Get Real! I’ve Had to Lie to Get Him to Stop Pressuring Me for Sex


This column is published in partnership with Scarleteen.com.

anaxelisz asks:

I lied
to my boyfriend and told him I was raped. I know rape is nothing to
joke about at all. My mother was raped as a child. But it is the first
thing that came to mind! He’s always trying to get me to have sex with
him, and I’m just not ready. He’s not the kind of guy you can just sit
down with and explain that too..that’s just not him and hes a
virgin..but he does get "head" sometimes. (Not while I’ve been with him
of course..] But anyway I told him I was raped and that I’m not ready
to have sex after that happened to me and that it scares me because it
will remind me of what happened. Well, that lie got old and now he’s
starting to ask me again and again. What do I tell him ? I’m stressing
over this and hes not the kind of guy I can just say "I’m not ready to
do this..or that" to. Please help. I’m young, only 14 and hes 15
but..what to do ?!

Heather Corinna replies:

I
think that when it feels like the only way you can get someone to take
no or "I’m not ready yet" for an answer is to lie and say you were
sexually assaulted, that you probably know all you need to know. Same
goes for someone who you say you cannot sit down and talk to about
saying you aren’t ready.

In other words, THIS guy clearly isn’t ready for sex with a partner, either, from the sounds of things. Not even close.

One part of readiness for sexual partnership — and it’s a biggie –
is being able to hear, accept and respect another person’s limits and
boundaries, and to really be interested in a sexual partnership, not
just in using someone else to get your rocks off.

In a bonafide sexual partnership, when we are ready for that, we do
not WANT to have sex with someone else who also does not share that
desire as strongly as we feel it, because we are invested in the
pleasure and comfort of BOTH of us. In a healthy sexual partnership,
when a partner tells us they don’t want to do something, we don’t keep
coming at them with whatever we are offering again and again: we figure
they know what we want from voicing it the one time, and that if and
when they are ready, the ball is in their court to throw back.

Someone being very pushy about sex one partner does not want (and he
knows you don’t by now), someone who you don’t feel comfortable talking
with about sex and/or your limits, someone who is "not the kind of guy"
you can just tell you don’t want sex yet to isn’t the kind of guy (or
girl) to be with in a relationship where sex is a factor. So, if you
cannot just tell him you are not ready, and he cannot hear that and
accept that, your best bet is not to be with this guy at all. The kind
of guy anyone can have a healthy, happy and safe relationship
with IS the kind of guy who you can tell you just aren’t ready and who
can handle that, no problem. And there are plenty of those "kinds of
guys" out there.

You’re right, you are young, and so is he. Bear in mind that often,
boys mature physically and emotionally at a later schedule than girls,
so while there are certainly exceptions, it can be sage to figure that
his 15 can be a lot more like your 12 or 13. Now, some young people at
14 and 15 have more maturity than others, but it’s sounding to me like
that isn’t the case here. And it is safe to say that given all the
responsibilities sex entails, all the communication skills, and all the
possible risks it poses that more people than not, at your age AND his,
are not ready for sex. That’s obviously the case with both of you in
this scenario.

I see you as having two good options with this: you can
either go ahead and try and have an honest, clear conversation with him
about not wanting to have any kind of sex with him yet, or you can just
go ahead and quit your relationship with this guy.

My personal feeling is that based on what you have said here, this
is someone who just isn’t ready for an intimate relationship yet, and
someone who you don’t feel — and I can understand why — comfortable
with in this kind of relationship. If he’s not someone you can talk to
comfortably and honestly when you’re saying something he doesn’t like,
the rest of your relationship probably isn’t so great, either. That
given, I’d suggest just shifting to a platonic friendship or breaking
off the relationship full-stop.

In any relationship, we deserve to feel safe, we deserve to feel our
limits and boundaries will be respected, and we should feel comfortable
being honest about what we want and need and have every expectation
that our partners will not want to push us to do anything we don’t
want. Without those things and more, we’re unlikely to have a good
relationship. And there’s no sense pursuing or continuing any
relationship that isn’t likely to be a good one, you know? It might be
a good exercise for you to really think about what you want in a
relationship: do you want someone pushing for sex all the time,
especially when it’s likely very clear that’s what HE wants — for
himself, not because he thinks it’s something you’ll like, too — and
very clear it is NOT what you do? Does that kind of dynamic really look
good to you or feel good for you? Probably not: it wouldn’t for most
people, and it isn’t what a healthy relationship looks like.

I’d also consider that while you did tell a lie, if his
understanding is that you are a rape survivor, and yet he is still
pushing for sex — and has made no effort to ask how to address sex
with a survivor, what he can do to make YOU feel safe and comfortable
– that shows a pretty profound lack of sensitivity and care on his
part, as well as showing us more about a lack of maturity.

But if you feel like this has been and is, otherwise, a good
relationship for you, that this is someone you do care for deeply who
cares for you just as much back and want to give this another try, then
you will need to sit down and have that conversation.

If you’re going to do that, I’d suggest a script like this, which is very honest, but I think that’s the way to go:

I need to talk to you about something important, and
it’s really important you hear me. I did something I need to tell you
about: I lied about being raped to you because I didn’t know how else
to get you to stop pushing me for sex I don’t want. I don’t feel good
about that, and I’m sorry for lying. I will understand if you’re angry
with me about that lie, but I also want to tell you why I told it.

I need for you to understand that I do not feel ready for sex
with you, and it is not what I want right now. If and when I do want
it, I will let you know. I get that it’s something you want, but the
way you keep putting that out there makes me feel very pressured and
uncomfortable, and it also makes me feel like you are ignoring my
needs. I haven’t felt like I could tell you I don’t want that and have
you respect that, which is some of why I lied. I’m trying to tell you
honestly now. So, what I need now if we are going to stay together is
for you to stop bringing sex up, and to understand that I am just not
ready, and your pushing me isn’t okay. Please hear me when I say I do
not want to have sex with you now, and do not know if and when I will,
especially if you keep pressuring me like you have been.

Can you accept that? Are you still comfortable having a relationship
with me with that limit — even if it means I’m not ready for sex for
another year or two — and do you think you can really respect it? If
not, then we should talk about maybe being friends instead or just
going our own separate way entirely.

You might even want to bring up that some of his behaviors show you
that HE isn’t ready, either, and mention things like his inability to
respect boundaries, or what seems like a pretty selfish push for sex
that’s more about him and what he wants just for himself than about
really being with you. You could also talk about what you WILL need if
and when you are ready for sex, and how that includes things like
really being heard, like feeling safe enough to be honest, like feeling
like it’s always okay for you to say no and that any sexual partner of
yours is someone you expect to handle a no with maturity. heck, you
might even bring up the fact that when anyone has sex because someone
else pressures or coerces them into it, we ARE talking about rape.

Then you give him a chance to absorb that and respond. He may or may
not want to continue a relationship that isn’t sexual if what he wants
is a sexual relationship. That’s okay, as we all get to choose the
kinds of relationships that are what we want. Mind, like I said, it
doesn’t sound to me like this guy is ready for sex with someone else,
but that’s a moot point when it comes to what choices he makes. He may
– and that’s valid — also be angry with you about you telling him
that big whopper of a lie.

If he does say he needs sex in this relationship, and so you two
should split up if that’s not something you want, I’d encourage you not
to take that personally or to cave and have sex you don’t want, aren’t
ready for, and would be having with someone who is being so pushy about
it. Again, you don’t just want any relationship, but a good one that
makes you feel good, right? If so, then having relationships with
people who are on the same page as us with this stuff is important, and
there are other potential people out there for you who won’t be pushy
about sex, who will do just fine respecting your limits, and who even
will be in the same place you are right now, where sex isn’t something
they want yet. Same goes for first sexual relationships where the sex
is not pressured: sex is very unlikely to be something that’s good for
you when it’s something you do under duress, and someone who can’t deal
with limits and boundaries with having sex is also likely to be someone
you’re going to have troubles with when it comes to birth control and
safer sex issues, areas where your health and life is the one most at
risk.

If he DOES say he can honor that limit, then you can give this some
time and see if he makes good on that. It is possible that your ideas
(and mine) about his ability to handle this kind of honesty and
communication, and to respect limits may not be right: he may surprise
both of us and do just fine with this, especially when, rather than
making up a story about rape, you are being clear and honest.

If he agrees to honor that limit but in a while goes right back to
pushing for sex again, then at that point, I’d say it’s time to stop
trying and to just move on. You can wait for a relationship with
someone who can both respect your limits and honor any agreements they
make with you. You deserve that: everyone does.

I’m not going to dwell on the lie you told, but I do want to
reiterate that fabricating a rape really isn’t okay, especially in
terms of how that can impact actual rape survivors. (For instance, your
boyfriend may, after you disclose your lie, then have the idea that all
rapes are made-up stories, which can contribute to our culture as a
whole not believing actual victims.) As a survivor myself, I am always
very troubled when I hear about someone using rape for their own
purposes in this way. But I think you already know that your doing that
was unethical and not okay to do.

More importantly for you in this, I think, is recognizing that when
we’re inclined to do something like that, and feel we have no other
choice, that’s a feeling we need to pay big-time attention to. A
feeling like that tells us a lot about our lack of trust with that
person, and our feelings of not being safe and respected: in a word, if
we feel the need to do something like that, we’re probably not feeling
like we can trust them, not feeling safe, and not feeling respected. If
and when all that is going on, it’s usually best to not be around
someone, at all, who causes us to feel that way. In other words, that’s
an instinct you should listen to: it can help keep you safe, and also
help guide you away from relationships that aren’t good for you, and
towards those which are. When we’re with someone safe, someone who
cares for us or has the ability (and maturity) to, we will feel
comfortable voicing limits honestly, and not like we have to make up
stories to get them to back off.

Too, if we have a huge honking lie in the middle of a relationship,
we can’t have a very good relationship. If it feels like someone
everything is still fine if and when we are massively misrepresenting
ourselves, then chances are we’re not being really all-there in the
relationship and that the whole works is a bit of a farce. And if we
ever have to misrepresent ourselves to someone we are close to in order
to be safe, that is a huge problem that tells us a lot about…well,
how very much a relationship seriously sucks.

I’m going to leave you with a handful of links to read, including
some on healthy and unhealthy relationships, on sexual readiness, and
on communication about sex with a partner. I hope after reading this
and some of those, you can make a choice about this relationship that
feels most right for you, and which is most likely to net you a healthy
relationship, whether than is this one, or whether that is another,
better relationship down the road.


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  • juliejulie

    dear anaxelisz,
    I think it is really great that you are paying attention to your own feelings. If you feel you are not ready to have sex at all or just not ready to have it with this guy, then definitely do NOT do it. My mom always said, “When in doubt…don’t!”

    There are a lot of emotional things that come along with sexual intercourse. As humans we are emotional and physical beings. The best sex happens in a loving and comfortable relationship, where, as Heather said, your pleasure and your partner’s pleasure are directly related. When you have sex with another human being, your body has physical reactions that effect your emotions. So having sex with the wrong person can put you into emotional situations you are not ready for either.

    If this boy can not understand that you are not ready for sex and can not refrain from bringing it up, you need to move on. I’m forty years old and I PROMISE you, it is better to find your own hobbies or read a book or hang out with old ladies at the nursing home who don’t smell so great than waste your precious life energy on a boy who can’t respect your needs.

    YOU are a precious human being. WAIT to have sex. WAIT until you are sure you are ready and you are absolutely sure you are with a partner that will respect your needs. Sex can be a beautiful part of life, but it can also bring very much physical and emotional pain and heartache, not to mention a weapon, in the wrong circumstances. Love yourself first. This will NOT be the last opportunity you have to have a boyfriend or make love.

    Good luck. You were right to do what you had to do to keep yourself safe. You were right to seek confirmation from people educated on the subject. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!

    much love and peace to you,
    julie in memphis

  • grayduck

    "I’m young, only 14…" "…even if it means I’m not ready for sex for another year or two…"

     

    How can a minor freely choose whether or not to engage in a sexual act? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "free" means "not controlled by obligation or the will of another." Minors are subject to the will of their parents because the minors depend on the parents for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. As a result, how can anyone say that a minor freely chose to engage in sex rather than being forced into it by her parents or coerced into it by a circumstance created by the parents? As a result of dependence on the parents, minors cannot choose where they live, where they go to school, their teachers, or their classmates. How can anyone be sure that a minor is not agreeing to sex with a classmate because she is afraid that he will cause problems for her at school or because he is providing something that is not provided by the girl’s parents? How can anyone be sure that a minor is not having sex with a man because he can sign a contract or has other freedoms possessed only by adults? How can a girl freely choose to engage in sexual intercourse when she does not have the freedom to create the environment necessary to raise a child without undue burden?

     

    In my view, all sex with minors should be treated as rape because, to be truly free to say no to a sex act, a girl or woman needs to the freedom to extricate herself from her home, her school, her job, her geographical location, her health care providers, her coworkers, her classmates, and where she shops. Without that freedom, she can be coerced- either explicitly and absolutely or implicitly and subtly- into a sex act.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    Before I reply to this, you gender your comments here strongly.  Is that because the OP is female?  Or is that because you would not say all the same things about a male young adult choosing (if he does) to be sexual with a partner?

  • grayduck

    Heather Corinna, Scarleteen.com on November 2, 2009 – 1:15pm: "…you gender your comments here strongly. Is that because the OP is female?"

     

    While I was writing the post, I did not consider the issue very carefully. I assumed that the overwhelming predominance of males among rapists and females among rape victims, coupled with the semantic advantages of assuming a male attacker and a female victim, would suffice to avoid questioning.

     

    I tend to focus particularly on rapes that can result in a pregnancy because such rapes transcend being a physical attack to being a misappropriation of the very life-giving powers of the victim. Male attackers and female victims are even more predominant in such rapes.

     

    "Or is that because you would not say all the same things about a male young adult choosing (if he does) to be sexual with a partner?"

     

    Again, I do not see how you can apply the word "choice" to a minor in a meaningful way.

     

    But, no, I cannot think of any reason why the same questions and logic would not apply to a male minor.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    The thing is, what it sounds like to me, both in you making my talking about someone choosing (I’ll get to your issue with that word in a sec) sex they want about rape, and in using "she" so much is that I sense you might also be implying that young women, particularly, are without their own sexual desires.  Can you see where I would get that impression?

     

    When I was 7 or 8, and I felt the urge to go out and play, I chose to go out and play.  I chose to walk to the park, I chose to go under the El-tracks and build housing out of milk crates for pigeons, I chose to go over to a friend’s house.  I was not only a minor, but a child.  And I made those choices, and could, because I had that freedom, as plenty of children do. 

     

    That’s hardly dissimilar to the choices all people make who feel the urge and desire to be sexual and express their sexuality with someone else, when they do feel such a thing (and plenty of young women, just like young men, do).  In most areas, minors have the legal right to do this: there are some restrictions, but with same-age partners, they’re actually few and far between.

  • grayduck

    Heather Corinna, Scarleteen.com on November 3, 2009 – 11:18am: "Can you see where I would get that impression?"

     

    No. I think you are just trying to divert attention from my questions, which you did not answer.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    To be more clear, then, I do not see how being a legal minor means a person is unable to make choices, sexual or otherwise.  I also do not see how — whether we’re talking about sex or what movie to see with a friend — a young person is unable to choose because another person potentially involved in that choice may have different wants and needs.

     

    I also don’t think we can talk about consensual sex the same way we talk about rape, and I say this as both an educator and advocate and as a survivor of more than one rape as well as someone who willingly and wantedly chose to be sexualy active in her teens.

  • grayduck

    Heather Corinna, Scarleteen.com on November 4, 2009 – 12:45pm: "To be more clear, then, I do not see how being a legal minor means a person is unable to make choices, sexual or otherwise."

     

    I agree that minors can make choices; my question was whether they can do so freely.

     

    Under the rape laws of Minnesota and Washington, merely obtaining an agreement to engage in a sexual act is not sufficient for obtaining consent. Such an agreement must be "freely given" to constitute consent. If mere agreement was a defense to rape, a rapist could avoid prosecution by compelling the victim to indicate that she agrees.

     

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.341&year=2009

     

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.44.010

     

    "I also don’t think we can talk about consensual sex the same way we talk about rape, and I say this as both an educator and advocate and as a survivor of more than one rape as well as someone who willingly and wantedly chose to be sexualy active in her teens."

     

    But my question is whether any sex involving a minor can be consensual. My hope is that your experiences will help you to answer the question.

     

    Whether a woman enjoys a sexual act is not relevant to whether she consented to the act.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    Again, I think the answer is that yes, it most certainly can be.

     

    The fact that minors do not have the full legal rights of adults, in my book, doesn’t change that. (Just like the fact that the ERA hasn’t passed doesn’t mean women in the U.S. can’t make our own free choices.) While I’m not a fan of AOC laws in some respects, the laws in many areas reflect that, too.

     

    That a compelling semantic exercise could be made that they are not techically fully free and can thus not do anything freely doesn’t change that for me: this isn’t about semantics (which is probably why, despite your refrencing law to suggest sex among minors can never be lawful, in either of those states, minors are having plenty of sex they want to without mass arrests being via by your argument).

     

    Oppressed groups still have rights and still have freedoms, and throughout all of history many minors have wantedly and freely chosen to be sexual with partners.

  • anonymous99

    GrayDuck, Teens can and do consent to sex and have been for 40,000 years or so.    Old AOC laws made it illegal to have sex with an "underage" girl in this country regardless of her partner’s age.  I believe all of these laws were rewritten to consider the age of the partner many decades ago.  It has been legal for teens to have sex in this country for many decades now.  BTW making teen sex illegal won’t stop it, if that’s what you’re going for.

  • grayduck

    Heather Corinna, Scarleteen.com on November 5, 2009 – 1:05pm: "Again, I think the answer is that yes, it most certainly can be."

     

    How so?

     

    "That a compelling semantic exercise could be made that they are not techically fully free and can thus not do anything freely doesn’t change that for me…"

     

    Such a rationalization can be applied to any rape.

     

    "…many minors have wantedly…chosen to be sexual with partners."

     

    You have repeatedly expressed the opinion that rape is about whether a woman wants to have sex rather than whether she consents to sex. Why?

     

    Suppose a woman consents to sex that she does not want. Perhaps she does not feel like it but is willing to go through with it because her partner does at that moment and she knows that the opposite may be true in the future. Why should the resulting sexual act be considered rape?

     

    Alternatively, suppose a woman wants to have sex but chooses not to consent because she is not ready for a pregnancy. Why should the prospective partner be able to enter into the act anyway without being considered a rapist?

     

    In my opinion, rape is about whether a woman is willing and able to take responsibility for sex, not whether she feels like having sex at that moment. Women should have every right to consent to sex that they do not yearn for and withhold consent for which they do desire. Fundamentally, rape is about stealing a woman’s reproductive capacities and using them to- in effect- reproduce asexually. Without the right to refuse sex for any reason at any time, women lack the right to control their own reproductive systems. In addition, the mechanism of natural selection- which promotes healthy individuals and a healthy society- malfunctions.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    In my opinion, rape is about whether a woman is willing and able to
    take responsibility for sex, not whether she feels like having sex at
    that moment. Women should have every right to consent to sex that they
    do not yearn for and withhold consent for which they do desire.
    Fundamentally, rape is about stealing a woman’s reproductive capacities
    and using them to- in effect- reproduce asexually.

     

    Much of that is such a fundamentally flawed and borderline-creepy definition of rape, and you so clearly just don’t want to talk about consensual sex (which is why the "want" is so strong in my comments: desire for sex is no less relevant for women as it is for men, and I don’t gender my comments the way you do because consent, desire and sexual abuse are about/relevant to men just as much as they are about women)  that I’m just done here. 

     

    Given the history of my exchanges with you and your exchanges with others, and reading this, my explaining why would not only take far too long, I am confident it would fall on deaf ears and just isn’t worth the investment of my time. IOW, done now.

  • grayduck

    Heather Corinna, Scarleteen.com on November 6, 2009 – 2:00pm: "…my explaining why would not only take far too long, I am confident it would fall on deaf ears and just isn’t worth the investment of my time."

     

    This response is as close as anyone on a message board ever gets to admitting that her position is indefensible.

     

    "…you so clearly just don’t want to talk about consensual sex…"

     

    So what? I have no obligation to discuss consensual sex in the context of an article focusing on a message from a fourteen-year-old girl who does not want to consent to sexual intercourse.

     

    "…desire for sex is no less relevant for women as it is for men…"

     

    Prove it.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • darby

    "Prove it."

     

    And with that asinine statement you have proven Heather well-justified in ignoring you. How utterly 19th century. But here’s a brief article in case you want to persist in acting like a social throwback.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/318/7175/41

     Women’s sexual desire is a real health issue and you can bet your hind end it’s relevant. 

     

    (You might also want to look up ‘Derailing for Dummies’ to gain an understanding of how and why your tactics are being recognized for what they are).