Teen Life: Dealing with Peer Pressure and Sex
9 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Talking to Teens About Sex
Peer pressure is an unavoidable part of adolescence and teenhood. To survive the teen years and deal with peer pressure the best way — including when it comes to sex — it’s essential to know how to find the middle ground between giving in too much to peer pressure and ending with regret, and refusing to give in at all and becoming miserable.
So what can help a teenager navigate the narrow path of peer pressure and sex?
A teenager should work through these feelings with his or her parents. Parents have been there before and should be able to provide moral support for the decisions that teenagers make, particularly when they go against peer pressure. With the perspective of age, parents also may be able to help a teenager decide what is a safe issue to give into and what may be more substantial with long-term consequences.
It’s impossible to confirm what friends and classmates say about sex. When it comes to peer pressure and sex, the additional factor of exaggeration comes into play. If a friend told you that wearing baggy pants was cool, you could easily determine if that person was telling the truth just by looking around at what everybody else was wearing. Just because people say they are having sex, however, doesn’t mean that they actually are. People brag about how far they’ve gone, and if a teenager believes them, the effects of peer pressure can become that much stronger.
Don’t be casual about your decision to have sex. Serious consequences follow the decision to have sex, so the decision requires serious thinking. Remember what the consequences can be. A teenager should look deep down inside of himself or herself. That will make the right decision must more likely.
Don’t put added pressure on yourself. When you’re 85 years old and you look back at your life, the age at which you first had sex will be absolutely irrelevant. You won’t care, and neither will anybody else. Even in high school (or college), it’s highly unlikely that people are laughing at the virgins in their class — they’re in the same boat, give or take.
Sometimes, it’s okay to tell a little white lie. Sexual status is not written across one’s forehead, no matter what it may feel like. If teasing is getting out of hand, it may be worth lying.
Waiting can make sex even better. Many people start having sex when they’re very young, but because the situation isn’t right, they never discover how to become great lovers and never have terrific sex lives. Rather than rushing into sex just because someone is a certain age, people find out how to give their feelings time to grow and develop.