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I've had to lie to get him to stop pressuring me for sex.

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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.

written 02 Mar 2009 . updated 02 Mar 2009

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