How to say no if you want to

Many teenagers are under a lot of peer pressure to explore their sexuality. This pressure comes not only from friends, but often also from a girlfriend or boyfriend who is keen to go all the way.

Having sex is a serious decision to make, despite how easy TV and movies make it look. Movies don't show the relationship problems that are sometimes caused, the impact of early sex on your body and possible unplanned for consequences – like pregnancy. One in every three babies born in the Western Cape is born to a mother under the age of eighteen - this is a very real problem in South African society.

If you feel you're under pressure, here are some possible answers you can give if you feel you are not ready to get involved on this level:

Her: But everybody’s doing it.
Him: Everybody’s not doing it. A lot of people decide to wait, or pretend to be sexually active to impress their friends.

Him: If you loved me, you would have sex with me.
Her: If you loved me, you wouldn’t expect me to do something I don’t feel comfortable with.

Him: I won’t have sex with a condom.
Her: Well, I won’t have sex without a condom.

Him: I’ll die if I don’t have sex.
She : No, you won’t. Sex is nice, but it won’t kill you if you don’t have it. Many people live for years without having sex.

Her: No-one will ever know.
Him: I’ll know and that is enough. Besides I don’t want to do anything that must be kept a secret.

Him: You cannot get pregnant the first time.
Her: Oh yes, I can. Many girls have fallen pregnant when having sex for the first time.

Him: If you won’t have sex with me, I am going to leave you and find someone who will.
Her : Well, if that is all that this relationship is about to you, I’ll be better off without you.

Her: It’s my right to have sex.
Him: And it is my right not to have sex.

Her: You don’t care about my needs.
Him: You don’t seem to care about my feelings, if you are happy to let me do something I might be unhappy about afterwards.

Him: So, you are not interested in sex. Maybe there is something wrong with you.
Her: Of course I am interested in sex. But it won’t feel right for me to do it now with you.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)

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