Pressure for sex – 5 great ways to screw it all up


Sex – no one wants to screw it up, right? Here are our top 5 things NOT TO DO.

1. DO NOT... complain about contraception and safe sex

Steve Carrell's character from The 40 year old virgin movie with his hand in a condom

The pressure: “Nooo, c'mon, condoms are the worst, it completely ruins it, I can’t feel anything!”

No matter how you feel about condoms, they’re basically the safest (and cheapest!) form of contraception and STI prevention. If someone consents to sex with a condom, then that's the type of sex you’re having. If you try to not use a condom, you’re pressuring that person into sex they haven’t agreed to.

2. DO NOT... downplay other sexual acts

Character from Hey Arnold TV series saying Scam artist.

The pressure: “We can just do other stuff that’s not ‘actual sex’.”

Pressure for any sexual act is still pressure. ‘Sex’ can mean a whole lot of things – intercourse is not the only kind of sex someone might not be up for. It’s a good idea to have a conversation about what you and your partner do and don’t want to get in to, but keep it pressure-free.

3. DO NOT... beg after getting a ‘no’

Sarah Paulson's character, Marcia Clark from The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story saying I am begging you from my soul.

The pressure: “But we’ve started now – we’ve gotta keep going!”

Consent means ongoing consent, not just consent to start with. Both people have to be clearly willing, comfortable and enthusiastic from ‘start to finish’. Remember, anyone can change their mind for whatever reason. It is never too late to say no.

4. DO NOT... emotionally manipulate

Character from Scot Pilgram vs The World slumped over a couch with a plate of bacon saying but it's haaaaaard.

The pressure:

  • “If you really loved me, you would.”
  • “If you don’t, maybe this relationship isn’t working.”
  • “If we start having sex then we’ll be a proper couple.”

Nobody should ever feel manipulated into having sex. Emotional manipulation can make someone feel like they have an obligation to have sex – but feeling obligated or pressured to have sex does not mean they’re ‘consenting’.

5. DO NOT... try to ‘sell it’

Jim Carrey's character from Dumb and Dumber grinning and saying So you're telling me there's a chance YEEEEHHH

The pressure: “Come on, please, I really want to, let me just get you in the mood.”

Make no mistake, when someone says no, they mean no. ‘No’ is not a challenge to try and get a ‘yes’ - ‘No’ is the end of that conversation. If your partner isn’t in the mood, a heartfelt plea isn’t going to get them in the mood.

And again, just because someone hasn’t actually said the word ‘No’, doesn’t mean they’re saying ‘Yes’ or giving you consent.

So, remember…

You decide whether you want to have sex and what that sex looks like. It’s up to your partner whether they feel the same way. It’s up to you to respect that.

If you would like to talk to someone about what is and isn’t healthy in a relationship call or visit 1800RESPECT.

If you have more questions about things like pregnancy and safe sex have a look at these resources from

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