself in situations where it will be hard to stick to your decision.
  • Think about avoiding alcohol and drugs as well – they can mess with your judgment.
  • Find people you can talk to about your decision and lean on their support.
  • Talk about your decision with your partner well before you are in the heat of the moment.
  • Be straightforward and clear with your partner about your limits.
  • Explore other sexual options you might enjoy just as much.

Here some stories of Sexual Abstinence

Side Effects

Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.

The Positive:[2]

  • Does not cost a thing
  • Never causes side effects

The Negative:[2]

  • Can be difficult to maintain
  • Hard to stick to the plan if you are drunk


[1] Reproduction, (HRP) Department of Reproductive Health and Research World Health Organization. Retrieved from

[2] SOGC The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. (2016). Contraception. Retrieved from

[3] Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. (2015). Canadian Contraception Consensus Chapter 4: Natural Family Planning. JOGC Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Retrieved from

[4] Vogelsong, K. M. (2017). Natural Contraceptive Methods. UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, (HRP) Department of Reproductive Health and Research World Health Organization. Retrieved from

[5] World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (2018) Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Baltimore and Geneva. Retrieved from

[6] World Health Organization. (2016). Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Geneva. Retrieved from