our lover, our friends, our religion, our teachers, our entertainment,
our role models and so on. Our own thoughts and fantasies influence
us. Friends are an especially powerful influence on us--and we tend to
chose friends who support our sexual life style. When we are
"different," peer pressure can be heavy. I have had college students
come to me and say, "My problem is I'm 21-years-old and never had
sex." One such student had sexually active room mates who cruelly
called her "neurotic," "prude," and "frigid." Billy & Udry (1985) found
that virgins in junior high school, whose best friends were sexually
active, were 12 times more likely to have sex in the next two years
than virgins whose best friends remained virgins. When deciding what
to do sexually, it's important to listen to people with different views,
talk with your potential sex partner, talk with a counselor, read some
books, you don't have to decide today, take a couple of weeks and talk
to friends with different views, and maybe even talk with an open-
minded parent or relative. Deciding to have sex deserves careful
thought... with whom, when, where, under what conditions are all
important. These are your decisions, don't be pressured.
Make it clear what you want to do sexually; you have every
right to make the decision
The person we currently have a crush on may have an especially
powerful influence over us. The most common problem for women on
dates is the male making unwanted sexual advances (Knox, 1984).
Being "forced" or pressured into some unwanted sex activity is a
serious problem. It isn't just a minor difference of opinion (75% of
women want to delay petting until after the 4th or 5th date, while one-
third of men want to pet on the first date), the fact is that 25% to
35% of college males admit "forcing themselves" on women.
Furthermore, 35% say they might rape a women if they knew they
wouldn't get caught. Women should note this statistic carefully.
Indeed, over 50% of college women have had experience with
"offensive" dates, and 23% have been "forced" to have sex on a date
or at a party (Masters, Johnson & Kolodny, 1985, pp. 467-472). If
your lover respects your preferences and totally accepts that sex is a
mutual decision, be grateful. If not, teach him or leave him.
Society has made women the gatekeepers to sexual activities. This
decision-making process is especially hard for the woman if she is
needy or scared and/or really likes or wants to please the guy. Males
"go for it" and expect the female to stop them. Young women must
learn how to stop the male; who teaches them? Women must also
learn to avoid unsafe situations with men they don't really know; who
teaches that? Women must be free and know how to say "NO" very
clearly. This isn't easy. Males hear "not now" to mean "definitely yes
(later)" and "don't do that" as "try some other approach" and "stop
that" as "maybe, if you try something else." It isn't that all men who
don't hear "no" are stupid or woman-hating rapists or doggedly
determined to get what they want. A small part of the problem is that
more than 1/3 of college women admit they have (but only
occasionally) said "no" to sex when they really meant "yes"