blog banner romeo juliet
blog banner romeo juliet

Auntie SparkNotes: I’m Afraid of Being Forced into Intimacy

Dear Auntie Sparknotes,

I’ll try to make this as short as possible: I’m conservative when it comes to intimacy, and I feel this might negatively affect my relationship with my potential boyfriend/husband.

When I say conservative, I mean “no HND before marriage” conservative. This includes HND with “The Pill”: I just don’t want to be intimate before marriage at all. I’m fine with kissing and hugging, but I can’t go any further than that with anyone except my (future) husband. I don’t think badly of anyone who does the HND before marriage, I just don’t want to do it myself.

The problem is this: From what I’ve heard, many boys, especially those around the age when I’d like to start dating people (18) are…hormonal. And jerks. Hormonal and jerks. I’m not saying all of them are (far from it), but a sufficiently large number to sort of justify my concerns.

My concerns are such: that I may be forced into an intimate relationship against my will by my boyfriend.

I’ve heard about it happening. Many times, boys aren’t too patient when it comes to doing the HND. My future boyfriend (side note here for context: I haven’t had a boyfriend up to now, and I don’t want one before I’m 18), might just lose patience with my silly, conservative feelings. Cue screams, sobs, and mental breakdowns from your dear old LW.

I’m honestly terrified of all these “what ifs” and “maybes.” I’m scared my SO might get bored with me during…”courtship” (for lack of a better word), and go off with another girl. Or, y’know, just shove me against a wall and take it from there. I think it would break me (and I know I’m probably being overly sensitive here, but that’s just how I am. I can’t handle rejection or being forced to do what I don’t feel comfortable doing).

If I’m better off becoming a spinster, and I should just go on Ebay and order a few tons of cats, then so be it. If I do have a chance of getting my own “happily ever after”, though, I’d be in your debt if you could tell me how.

For starters, Sparkler, you should find the person who told you all these horror stories about teenage boys being a bunch of rapist brutes and tell them to stop pulling your leg before it falls all the way off.

Because geez, kiddo. Not to put a big ol’ dent in your fantastically nightmarish vision of the dating landscape, but your ideas about men are wildly overblown, to the point where Auntie is wondering if you’re basing them exclusively on a certain series of romance novels about sexually-aggressive vampires. And when it comes to what to expect from your future dating relationships, the truth is much more boring. Yes, most young men (and young women, too) are more likely than not to be interested in physical intimacy—and no, not every guy will be satisfied with a relationship as chaste as the one you’re currently envisioning. But there are multiple massive worlds of difference between the majority of guys who believe that sexytimes are an essential part of a healthy, happy relationship, and the teeny tiny minority of violent criminals who would force themselves on a woman against her will. Yes, the latter category of person exists—but not, thankfully, in the kind of numbers that make it reasonable to live in fear of meeting one. For most guys, the idea of having sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with them falls somewhere between profoundly unappealing and outright horrifying on the spectrum of NOPE.

Which means that as long as you are assertive, communicative, and honest with your eventual boyfriends about what you do and don’t want to do in terms of physical intimacy, you can rest easy with the expectation that your desires and boundaries will be respected—no matter what they are. (It’s also worth noting that you might feel differently about this stuff when you’re a) older, and b) in the thick of a committed relationship with someone you care about.)

Of course, depending on how much importance your boyfriend attaches to physical intimacy himself, having your boundaries respected may take the form of a respectful breakup so that you can both find someone you’re more compatible with—and of course, that’s the one part of your worst-case scenario that could reasonably come to pass. But that’s why it’s a good thing that you’re not planning on dating anytime soon: you need some time to come to terms with the realities of dating, and to build some confidence in your ability to handle them without screaming, sobbing, or losing your whole entire mind.

Because while there’s nothing wrong with taking a conservative stance on sex before marriage (and no reason why that should get in the way of your happiness), there is a lot wrong with the suggestion that you would be “broken” by the normal, natural process of finding a compatible partner—of which rejection is an unavoidable part for just about everyone. Even if you change your mind about the HND and its various proximate activities, you must be prepared for the possibility that you may well be dumped someday when it turns out that you and your boyfriend want different things in some other regard (that is, if you don’t dump him first for the same reason.) If you’re like most people, it’ll take you a few false starts and a fair amount of growing up before you meet someone you can commit to permanently; that’s just how it works, and there’s often some pain involved.

You’ll know you’re really ready to date when that idea doesn’t scare you—because you realize it’s better to be rejected than to cling to a relationship that’s not working, because you know that even getting your heart broken will not break you, and because you have faith that the right person is worth the trial-and-error process it might take to find him. And once you have those things, I have every confidence that you’ll find the happiness you’re looking for.

Got something to say? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at
Want more info about how this column works? Check out the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.