Examples of External Pressure to Be Sexually Active

You shouldn't have to have sex to keep your relationship.
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Young people face many pressures to be sexually active. From friends to the media, it's hard to escape the influence of sex. Working through these pressures can be tricky. However, knowing about these different types of pressure helps you stay on guard. Sex isn't something to rush into, so when the pressure to be sexually active pops up, remember that you never have to have sex if you don't want to.

1 Friendly Pressure

Peers are a typical source of the pressure to have sex. As their bodies grow and hormones surge, many young people become sexually active. When you have friends who are sexually active, you may feel the need to follow their lead. Your peers may also make it seem as though you are "weird" if you aren't having sex, which may create trouble for you in trying to belong to a group, causing pressure that is hard to resist for some.

2 Magazines, Movies and the Internet, Oh My

Different types of media are prevalent examples of external pressure for sexual activity. Young people come face to face with sexual content in many ways: through magazines, the Internet and television and film. According to a report by the National Association of Social Workers on factors that influence the pressure to be sexually active, about 56 percent of television shows have sexual content and many magazines advertise sexual articles on their covers. Being surrounded by all these sources of pressure can make young people feel like they need to have sex to be "normal."

3 No Place to Call Home

Sometimes, poor family relationships can increase the pressure to be sexually active. In homes where they feel neglected or abused, young people seek close relationships in other ways. They may see sex as a substitute for affection and love. This feeling leads to pressure to be sexually active because these young people may feel like sex is the only way to get the care they desire.

4 An Inside Job

The pressure to have sex can come from your relationship. For example, your girlfriend may pressure you to have sex with her, by insisting or by going so far as to say you don't love her if you don't have sex with her. Resisting this pressure can be hard, especially if you care about her. You may feel like you need to have sex in order to keep your relationship. While sex is one way to show love, it is not the only way, even if you face pressure to do it, and you have the right to say no.

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.