Sometimes No Is the Best Answer
Rejection: it hurts. No one likes hearing the word “no” come out of anyone’s mouth, especially from a boyfriend or girlfriend. But those two letters could be the reason you don’t become pregnant or contract an STI. No matter how hard or uncomfortable it is, we need to know it’s okay to say no to sex. Teens must think twice before having sex, because once it’s done, there is no going back.
Messages to have sex are all around us; whether they’re from our friends, peers, older siblings, or the media. This is why it is especially hard to say no to a partner: we don’t want to hurt their feelings or we fear we are doing something wrong or maybe we’re afraid we are breaking social norms. But, no matter how prevalent sex is, most of it really is a façade. In fact, more than half of high school-aged teens are virgins. This is why it’s okay to say no; most of us are not ready and want to wait.
If you are being pressured to have sex, the best thing you can do is be honest and tell your partner why you aren’t ready to have sex. Even if you’ve heard it since elementary school, honesty is the best policy. A flat out “No!” sounds defensive and harsh and will not help get your message across. If you want your boyfriend or girlfriend to understand your reservations, you have to create open communication. By explaining why you don’t want to have sex, you are expressing your feelings, which should matter to the person who’s asking you to share this intimate experience. Sex is serious so you want to make sure you are doing it with someone who thinks so as well.
The worst thing is thinking you know someone, then being blindsided when that person insists you have sex with them. You feel betrayed, confused, and maybe scared. If you love this person, these feelings multiply because you trust him or her in a way that’s different from the way you feel about your other friends. So, is being honest and expressing your feelings of being not ready going to change your relationship? Maybe. Being pressured to have sex is not necessarily a relationship-ender, though it can be. You might second-guess what you thought about that person. Why would someone I love try to pressure me to do something I don’t want to? Is it okay that I want to say “no”? These questions will swirl around in your brain. But is it really okay to ask the person you are with why they are urging you to do something you are not comfortable with? YES. If this person cares about you, he or she will listen to what you want and respect it. If not, that person is not worth your time.
What’s important to remember is that it’s okay to say “no”. Sex is not a mandatory component to being in a relationship. Just trust your gut and do what your comfortable with and you’ll be just fine.
Do you think it’s hard to say no to a partner who wants to do more sexually than you do? Why or why not? What are your best tips for saying no without hurting someone’s feelings? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Allison is 17 and from Bethesda, Maryland. She is a member of The National Campaign’s Youth Leadership Team. Nothing makes her happier than crime drama marathons, especially back-to-back episodes of Bones. Have a question for Allison? Email us!
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