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I’m Waiting 23: Giving Power Through Knowledge

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Q: Why wait if I already did it? I didn’t want to but I felt pressured.~ 11th grade female

A:  There are actually three different parts to this question we recently received after a presentation.  One question and two statements.  Let’s look at each of them.

First the question:  “Why wait if I already did it?”

One of the biggest lies is that if you’ve already done something you have to continue, especially if something could potentially make your life more difficult in the long run.  Okay, so maybe you had sex before.  We’re pretty sure at the time you didn’t know that condoms are not 100% effective and only reduce the risk of STDs or pregnancy, but don’t eliminate the risk.  We can almost bet that you didn’t know at the time that sex is not just physical but has an emotional impact, as well as a relational one.

Image: Charles Hamrick

Image: Charles Hamrick

Jef, one of our ImWaiting presenters uses this example.  Most of us when we were kids put our hand on either a hot stove or a hot surface.  We didn’t understand that it could burn us until afterward right? The majority of us (not all), but the majority didn’t do that again, why, because it burned and hurt us.  So we learned from experience that we didn’t want to make that decision again.  The pain wasn’t worth it.  Same thing here.  Perhaps you didn’t know at the time that engaging in sex as a teen can have long term consequences in your life, but now you do.

Many times, with the help of the media, we put sex in a different category than other decisions, even though the adult act of sex carries adult responsibilities.  We wouldn’t continue to put our hand on a hot stove knowing that the consequences are painful.  We wouldn’t say to ourselves, “well I already did that once so I should continue doing it.”  Why do we view sex differently?  Why do we tell ourselves that we should just keep doing it now knowing the full consequences that come with it?  Take a moment to think about that.

Now let’s tackle the two statements.

“I didn’t want to.”  It sounds like somebody manipulated you into doing something you were not ready for.  That burden is on them, not you.  Maybe you didn’t know how to refuse.  Maybe you didn’t know that you actually could.  Maybe nobody ever told you saying no was okay.  Maybe nobody ever told you have the right to say no.  We’re telling you that you have every right to say no.  We love these words from the Meghan Trainor song:

My name is NO

My sign is NO

My number is NO

You need to let it go.

We know we’re taking it out of context but hopefully you get the point.  Do not continue doing something that you didn’t want to do in the first place.  That is actually giving your control away to somebody else.walk of shame

The second statement said this:

“I felt pressured.”  If you don’t remember anything else from this blog please, all of you remember this, NOBODY, AND WE MEAN NOBODY, IS ALLOWED TO PRESSURE YOU INTO HAVING SEX!!!!  Pressure can come in many forms.  Either by guilt, “If you loved me you would.”  By threats, “If you don’t I will leave you.” By manipulation, avoiding you if you don’t agree to have sex.

Listen, sex can be a beautiful expression of love between two mature people who are committed to each other and willing to accept the consequences that come with it; however, when one person is controlling and pressuring the other person that is not love, it is abuse.

So why should you wait if you already have had sex?  Because every day is a new day to make new decisions.  If you weren’t happy with the decisions you made yesterday or the day before, whatever the circumstances, guess what, today you have the opportunity to make different decisions.  Don’t buy the lie that once you’ve done something you have to continue.  Remember the hot stove story? Listen, part of growing and maturing is looking at past decisions and learning from them.  If we all continued doing things just because we had done them before, we’d all be walking around with bad hairstyles and burnt hands!!

Finally, why wait? Because you deserve to have somebody love and respect you.  You deserve to have your needs put before their wants.  You are so much more than the sex that you give.  You are a whole person who has feelings, dreams, ambitions, and a future.  In the whole spectrum of a mature relationship that is built on trust, friendship, respect, common goals, common morals, trust, etc. sex is just a small part.  So don’t continue doing something that you probably aren’t comfortable with just because you’ve done it before.

Hope that helps.

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