Young People Ask . . .
How Can I Say No to Sex at School?
“Every day, kids are talking about sex. Girls even approach guys, and they have sex right there at school.”—Eileen, 16.
“At my school, homosexuals do immoral things in full view of other kids and think nothing of it.”—Michael, 15.*
ARE your classmates constantly talking about sex? Do some of them go beyond talk? If so, you might feel similar to one teenage girl who compared being at school to “working on the set of an X-rated movie.” The fact is, at school many youths are regularly bombarded with opportunities to discuss—or even engage in—sex.
You might hear your classmates talk about “hooking up”—a term that means having sex with no emotional strings attached. In some cases kids hook up with casual acquaintances. In other cases they meet for sex with total strangers they have met online. In either scenario the goal of hooking up is to keep love out of the equation. “It doesn’t mean anything besides two people giving into their physical desires,” says 19-year-old Danielle.
Not surprisingly, hooking up has become a hot topic in many schools. “After every weekend, the halls seem to buzz with news of the latest hookup, of which the explicit details are shared between friends,” wrote a 17-year-old girl in her school newspaper.
If you are trying to live by Bible standards, being surrounded by people who seem to talk only about sex can make you feel left out. And if you do not join the crowd, you may become easy prey for ridicule. To some degree this is to be expected, for the Bible says that when others do not understand your course, they may react by “speaking abusively of you.” (1 Peter 4:3, 4) Still, no one likes to be made fun of. So how can you say no to sex at school and maintain a proper sense of pride about your stand? First, it is important to understand why sexual temptation is so powerful.
During adolescence, you undergo rapid changes, both physically and emotionally. As you go through this period, you experience intense sexual urges. Be assured that this is entirely normal. So if you feel strongly attracted to members of the opposite sex at school, do not conclude that you are inherently bad or that you are just not cut out for moral cleanness. You can be chaste if you choose to be!
Besides the inner struggle that is part of adolescence, there is something else you need to be aware of. Being imperfect, all humans are inclined toward badness. Even the apostle Paul admitted: “I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members.” Paul said that his imperfections made him feel “miserable.” (Romans 7:23, 24) But he won the battle, and so can you!
Understand Your Classmates
As pointed out earlier, your classmates may talk about sex all the time or make boasts about their alleged encounters. You should beware of their unwholesome influence. (1 Corinthians 15:33) But you need not view your classmates as your enemies. Why not?
Your classmates have the same desires that you have. They also have an inclination to practice what is bad. But different from you, some of them may be “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” Or they might come from homes where there is “no natural affection” among family members. (2 Timothy 3:1-4) Some of your classmates may lack the loving discipline and moral training that good parents provide.—Ephesians 6:4.
Without the higher source of wisdom that you have at your fingertips—God’s Word, the Bible—your classmates may be unaware of the damage that results from giving free rein to desire. (Romans 1:26, 27) It is as if their parents have given them a powerful car and have sent them onto a busy highway—but have not taught them how to drive. The ride might provide a momentary thrill, but disaster is sure to follow. So, what can you do if your classmates start talking about sex in your presence or if they try to coerce you to join them in their immoral conduct?
Reject Immoral Talk
If your classmates start to talk about immoral sex, you might be tempted to listen and even to join in—just so you do not stand out as different. But think of the message that would send them. Would your interest in their talk reflect the type of person you really are or that you want to be?
What should you do, then, when you find yourself involved in a discussion that turns to immoral sex? Should you just get up and leave? Certainly! (Ephesians 5:3, 4) The Bible states: “Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself.” (Proverbs 22:3) So by leaving the conversation, you are not being rude—you are being shrewd.
Really, you need not feel awkward about excusing yourself from an immoral discussion. Surely, there are other types of conversations you would walk away from without shame, especially if you had no interest in what was being discussed or if you wanted no part in it. For example, suppose a group of your classmates started talking about committing an armed robbery. Would you stay around and listen to the plan? If you did, you could be viewed as an accomplice. Wisely, therefore, you would choose to walk away. Do the same when a conversation turns to immoral sex. Often, you can find a way to leave without appearing self-righteous and inviting ridicule.
Granted, it may not always be possible to remove yourself from a situation. For example, the youths assigned to sit near you in class might try to involve you in conversation about sex. In that case you could firmly but politely tell them to stop distracting you. If that does not work, you could do what Brenda did. “I discreetly asked the teacher to move me,” she says.
Sooner or later, some of your classmates will express curiosity as to why you do not join in their sordid conversations. If they ask about your morals, be discerning about how you answer. Admittedly, some may ask merely to mock you rather than to understand your view. But if the motive of the one questioning you seems genuine, speak up proudly about your beliefs. Many youths have used the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work to help their classmates appreciate the benefits of living by Bible standards.*
What should you do if a fellow student is brazen enough to try to touch you or to kiss you? If you allow the person to do this, you may embolden him or her to continue on this wrong course. The Bible describes a young man who allowed an immoral woman to grab hold of him and kiss him. He let her talk to him in a sexually suggestive manner. With what result? “All of a sudden he is going after her, like a bull that comes even to the slaughter.”—Proverbs 7:13-23.
In contrast, consider how Joseph dealt with a similar situation. His master’s wife persistently attempted to seduce him, but he firmly rejected her offers. When she eventually tried to grab him, he took decisive action and ran.—Genesis 39:7-12.
Like Joseph, you may need to take strong measures if a classmate or some other acquaintance tries to touch you in an improper manner. “If a guy tries to touch me, I tell him to stop,” says Eileen. “If he doesn’t get the message, I yell at him to keep his hands off me.” Regarding the young men at her school, Eileen adds: “They will not respect you unless you make them respect you.”
You too will gain the respect of your classmates if you refuse to listen to immoral talk, respectfully explain your moral stand when appropriate, and firmly reject immoral advances. An added benefit is that you will feel good about yourself. Most important, Jehovah will approve of you!—Proverbs 27:11.
Some names have been changed.
Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
TO THINK ABOUT
▪ What can you say to excuse yourself from an immoral conversation?
▪ What will you say and do if a classmate makes immoral advances?
[Picture on page 27]
If conversation turns to illicit sex, just leave
[Picture on page 28]
Firmly reject immoral advances