“When I was in school, if someone claimed to have had sex, everyone else felt that they had to catch up and do the same. After all, no one wants to be the oddball.”—Elaine, 21.
Have you ever felt pressure to have sex—just because everyone else seems to be doing it?
Have you ever felt pressure to have sex because someone you love is trying to coerce you?
If so, this article can help you to resist pressure—from others or from your own desires—so that you can make better choices.
Myths and facts
MYTH: Everyone is having sex (except me).
FACT: In one survey, two out of three 18-year-olds claimed that they had already had sex. But that means a large number—more than 30 percent—had not. Not “everyone” is having sex.
MYTH: Sex will strengthen our relationship.
FACT: Although some boys may promote that thinking in order to coerce a girl into having sex, the facts say otherwise. All too often, a boy will break up with a girl after having sex with her—much to the outrage of the girl, who thought he was in love with her or at least had some sense of commitment.*
MYTH: The Bible is against sex.
MYTH: Living by the Bible will make my life miserable.
FACT: If you wait until marriage to have sex, you will be happier because you will have avoided the worries, regrets, and insecurities that often result from premarital sex.
The bottom line: Postponing sex until marriage has never hurt anyone. But having sex before marriage has.
How to resist pressure to have sex
Strengthen your moral convictions. The Bible says that mature people “have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:14) They have convictions and are therefore less likely to cave in to pressure.
“I work very hard to do the right thing and have a good reputation, and I refuse to put myself in a situation that would cause me to lose that.”—Alicia, 16.
To think about: What kind of reputation do you want to have? Is it worth sacrificing that reputation just to gain the approval of someone else?
Consider the consequences. The Bible says: “Whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Fast-forward and think about how your life—and the life of another person—could change if you gave in to the pressure to have sex.*
“Premarital sex is often followed by guilt, regret, and even feelings of being unloved—not to mention the possibility of unwanted pregnancy or of getting a sexually-transmitted disease.”—Sienna, 16.
To think about: The book Sex Smart asks: “If your friends are pushing you to do things that can mess you up, are they the kind of people you should be hanging out with and listening to about important life issues?”
Have a balanced view. Sex is not the enemy. In fact, the Bible indicates that married couples should enjoy this aspect of their relationship.—Proverbs 5:18, 19.
“Sex is a beautiful part of creation. God wants us to enjoy it, but only under the arrangement that he designed for it, which is marriage.”—Jeremy, 17.
To think about: If you do get married one day, you will be able to have sex. And you’ll be able to enjoy it fully, without the negative consequences mentioned earlier.
Of course, it is not always the boy who is the aggressor. In many cases, girls try to coerce boys into having sex.
Among other things, consequences could include unwanted pregnancy and—depending on the ages of the two persons—legal issues involving sexual activity with minors.