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Saying no to sex

Don’t be afraid to say no to sex or to say no if you feel pressured to go further than you’re comfortable with.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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TV, movies, even friends. It might appear as if everyone is having sex.  But let’s not forget that TV and movies aren’t real, and by no means reflect reality. As for your friends and peers around you, they’re not all having sex despite what they might want you to think.

You should only have sex when you are ready, and should never feel pressured into doing something that you don’t feel comfortable with. Check out our article on deciding when to have sex for more information. However, there may come the time when you feel pressured to go further than you’re comfortable with, and have to say no.

Why would you say no?

There are many reasons you might want to say no to sex. You might not feel ready to have sex. You might want to get to know the person better or be in a committed relationship before you make any big decisions. You may want to wait till you’re older and have more life experience.  You may want to get to know the person better before you have sex with them.

You may have previously had sex, but are not comfortable having sex with a new partner yet or you want to abstain from sex for a while. Or you might want to say no to any sexual act that you are not ready for or makes you feel uncomfortable (link to article). Whatever your reason for not wanting to have sex, it is perfectly valid and ok to have made that decision.  Even if you have had sex before, you have the right to say no.

What’s your comfort zone?

In the heat of the moment, when hormones are raging, it can be difficult to stop something from going further than you want it to. That’s why it’s a good idea to have thought about what you’re comfortable with before a situation arises.

You may feel like you are ready for kissing and touching with clothes on, but that touching under clothes is a no-no.  Or you may be ok with touching under clothes, but you’re not ready for oral sex or sex. Whatever your comfort zone, it is important that you don’t feel pressured to have sex you have the right to say no.

How to say no

  • So you might have decided that you want to say no to sex, but how do you actually go about it?
  • The first thing is that it’s important that you are clear and direct. Simply say ‘I don’t want to do that’ or ‘I’m not comfortable with that’.
  • If they continue to pressure you, say ‘no’ again in a firm voice, and remind them they are making you uncomfortable. If need be, get up and put space between you and the other person or leave if they have still not accepted your refusal.
  • They may try to make you feel guilty by saying, ‘if you loved me you would...’ or ‘everyone else is doing it’. Don’t fall for whatever line they give you, there is no pressure on you to do anything that you don’t want to, and your partner should respect that.  Remember, you have the right to say no.

My partner won’t have sex with me.

Whatever reason your partner has for not wanting to have sex, you need to respect it. They may not feel ready to have sex with you, and it is important that you do not pressure them to do anything that they are not ready for.

Respect their decision and resist the urge to make them feel guilty.  Waiting might be frustrating, but the worst thing you could do is to have sex with someone who is not ready.   Everyone has the right to say no.

Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.

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Published May 14th, 2013
Last updated December 1st, 2014
Tags sexual health safer sex sex
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