Saying No

Standing up to pressure

86% of teens think there’s pressure on teens related to sex and relationships1, so it’s important to be prepared for how you’ll handle your sweetie when things heat up.

It’s helpful to think about how to handle pressure ahead of time, when you have the space and the time to figure out what to do. Otherwise you’re scrambling to try to come up with something in the moment when the pressure’s on… and that’s a lot harder!

Try following these three steps: 1) Speak Up, 2) Separate, then 3) Walk Away.

First, you have to SPEAK-UP and say you’re uncomfortable—it’s not enough to think it. Sure, it can be hard to say “no”, especially in certain situations. But it’s so important! Not many things feel worse than regretting something later because you didn’t speak up when you felt uncomfortable or you weren’t sure about what you were doing.

Quick Facts

If anyone forces you to have sex (called rape) it’s always wrong and is a crime punishable by law. You have the right to say “no” at any time, even if you have said “yes” before or had been saying “yes” up until that point. Forcing someone to do something physical is not love, no matter what he or she says then or later. If you or someone you know has been forced to do something unwanted, talk to a trusted adult as soon as possible.

It’s easy to think, “I shouldn’t always be the one to put on the brakes,” or “He knows I don’t want to do that… he won’t really push me too far”. But you need to express your feelings, and if your guy or girl respects you and cares about you, they should listen and stop.

Second, if the pressure keeps on after you say “no”, SEPARATE. When you’re not as physically close to the person, it will be much easier to say “no” and to get the other person to listen to you. Put some space between the two of you, and recommend an alternative, like going for a walk. This will make it clear that you’re serious about not going any further.

Third, if the person is still pressuring you, WALK AWAY. He or she is not respecting you, and you could be in danger. Don’t try to reason with the person at this time. You can talk to them later when you’re both calm and you feel safe.

1Kaiser Family Foundation and YM MAGAZINE. National Survey of Teens: Teens Talk About Dating, Intimacy, and Their Sexual Experiences. March 1998. Accessed 4/04.