Peer pressure and sex have been a massive problem for many years now. There are a couple different types of peer pressure. See the table below from the NHS site for a little more information.
|obvious peer pressure||“Everyone’s doing it, so should you.”|
|underhand peer pressure||“You’re a virgin, you wouldn’t understand.”|
|controlling peer pressure||“You would do it if you loved me.”|
When it comes to sex, peer pressure can play a big part in someone’s first sexual experience. Peer pressure could come not just from your boyfriend or girlfriend but sometimes your friends as well. When someone is pressuring you into doing something you are not 100% comfortable with, it’s hard, it’s not easy to say how you really feel. You feel like you’re disappointing them or worried that they won’t like you anymore if you do not do what they are ready to do.
One of the most important things I tell people is that you can always say no. If you’re not ready to do something or do not want to, you have the right to say no, you need to remember you are not obliged to do anything. Sex should be something you do, not because they want you to do it, but because you want to do it. If you feel like you want to wait or that you do not want to do it, be clear with the person you are talking about having sex with, let them know how you feel, do not go ahead with having sex with them if you’re not 100% comfortable and happy to do that.
In a world, where it feels like everyone your age is having sex, it can be hard to separate your feelings, your mind is telling you ‘I think you’re ready because everyone else your age is having sex’ but also saying ‘ I don’t think I am ready even know everyone else my age is having sex’. Now, I can you, some of those people who claim to be having sex, are not. They are simply lying because they want people to think they are having sex or maybe they’re been pressured. Some are having sex, I was on those, I lost my virginity while still in high school, but not because everyone else was. Unfortunately, some of those who are currently having sex, don’t feel 100% about doing it.
Sex comes with many adult responsibilities, it is important that you know everything you need to know about sex and all things that come with sex. Knowing you are ready to have sex isn’t just about a feeling or an age(of consent), it’s also about being aware of what sex is. Once you know all you need to know about having sex, you’ll be one step closer to being ready. Make sure you have someone to talk to about sex, whether that’s a parent, family member, friend, teacher or in an online chat( in a REAL, helpful chatroom/private chatroom, like Kooth or Childline), you can use these legit sites to talk to real professionals about sex, birth control, pregnancies and STD’s with no judgement and they won’t tell your parents ( they legally can’t, unless you’re in physical danger or they think you’re going to hurt someone, which does not apply here as you will only be asking for sex advice). Also, make sure you know about what contraceptives there are out there and where you can get them, make sure you know how to practice safe sex, to prevent pregnancies and STD’s. The last thing I can say here, is make sure you have spoken to your partner about their sexual history( I do not mean prey on who they have slept with, I mean ask them when they last got checked and if you feel like it’s necessary, ask them if they will go and get tested, if they won’t, you can’t make them, but it is your choice whether you decide to sleep with them or not). Remember, every time you have sex, whether you use birth control or not, there is always a chance of STD’s or pregnancy. It is important to practice safe sex and know who you are sleeping with.
Weirdly, not all peer pressure comes from friends at school, it can also come from parents. Parents like to think they know best all the time and I have to tell you, that’s not true, yes most parents know how to bring up their children but sometimes they can take a little too much control of their children’s lives. Most parents don’t like to think about their children having sex( I know my dad would have went mad if he found out I was having sex, when he was here), but it is something that is happening and it is completely normal. Some parents tell their children about sex and give them the best start in life. Unfortunately, some tell their children not to have sex, others avoid the subject, hoping their children won’t have sex because they haven’t spoke to them about sex.
My biggest issue with not telling children about sex is that they are going to have sex whether parents tell them about sex, birth control and std’s but these parents assume that their children won’t have sex because they haven’t spoke to them about it, that’s not true, not talking to teens about sex is wrong, if you don’t give them the right information, they are going to and ask their friends who might give them the wrong information, or even worse, they might not ask anyone and just go have sex without knowledge of std’s or birth control. Telling your child they cannot have sex; isn’t going to change anything, these are the children who are going to sneak out and do it behind your back. Have you ever heard the saying ‘strict parents equal sneaky children’. If you are open to your teens and treat them like adults when it comes to sex, they might treat you like equals when it comes to talking to you about sex. My mum always brought me up to tell her about things going in my life, now I didn’t go and tell her every detail, even she didn’t want to hear every detail but she always taught me to open with her, and she’s never judged me for anything, including having sex. I have told her who I have had sex with and I thought at one point she’d be angry with me but she wasn’t, luckily I have a pretty amazing mum and I’m lucky to have her, as I know not all parents are like her. Trust me I know, I had complete opposite parents, they tried to bring me up 2 different ways and as much I love my dad, and have some his family’s traits, I followed my mums way of life. Moral of the story, your parents aren’t in control of your sex life, so if you are of change of consent ( 16 in the UK, although I am not going to lie, I started having sex before I was 16) and know all about sex and the responsibilities, then it’s up to you when and who(with) you start having sex.
If someone is pressuring you into anything including sex, please remember you can say NO, you have a choice. Remember never to pressure anyone who clearly doesn’t want to do something, into doing what you want them to do, it’s wrong. You also do not have to tell anyone about your sex life, if they ask how many people you have slept with etc, you do not have to answer unless you want to. No one is alone, so do not feel like you are, peer pressure affects a lot of people and in my opinion, a form of bullying, so don’t stand for it!