Abstinence is the deliberate avoidance of pleasurable or desired activities. In common parlance the term is most often used to refer to the avoidance of alcohol or sex but can be used to refer to any pleasurable activity. Many religions champion abstinence of various sorts (sexual, dietary, social, etc.) on either short term or even permanent bases.

For instance, Catholicism calls for lifetime abstinence from sex for clergy and "religious" (monks and nuns) and advocates short-term abstinence by all members from a chosen activity during the season of Lent. Judaism and Islam both call for abstinence for consuming pork.

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