I remember sex being a hot topic amongst my peers throughout my high school years and even now at university. Sex or the idea of it is ever-present everywhere from the movies we watch, the music we listen to, ads and commercial advertisements. Sometimes it can feel like society is maybe a little too keen to pressure us into having sex. It might also feel like everyone around you is trying to push you into having sex but the one person who has complete control over your decision is YOU.
If you are feeling pressured to have sex because of whatever stigma is attached to abstaining from it, you’re not alone. Peer pressure may come in slightly different forms. There is the general peer pressure: “everyone is doing it, what have you got to lose?”, there’s the condescending peer pressure: “you’re a virgin, what would you know?” and there is the controlling peer pressure “You would do it if you loved me”. Whatever the form of peer pressure you’re feeling, you can stand up to it by making your own decision and not being afraid to say no if you don’t feel ready. Choosing to postpone participating in any sexual behaviour is perfectly healthy as long as it is personally motivated.
Here are some tips to avoid peer pressure:
- Say no and stand by your decision if that is what you feel
- Never feel obligated to have sex with anyone
- Hang out with friends who also think that it’s okay not to be ready for sex or choosing to abstain
- Talk through the pressure you feel with your parents or friends you trust
- Stick up for friends who might be feeling pressured into having sex
The pressure that comes with transitioning into adolescence can be overwhelming. It is common that young people engage in sexual behaviours without full understanding of what is involved just to project a positive perception amongst their peers. Without considering the risks involved and not using protection, this could lead to getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and may even result in the ultimate responsibility of parenthood.
Regardless of your choice of when you would want to engage in sexual behaviours, it is always safe to equip yourself with trusted information and not be afraid to ask questions.
Where to get help:
- Your Doctor
- Sexual Health Helpline Tel. 9227 6178
- Parentline Tel 132 289
- HepititisWA Tel. +61 8 9328 8538
- Sexual Health and Blood-Borne Virus Program (SHBBVP) Tel. 08 9388 4841
- Sexual Health Quarters (SHQ) Tel: 089227 6177
Remember you have sexual rights, this means you have the right to be in control of your body. You and only you can decide what happens with your body and when to engage in sexual behaviours.