Teen Dating and Having Sex
Dating when you’re a teen can be an uncomfortable, unfamiliar territory for many. However, it is an important part of any teenager’s development. Being a teen is all about developing identities, exploring desires, and building relationships. Dating can have a long-lasting impact on a teenager’s mental health and wellbeing. This is why it’s crucial for teens to have access to accurate information and resources. Let’s dive into teens dating and having sex.
Dating can be Exciting and Fulfilling
Just like starting any new phase of life, entering the world of dating is both exciting and scary. Teens will need to put themselves out there by expressing romantic interest in someone else, risking rejection, figuring out how to be a dating partner, and what exactly that means. Dating can actually provide many benefits for teens. Some benefits of teen dating include:
- Providing teens with opportunities to form meaningful connections
- Building social skills
- Can help teens learn and understand the importance of healthy communication and mutual respect
However, dating can also be a source of stress, anxiety, and depression when relationships are unhealthy, toxic, abusive, etc. If you find yourself arguing with mean comments, manipulative tactics, or on the receiving end of unhealthy behavior, it could be time to take a step back or seek support from someone outside of the situation.
Consent is Essential
Teen dating and sex is confusing as is, but what shouldn’t be confusing is consent. Consent should be clear, enthusiastic, and ongoing. For instance, consent can start out as a yes, but you could then change you’re mind and say no. The moment you feel pressured, unsafe, uncomfortable, or just plain over it, you have the explicit right to stop. Some examples of how to say no include:
- “I really like you, but I’m not ready to have sex yet. Please respect that.”
- “Okay I need to stop, something doesn’t feel right.”
- Say “no.” You don’t owe anyone — even someone you love — an explanation for why you don’t want to do what they want you to do.
- Tell them what you do want to do instead: kissing, touching, watching a movie together, etc.
Remember, you deserve to have your boundaries respected. Not understanding consent can lead to you doing something that makes you uncomfortable. And if your boyfriend or girlfriend says no to sex, it’s really important to respect their decision. They’re saying no to sex, not to you. Mental health therapists help teens with sex and consent, if you think you might be struggling. Don’t be afraid to reach out for outside support!
The Pressure to Date
Societal norms can often get in the way of teen dating and sex. Teens might feel that they need to conform to expectations from peers and themselves. However, everybody moves at their own pace. If you find the pressure to date overwhelming or feel pressured to have sex before you are ready, seeing a therapist can help. Therapists can help teach teens how to make their own decisions and can help with self-confidence and self-esteem.
Campbell Teen & Family Therapy
Teen therapy can provide the support teens need from a safe adult as well as a mental health check up to help understand what is just teen behavior and what needs to be taken more seriously. At Campbell Teen & Family Therapy, Inc. we are experts in helping teens. With our specialty on adolescents, we are competent at helping teens with the difficult challenges they face. Are you ready to get started? Click HERE to make an appointment!