Teach Your Teens Smart Ways to Say No to Sex

Talking your kids through tempting situations in advance can prepare them to make the right decisions when the time comes.

It can be difficult for kids to resist the pressure or temptation to have sex in the heat of the moment, says Karen Troccoli, a teen-health educator and nurse in Bethesda, Maryland. The ideal thing is for them to think ahead of time about what they would say in such a scenario. "Research shows, in fact, that tweens and teens who practice specific lines for these situations stay virgins longer than those who don't," she says. In a perfect world, you and your tween or tween would set aside time to practice scripts. But that may not be realistic, and you might be more successful looking for opportunities to informally role play possible responses with them. Think teen TV shows, for example, as in, "That girl seemed really unsure of what to say to that boy—what would you have said?" Bear in mind, too, that pressure comes from a few different sources. Girls are most likely to get it from boys. But males are most likely to feel it from friends, says Troccoli, who give the message that having sex is all part of being an adolescent male. A boy may of course also feel pushed by an interested girl. Here are a few possible scenarios you might be able to work into a conversation.

Scenario #1: Your Daughter, Her Boyfriend

He says: "If you really loved me, you'd have sex with me."She responds: "If you loved me, you wouldn't push me to do something I don't feel comfortable doing yet."

He says: "Everybody's doing it."She responds: "No, they're not. It just seems like it because they talk about it to impress their friends and fit in. The majority aren't doing it."

He says: "I'll die if I don't have sex."She responds: "No, you won't. People live for years without having sex." (Or, "Well, you seem to have lived just fine up until now without sex.")

He says: "Have sex with me or I'll find someone else who will."She responds: "Now I know how little you care about me."

Scenario #2: Your Son's Overly Enthusiastic Male Peers

His friends say: "You still haven't had sex? There must be something wrong with you."Your son answers: "What's the big rush? It'll happen when it happens."

His friends say: "You don't want to get laid? You must be a wimp."Your son answers: "I'm just not into doing things because everyone else thinks I should or because they have. That's being a wimp."

His friends say: "Sex is fun! Go for it!"Your son answers: "A few minutes of pleasure are not worth 18 years of responsibility."

His friends say: "You're missing out."Your son answers: "I already have acne; I don't need herpes."

Scenario #3: Your Son, His Girlfriend

She says: "My friends think we should have done it by now."Your son replies: "They don't know what's best for us. You should care more about what I think." (Or, "And I'm not dating them, I'm dating you.")

She says: "If you loved me you'd want to do it."Your son replies: "It's because I love you that I can be honest with you and tell you I'm not ready to have sex yet."

She says: "Most guys would die to sleep with me."Your son replies: "Look, it is hard for me to resist. And you need to do what you need to do. But all I can tell you is I'm just not ready."

Scenario #4: The Last Word, for Everybody

The partner says: "Let's have sex."Your teen: "I'm just not ready. But when I am, you'll be the second to know."

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.