Some teenagers decide to have sexual relationships because their friends think sex is cool. Others feel pressured by the person they are dating. Still others find it easier to give in and have sex than to try to explain why not. Some teenagers get caught up in the romantic feelings and believe having sex is the best way they can prove their love.
Some things to think about before peer pressure makes the decision for you:
- Not every person your age is having sex. Even if sometimes it feels like everyone is "doing it," it is important to realize that this is not true. People often talk about sex in a casual manner, but this doesn't mean they are actually having sex.
- Hollywood doesn't show the full story. Sexual situations are everywhere in our culture. They are on television, in movies, and even in commercials and magazines. This is part of the reason why we enjoy these things so much. Just remember: characters in these movies, television shows, and advertisements are actors and actresses. They can't get unwanted pregnancies and STIs. You can.
Knowing how you feel about yourself is the first big step in handling peer pressure. It's OK to want to enjoy your teen years and all the fun times that can be had. It's OK to respect yourself enough to say, "No, I'm not ready to have sex."
Ways to Avoid Peer or Date Pressure:
- Hang out with friends who also believe that it's OK to not be ready for sex yet.
- Go out with a group of friends rather than only your date.
- Introduce your friends to your parents.
- Invite your friends to your home.
- Stick up for your friends if they are being pressured to have sex.
- Think of what you would say in advance in case someone tries to pressure you.
- Always carry money for a telephone call or cab in case you feel uncomfortable.
- Be ready to call your mom, dad or a friend to pick you up if you need to leave a date.
- Never feel obligated to "pay someone back" with sex in return for a date or gift.
- Say "no" and mean "no" if that's how you feel.
The effects of drugs and alcohol can make it hard to think clearly, let alone make the best possible decisions about sex. While you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol it is easy to make a decision you'll regret later. Even worse, there are some people who will use the effects of alcohol and other drugs to force you into having sex with them.