What can I do if I’m being pressured to have sex? Well first, you are not alone if this is something you are dealing with or have dealt with. Sexual pressure involves each and every child, teen and adult, and can even start a shockingly young age!
So, what is sexual pressure? Sexual pressure is the influence from an individual or social group on another individual to engage in any sexual activity. It can mean physical pressure, verbal pressure or emotional pressure. Ultimately, pressure is when someone wants or forces you to do something that you do not feel comfortable doing.
The general need to fit in is usually why people succumb to sexual pressure. They want to be liked and they want to fit in, but in reality the majority of teens in the U.S. are not having sex; and those that do have sex often feel regret, anger, emotional discomfort, guilt and depression. In fact, 2 out of 3 sexually active teens say they wished they had waited.
Dealing with sexual pressure is by no means easy, especially if you want to be liked by your partner or peers. But when the pressure hits, have something to say for yourself!
Here is a list of few possible responses if someone says…
- Come on, just this once.” You can say:“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I’d rather save myself for someone I can be with for life.”
- “Everybody’s doing it.” You can say: “I’m not everybody, and you’re wrong. Most American teens haven’t had sex.”
- “If you really loved me, you would have sex with me.” You can say: “If you loved me, you wouldn’t ask and you would respect my feelings and beliefs.”
- “I promise we’ll use a condom every time.” You can say: “Even if we do, I could still get an infection or get pregnant.”
- “No one has to know.” You can say: “I’ll know and that’s enough.”
- “What are you afraid of?” You can say: “HIV, HPV, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes and about 20 other STIs.”
- “If we’re not going to have sex, then we’re through.” You can say: “Fine. See ya!”
The best way to avoid being pressured into having sex is to avoid situations where someone could pressure you. Always think ahead and have a way out of a situation that could make you feel uncomfortable!
Here are a few helpful suggestions to avoid putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation:
- If you are tired, don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to make a tough choice late at night.
- If you just broke up with someone, don’t try to ease the pain with something that will hurt you even more. Be aware of your emotional state.
- Try not to be isolated. Take the pressure off by double dating and hanging out in a group of friends. You are less likely to lose control if you are around others.
- And finally, be aware that when you drink or use drugs it can impair your judgment and make it harder to say “no.” In fact, a shocking number of teenagers’ first sexual experience involves the use of drugs or alcohol.
So remember to speak your mind! Say “No” firmly and clearly and if you begin to feel pressured and uncomfortable try to change the subject. If that doesn’t work, get away from the situation. If it is hard for you to get away, say “NO!” firmly and clearly. Repeat it loudly. If you are being threatened, yell and run away. Tell a trusted adult, whether it is a family member, teacher, coach, counselor or school nurse and call 911.
You should never feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. You have control of your life and the decisions you make for yourself!
 National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Not Just Another Thing To Do: Teens Talk about Sex, Regret, and the Influence of Their Parents. April 27, 2000.
 Kaiser Family Foundation. Virginity and the First Time: A series of Surveys of Teens about Sex. Menio, CA: The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation; 2003. Publication No. 3368. Available at: http://www.kff.org/entpartnerships/upload/Virginity-and-the-First-Time-Summary-of-Findings.pdf. Accessed 2011 July 26.