The pedagogical concepts introduced in Making Sense of Abstinence make it unlike other abstinence education manual. There are four key themes that are woven throughout the manual’s sixteen lessons:
- abstinence education needs to help young people define abstinence in ways that help them understand and apply their decisions in real life
- abstinence education needs to include decision-making, skills-building opportunities
- abstinence education is not just talking about which behaviors to avoid, but also the behaviors that are permitted in a person’s decision (and the associated risks and benefits)
- abstinence education needs to help young people protect their sexual health, and transition safely when they decide to no longer abstain.