My GF is trying to get me to have sex, saying “If you love me, what’s the problem?” I don’t really have an answer to that.

First, you’re not alone. This is (unfortunately) a very common issue for young people! You’ll probably find the advice we give here to be very helpful, especially if you’re a guy.

There is one big difference between your situation and the other question writer’s, though. It seems much clearer that your girlfriend is actively pressuring you into having sex. This is NOT ok, so we want to talk more about consent.

You don’t need a reason to not have sex with someone.

Not wanting to is reason enough. Sex (and all physical touch) needs to be consensual. This means that everyone needs to feel safe, comfortable and good about what’s going on.

We talk more about consent here, but we’ve includes some basics below.

  • Consent has to be enthusiastic. “Maybe” is not consent. The lack of a no is not consent. This also means that threatening or asking repeatedly for a sex act is not ok. Making someone feel bad for saying no is not ok.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time for any reason.
  • Consent to one sex act does not mean consent to another. Saying yes to kissing does not mean your partner is ok with clothes coming off. Wanting to have PIV sex does not mean they want to give or receive oral sex.

Consent can seem complicated, but at its core it’s about being kind and treating your partner how they want to be treated.

A really important piece of consent is that it’s enthusiastic and freely given. This means that if someone pressures you into having sex, it’s not really consent. Pressure includes threatening someone, asking for a sex act repeatedly, or making someone feel bad or calling them names for saying no. Using your relationship to make you feel bad (like what your girlfriend is doing) counts as pressuring you into having sex, and it is not ok.

It’s possible your girlfriend doesn’t understand that what she’s doing is wrong.

Despite how important consent is, it’s not usually taught in sex education classes, and there aren’t a lot of good examples of it in TV shows or movies. If you feel safe and comfortable, have a calm and serious talk with your girlfriend about how you’re feeling. Explain that wanting or not wanting to have sex doesn’t reflect how much you love her. Tell her how her actions are making you feel. For example, you could say, “When you ask me that, I feel like you’re ignoring what I want,” or, “When you try to convince me to have sex, I feel like you’re not respecting me.” Talk about consent with her. If you want, you can ask her, “If you love me, why can’t you wait?”

Healthy relationships are built on trust and respect. If your girlfriend continues to not respect your boundaries or reacts badly to your conversation, think hard about your relationship. Does your girlfriend respect you in other ways, or show she cares about you? If she frequently pressures you or makes you feel guilty to get what she wants, that’s not a healthy relationship—and it could even be emotional abuse.

In the future, if or when you WANT to have sex, it’s important for you and your partner to decide to have sex together. We talk about questions to ask yourself before having sex here. You can even talk through these questions with your partner!

But these questions are for when you think you’re ready to have sex. Right now, it sounds like you know you’re not—and that’s great! It’s hard to be that in touch with yourself. You should be proud of yourself for knowing your own boundaries.

If you’re 10-22 years old near NYC, make an appointment at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for free, confidential sexual health services, or to talk to one of our therapists or health educators about healthy relationships and communication! No immigration restrictions, no insurance needed.