On the last track we discussed six kinds of love. These included humankind, God, someone to help, parents, oneself, sexual longing and where sex fits.
On the next two tracks we will discuss saying NO to sex. In my practice, a common question is ‘how do I get out of having sex if I don’t want to have sex?’ To provide my teen clients with methods for avoiding unwanted sexual advances, I review with them 3 steps to not having to say NO. These three steps are plan ahead, look for signs of possible problems, and know how to communicate your feelings.
As you listen to this track, consider your teen client. How might these three steps help your client avoid unwanted sexual advances? Clearly, in discussing sex with your client, especially if he or she is of the opposite gender, transference and counter transference issues need to be clearly in the forefront of the therapist’s mind to avoid violating an ethical boundary.
Three Steps to Not Having to Say NO
Step #1 - Plan Ahead
First, let’s discuss planning ahead. Teens struggling with avoiding sex might benefit from knowing where they are going and what they will be doing before going out. For example, Jenna, age 16, stated, “Last week, my boyfriend wanted to take me out. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, but I went along anyway because I thought maybe he wanted to surprise me. It turned out, he wanted to go to the hill and get in my pants.” Do you have a client like Jenna who could avoid unwanted sexual advance by planning ahead?
Step #2 - Look for Signs of a Possible Problem
Next, let’s examine looking for signs of a possible problem. There are always things in the lives of our teen clients which may lead to problem situations. These might include alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. “Hot spots” may lead to potential problems, also. Empty houses, empty parks or beaches at night can all be hot spots teens can avoid to circumvent unwanted sexual advances.
Step #3 - Know How to Communicate Feelings
In addition to planning ahead and looking for signs of a possible problem, teens can also benefit from knowing how to communicate feelings. Clearly, the communication of feelings can be a productive way for teens to avoid unwanted sexual advances.
Jenna stated, “It’s like saying ‘no’ before it gets to that point. You can let people know how you feel ahead of time.” Think of your Jenna. Does your client already know how to communicate her feelings? If not, could the following technique help?
Technique: Communicating Feelings
To help Jenna better communicate her feelings, I stated, “Communication skills such as verbal communication, body language, and stop the action moves can be practiced until you know them well. Go somewhere by yourself and practice verbal messages and stop the action lines until there are at least two or three you know very well.”
Jenna responded, “I’d feel stupid standing in a room talking to myself.” How might you have responded to Jenna? I stated, “Probably, but after memorizing and saying each line twenty or thirty times, it gets easier to do. Once you become adept at repeating what you want to say, try it in front of a mirror. Then make it more difficult and add in your body language.” The next track, track 6 contain numerous examples of how to verbally communicate your feelings.
“When it comes time to use your ability to communicate feelings in a high pressure situation, repeat verbal messages, if necessary. After giving a verbal message, you can ask, ‘Do you hear me?’ or ‘Do you understand?’ You do not have to explain why you do not want to have sex. ‘No,’ is good enough. However, when you say no verbally, you must also say no with your body language. Body language is what your body says through facial expressions, hand gestures, how close you sit or stand next to someone, or any body movement or stance. Your body language should match your verbal message.”
“Combining verbal messages and body language can provide you with effective stop the action moves for avoiding unwanted sexual advances. These moves give you a chance to get out of a situation or avoid one. Stop the action moves also give you time to think, leave, or calm down.” One example of a stop the action move that Jenna later reported was stating to her boyfriend, “Don’t touch me there!” Jenna then pushed his hand away.
Think of your client. What stop the action moves might benefit him or her?
On this track we discussed saying NO to sex and avoiding unwanted sexual advances. This track included three steps to not having to say NO. These three steps are plan ahead, look for signs of possible problems, and know how to communicate your feelings.
On the next track we will continue our discussion on saying no to sex. This track will provide responses for your client who was unable to avoid an unwanted sexual advance and must respond to a partner who is ‘coming on strong.’
What are three steps to avoiding unwanted sexual advances? To select and enter your answer go to