Peer pressure is when you feel like you have to do something because everyone else is doing it.
Even though it may seem like everyone around you has had sex, you have to make your own decision. You must use your own judgement to decide when it’s the right time and the right person. Click here to read Carrie's story.
There are several kinds of peer pressure:
Obvious peer pressure: ‘Everyone’s doing it, and so should you.’
Underhand peer pressure: ‘You wouldn’t understand because you’re still a virgin.’
Controlling peer pressure: ‘If you really loved me, you would have sex with me.’
Some tips for dealing with peer pressure:
Don’t do anything you don’t want to do! Listen to your instinct. If you feel uncomfortable, there is probably something wrong and unsafe about the situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Be comfortable with saying ‘no’: Good friends will respect your decisions, will stand up for you, and will stop pressuring you after you’ve said no. It’s easier to say ‘no’ to your partner than it is to say ‘yes, I’m pregnant’ or tell your parents.
Avoid situations where you have to say ‘no’: If you are invited somewhere where you might be pressured into something you might be unhappy about, don’t go.
Plan ahead and be creative: Plan what you will say and do before you end up in a stressful situation.
Make friends who feel the same way as you do: Choose friends who will speak up with you and for you. Chances are that if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, someone else in that group feels uncomfortable as well.
Don’t hesitate to get an adult’s help: Talk to someone (parent, teacher, school counsellor, or someone else) about the pressures you are dealing with. Ask them to support you. Make up a code-word that you can use to tell your parents when you are feeling uncomfortable in a situation and want them to pick you up and bring you home.
How to say yes, no, or maybe without looking silly:
Here are some phrases you can use if your partner tries to pressure you into having sex when you’re not ready:
'I want to wait until I’m married’
'I like you but I don’t think I am ready for sex yet.'
'If you loved and respected me you would be OK with me saying no.'
‘I want to respect my parents.’
‘I don’t want to risk a pregnancy and you probably don’t either ’
‘I want to respect my religion.’
‘I don’t want to do anything I might regret.’
Am I frigid?
When it seems like everyone else is having sex, sometimes people can accuse you of being ‘frigid’. Sometimes you can worry that it may be true. There is nothing wrong with taking things slowly and waiting until you are ready. It is much better, physically and emotionally, to say no to sex until you’re ready than it is to be rushed into having sex.
The decision to have sex or not
The decision to have sex must be a personal decision. If you’re not ready for it or if it’s not the right person, choose not to have sex. Sex is both a physical and emotional thing, and it’s important to protect not only your body, but your emotions. It’s OK if your friends value different things from you. It is part of what makes people unique. However, it also means that your friends may think it’s fine to have casual sex when you don’t. Remember that true friends respect your decisions, no matter what.
Sex should never be a pressured act and needs careful planning and talking about.
The decision to stop having sex
If a person has had sex before, they can still make the decision not to have sex from now on. Sometimes this is for religious reasons. Other people may try to pressure them into having sex again. They might make the argument that after someone loses his/her virginity there is nothing else left to lose.
When a person decides to stop having sex, for whatever reason, it is easy for their partner to feel hurt or cheated. They might accuse the other person of being selfish and unfeeling. These feelings may lead to a break-up because that relationship isn’t fulfilling his/her sexual desires anymore.
If you think your partner will break up with you because you won’t have sex with them, you may have to ask yourself whether it was a worthwhile relationship in the first place. Remember: your value and worth do not lie in your sexual appeal or in what other people think of you. Your value and worth lie in how you view and respect yourself.