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Dealing With the Pressure to Have Sex

Does it feel like everyone around you is having sex? Is your partner ready, but you're not sure? We're here to help. Ask Us Anything!

How do I bring up the topic of sex with my girlfriend without feeling like I'm pressuring her?

Let your girlfriend know that you want to talk to her about your relationship, but that there’s no pressure or expectation attached to the conversation. Tell her where you’re at and let her be open and honest with you. Make sure she knows that you’re not trying to pressure her, but that you want to make sure that you’re both on the same page. Communication is really important in any relationship, so it’s important that you two have this talk. If you’re uncomfortable bringing it up out of the blue, you might want to use a TV show or movie that you’ve both seen that relates to the topic as an opener. Any way you bring it up, remember that it’s important you both feel completely ready and comfortable before things heat up.  
 
If you do decide that you’re ready for sex, it’s really important that you use protection. To see what options are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer, or have a chat with your doctor. 

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How do I tell someone no when they ask for sex?

Sex should never feel like an obligation. If you’re being pressured to have sex, that’s not a healthy relationship. If you’re not ready or don’t want to have sex, all you should have to say is no. If you’re not being pressured but don’t know how to respond, you might want to have a conversation about what you’re both ready for and comfortable with in terms of getting physical to make sure you’re on the same page. Bottom line: it’s your body, so it’s your choice. If you don’t want to have sex, say no. If you’re being pressured by someone to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, tell a trusted adult or check out the resources at LoveIsRespect.Org

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I'm going off to college in the fall and I will be living 3 hours away from my boyfriend. We've been talking about sex for a few months, and I'm not sure if we should have sex before I go away or if that will just make me miss him more. What should I do?

Deciding whether or not you’re ready for sex is a really personal decision, and there’s no specific time in a relationship when you’re supposed to start having sex. It’s something you’re going to have to think about really carefully. Where do you see the relationship going forward? It’s awesome that you guys have already talked about sex, and it might be time to have another conversation. Let him know your concerns and give him the chance to respond. It’s really important that you both feel ready and comfortable before you have sex. Make sure that you’re on the same page about next year, because long distance can be really hard.  

Once you and this guy talk about your expectations for next year, if you both feel ready and comfortable with the idea of having sex, there’s no reason not to go for it. If you decide that you’re ready for sex, use protection. To see what options are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer, or have a chat with your health care provider. 

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Lately, my boyfriend has been wanting to get physical, not sex but other stuff. We've been dating for 6 months and I'm afraid it will ruin our relationship. How do you know it's the right time to get physical? How do I know he's not just using me?

There’s no set time in a relationship when you’re supposed to start getting physical; the most important thing is that you and your partner both feel ready and comfortable. If you’re worried, the best thing you can do is just to talk to him! Open and honest communication is really important in a healthy relationship. Tell him why you’re concerned and let him respond. It’s important that you guys are on the same page to avoid pressure or miscommunication. If you’re not ready to get physical, that’s perfectly fine! It’s your body, and you should never feel pressured into a situation that makes you uncomfortable. If you feel like he's using you, that might be a sign your relationship isn't in a good place to move forward physically. To learn more about helathy relationships check out LoveIsRespect.org

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 5 and 1/2 months. There's a band trip coming up in a week and I can tell he wants to do something physical. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing yet. What's the best advice for someone I'm my situation?

Sex should never feel like an obligation. Deciding whether or not you’re ready for sex is a really personal decision, and there’s no specific time in a relationship when you’re supposed to start having sex. It’s something you’re going to have to think about really carefully. Sit down with yourself and decide what you're comfortable/interested in doing with your boyfriend. Once you've determined your own limits, it's time to bring him into the conversation. Talk about what you’re both ready for and comfortable with in terms of getting physical to make sure you’re on the same page. 

If you do decide that you’re ready for sex, it’s really important that you use protection. To see what options are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer, or have a chat with your doctor. 

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Are you a prude if you wait till you're older?

Absolutely not! Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to have sex or to wait. And those reasons are very personal.

If you haven't yet had sex and are thinking about if you're ready here are a few questions to consider: What are your motivations for having sex? What do you need emotionally from your partner? How does your ideal partner make you feel about yourself? Regardless of whether your relationship is casual or monogamous, it’s important to feel that you have a safe place and a partner you trust, particularly when having sex for the first time.

Before you have sex, you should think about what you’ll do to stay safe from STIs and unplanned pregnancy. It’s a good idea to check out your birth control options and talk to your doctor to get birth control if you’re going to have the kind of sex that puts you at risk of unplanned pregnancy (vaginal, a.k.a. penis in vagina sex).  

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Is everyone doing it?

Great question! It might feel like everyone around you is having sex, but actually fewer teens are having sex than ever before! In 2017, only 39.5% of high school students reported having sex, as compared to 47.8% of students in 2007. 

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I had sex when I was like 13 or 14 and I had my first baby in 2017 at the age of 16. Why did the boy force me

If you don’t consent to sex and someone forces you to do something sexual, this is sexual assault, abuse, and/or rape. Someone hurting you like this is never your fault. If a partner or a peer does anything sexual with you when there was fear/intimidation involved or if there was a lack of enthusiastic consent, that’s sexual abuse. Even if you initially agreed and changed your mind or if you didn’t want what was happening to happen to you this could be sexual assault.

Learn more about sexual assault, abuse, and rape, on Planned Parenthood's website, or check out our piece called Was it rape? Thinking about consent and unwanted sex. Or call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. You might find it helpful to talk or chat online with a person who's been trained in it, and RAINN is a great place to find experts to talk with about it. 

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What percentage of high school students do you think are having sex?

The number might surprise you because it's actually lower than you might think! Recent surveys suggest only 39.5% of high school students reported having sex! 

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I am 17, and I want to lose my virginity, what do I do?

Let's start with this - virginity is a concept (not a real thing) created by people to place value on someone based on whether or not they have had sex or not. The thing is this is deconstructive and serves no positive purpose. Keep in mind what qualifies as 'sex' is different for a lot of people, so there is no use in continuing to use virginity as a defining factor for this reason along with many others. That being said -- we get it, the pressure to have sex is real. Focus on making yourself feel good, that means masturbation, doing things that you love, and spending time with people whose company you enjoy. Even though it's easy to do so, try not to compare your timeline to anyone else's, if you want to have sex, put yourself out there and try to get to know someone who you enjoy being with and have romantic feelings/attraction towards, if the feeling is mutual and the other party is willing - you will have sex when you're meant to, in the mean time you do you and try to shake off the pressure in the best way you can. Consider taking some time to think about your priorities, and things only you can answer, think about your motivations for having sex - do you want to do it because you really like someone and want to express that or is it because other people are doing it and you feel left out? Perhaps, it's important to you to know and be in a relationship with your partner the first time you have sex, maybe this isn't important to you at all - either way that's okay. Try journaling about this feeling, see what comes up and go from there. 

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Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

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