Peer pressure is always tough to deal with, especially regarding sex. Some teenagers decide to have sexual relationships because they think everyone their age is doing it, and it isn’t a big deal. Others feel pressured by the person they are dating. Still, others find it easier to give in and have sex rather than to try to explain why they don’t want to or are not ready. Some teenagers get caught up in romantic feelings and believe having sex is the best way to prove their love or the logical next step in the relationship.
Here are some things to consider 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. In a 2019 survey of U.S. high school students, only 38% of the students stated they had ever had sex and only 27% were sexually active at the time of the survey. That means that way more than half of your classmates aren’t having sex!
Our culture and media don’t paint that picture though. Sexual situations are everywhere in our culture and throughout all forms of media. They are on television, in movies, in music, in commercials and magazines, and all over social media. It isn’t surprising that so many teenagers believe everyone around them is having sex.
Another misconception is that teenage sex isn’t a big deal. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most teens agree that sex is meaningful, and in a recent survey, 78% of young adults/teens would rather be in a serious romantic relationship with no sex over having sex without a serious relationship. In addition, according to the CDC, people who start having sex in their teens are more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy and to get sexually transmitted diseases. The characters in the movies, television shows, and advertisements we mentioned before are actors and actresses playing a role. They can’t have unplanned pregnancies and get STIs… but you can.
It really is important to slow down and take note of the messages we are receiving about sex, because if we don’t know the truth, we might make decisions based on false info which can harm our future. We want to say YES to the best possible future, and with all the FACTS in mind, which is the first big step in handling peer pressure as it relates to sex. It’s OK to respect yourself enough to say, “No, I’m not ready to have sex.”
How to avoid peer or date pressure as a teenager:
If you’re worried about being pressured, or you’re currently experiencing peer pressure, please know that you are not alone and there is something you can do about it.
- Hang out with friends who also believe it’s OK not to be ready for sex yet.
- Go out with a group of friends rather than only your date.
- Introduce your friends and people you date to your parents.
- Invite your friends and people you date to your home.
- Stick up for your friends if they are being pressured to have sex.
- Think of what you would say in advance if someone tries to pressure you.
- Remember that you can always set up an Uber or Lyft home if you feel uncomfortable.
- Be ready to call your mom, dad, or a trusted 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.
If you are feeling confused about sex and whether you are ready for it, we are here for you! Our patient advocates are ready to listen and help you work through these difficult topics. Options Health is a safe place where you can confidentially come and discuss sexual health, pregnancy, and relationship issues with one of our patient advocates. Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy options consultation, STD testing, and abortion aftercare. Call us or text us to schedule an appointment. We are here for you and ready to listen!