What to Say When Someone Is Pressuring You
When someone is pressuring you to move faster or further in a relationship than you want to, you do not have to give in to that pressure. Hopefully, having a clear, honest conversation with your partner will establish boundaries you are comfortable with. For example, you can say something like "I'm not ready to have sex yet. I'm only comfortable hugging, kissing goodnight, and holding hands." If you are waiting until marriage to have sex, let your partner know. A loving response is kind, respectful of your boundaries, and willing to do only what you feel comfortable with when it comes to physical intimacy.
The reason it's so important to be clear about physical boundaries is that not doing so can lead to sexual harassment or assault. Sexual assault happens when someone touches you sexually, or has sex with you, after you have said no. If you did not give consent when your partner had sex with you, or you were unable to consent to intimate touching when it happened, there is support available to understand sexual assault and how to heal from it. If you do feel safe talking about boundaries with your partner, but are unsure how to do it, a counselor or mentor can help you find the right words.
Feeling Pressured to Have Sex in a Dating Relationship Is Common, But Not Acceptable.
In a recent survey, 61% of all teenage girls say they are being pressured to have sex with their boyfriends. Guys are also pressured to have sex with their girlfriends.
Listen to this call I had with Justin. Justin’s friend asked him for advice. His friend wants to stop having sex with his girlfriend, because it goes against his religious beliefs. But his girlfriend disagrees with him.
Love never demands someone to do something that would violate another.
Many of those who are pressured into having sex give in to it mostly because of the overwhelming fear of losing the person they care about, if they don't agree to have sex. I find that very often people who end up having a sexual relationship are simply doing whatever they think needs to be done to hold on to their bf/gf. In the end, some bargain away their bodies in their attempt to keep the relationship going. But in the process, they lose their self-respect and gain the very real possibility of unwanted pregnancy, diseases, rape, bad reputation, and of course, a broken heart.
Becca has learned this the hard way, "I was recently violated by a guy who I thought was a really great guy, but then he started pressuring me and now I hate him for it. We aren't even talking anymore. If you're a guy and you read this, can you please take this seriously and please respect the girl that you like and please don't violate her! It can really make a big difference in anyone's life."
What Is Consent?
If your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex, it’s time to talk to him about consent. What is consent? Consent is a fundamental aspect of any healthy and respectful relationship. When you consent to something, you’re essentially agreeing to it, but it goes beyond a simple, one-time “yes.” Consent should be an ongoing, enthusiastic, and voluntary agreement to participate in any form of intimacy.
If you don’t want to have sex, but you say “yes” because your boyfriend has repeatedly pressured you, that’s not true consent because it wasn’t voluntary or enthusiastic. If you thought you wanted to have sex, but you changed your mind, your consent is no longer ongoing—that “yes” became a “no,” and your partner should respect that at all times.
It may be a terrifying concept to sit your partner down and discuss boundaries, but if you’re feeling pressured, it’s imperative that you communicate. Tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them what is and isn’t acceptable for you right now. For example, “We can kiss and hold hands, but I’m not ready for more than that,” or “We can make out, but I want your hands to stay on top of my clothes, never under them.”
Without a very clearly communicated boundary, it may be that the pressure you’re feeling from your partner is a misunderstanding about where your line is—they may be happy to respect what you ask for once they have more information! If your partner argues with you or pushes back on the boundaries you set, that’s a major red flag you can’t ignore. They don’t respect your right to have ongoing, enthusiastic, and voluntary consent when it comes to your own body. Are you sure you want to be in an intimate relationship with that person?
And remember, consent goes both ways. If you have the unequivocal right to issue and withdraw consent at any time, so does your partner. Even if you and your partner have had sex before, you have no right to assume that means they want to again, nor do you have a right to express frustration or push back in any way when they tell you “no.” For a healthy relationship to work, there has to be trust. Trust can’t exist when one or both partners feel like they’ll be manipulated into changing their minds or punished when they communicate a clear boundary.
Talk to your partner about consent today, and ask someone for help if you feel your boundaries are being violated.
What Can You Do if You're Feeling Pressured to Have Sex?
If you are being pressured to have sex, realize this is a huge red flag. Below are four thoughtful responses to the pressure - both to realize for yourself and to explain to your boyfriend or girlfriend.
1. Know where you stand in your convictions.
Most people with strong values have a clear understanding of what they believe and are far less susceptible to giving in to things they don't want to do.
Do you want to be a person who waits until they are married to have sex? It's important to define for yourself why this is important to you.
Are you aware of the power sex has to arouse deep emotions? Are you willing and able to bear the responsibility of a child?
Without strong convictions, the person you date could push their value system (or lack of!) onto you. Before you start talking to a guy or girl, make sure you know what you believe and why. This will be extremely helpful when you're being pressured.
Juli wrote: "It is easy to give in and say 'yes' but we have to prepare ahead of time so we can say 'no.' If you just wait until the moment, you easily cave in. My boyfriend pressured me so much and I gave in. I wish I hadn't, and I won't again."
2. Talk about your decision to save sex for marriage.
Explain your desire to wait to have sex with your bf/gf. Tell them that it has nothing to do with a lack of feelings or your level of commitment. You like your boyfriend or girlfriend so much that you don't want to ruin a great relationship by having sex. This conversation takes a lot of courage because your pressuring partner may refuse to understand what you are saying. They may take it personally or get mad and walk away. Nonetheless, the person who can talk things out is far happier than those who keep things deeply hidden.
Madison said, "My boyfriend keeps trying to get me to do stuff with him, such as kiss him or have sex. I made a promise to God, my mom, and my family that I wouldn't do anything with a guy until I got married. My boyfriend always thinks that the reason I don't want to do things with him is because I don't like him, which is so far from the truth."
If your boyfriend is really "a keeper," he will understand and respect your decision.
3. While waiting, learn what real love is.
The term "love" is one of the most misunderstood and abused words in the dictionary. Sometimes, when a guy says to a girl, "I love you," he is saying, "I don't love you; I love me and what sexual favors you do for me." Love never demands someone to do something that would violate another. Love does not trash someone else's deeply held values.
God is the creator of love and here is how he describes it:
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut,
doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” and doesn’t fly off the handle. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
In other words, love is patient and is willing to wait for the right time and the right person. Love always looks after the other person first. Love is never selfish. When a guy loves a girl, he will do everything he can to protect her.
God also created sex as an expression of love between a man and a woman. Sex is a beautiful gift from God when used in the right way.
Mandy wrote: "[When I have sex,] I feel loved and wanted, that's why I give in. Hoping that something will come out of it and it never does. If I can feel wanted, even if it's in a sexual way, I like it, but yet on the other hand, I don't." For the relatively few brief moments she is having sex, Mandy somehow feels loved. But after it's over and she is alone again, those empty words leave her unfulfilled and searching for more. Mandy is confused about what love is.
Someone once said, "Love can always wait to give. Lust can't wait to get."
A lot of guys will say they love their girlfriend and think that if she loved him, she would have sex with him. Either he doesn't know what love is, or he's lying about loving her. It's easy to believe a lie when you want to. It is not easy to face the consequences of believing that lie.
4. Know when to move on.
If the pressure for sex does not let up, get rid of him or her. If you are being pressured to have sex, realize this is a huge red flag that something isn't right in your relationship. It is far better for you to lose your relationship than to do something you will later regret.
Alli wrote, "Three days into the "relationship" he started hinting that he wanted to make out with me. Then 6 days into the "relationship" we made out and then he started talking about sex. He tried to pressure me into it. He kept trying to do stuff, and I told him to stop. I didn't give in, but I ended up breaking up with him the next day." Allie is smart. She knows that if your boyfriend is really "a keeper," he will understand and respect your decision. Remember, most pressured relationships are not love, but rather, they are just uncovered needs, fantasy, confusion, and selfishness.
Heather wrote, "[My boyfriend] knew I was insecure and vulnerable. I think that's why he pressured me so much. He made it sound as if it was my obligation."
Some people won't go into a relationship unless they know they will be able to have sex. Be prepared to be rejected. Just remember you won't die, and in the end, the respect you will have for yourself, and the pain avoided, will be well worth it.
The Bottom Line - It's Your Body
You don't ever have to do anything with your body you don't want to do. Sex is not an indicator of love, or even of your level of commitment in a relationship. Sex is not an obligation. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. May God give you a boyfriend or girlfriend who deeply respects you.
Is your relationship healthy? Many do not realize they are in an unhealthy relationship. Ask yourself these questions to find out.