I Feel Like I Have to Have Sex to Make Him Happy

“My boyfriend always wants sex and I feel like I have to have sex to make him happy, it’s not like he makes me do it I choose to but I feel like I’m letting him down if I don’t. I’m 14 he’s 15”


Thanks so much for your really really excellent question. I mean, it’s not really a question and you’ve not said that anything is a problem but I’m guessing that you want some advice about it anyway? If not, feel free not to read any of this #consent

It’s Okay Not To Have Sex

First and foremost (you probably know that I’m going to say this) it’s okay not to have sex. Just because you are in a romantic relationship does not mean that you have to have sex at all. Romantic relationships can have loads of sex, some sex, and no sex. All of these things are okay, okay?

A lot of people in romantic relationships don’t have any sex, or only have a little, or choose to do some kinds of sex (snogging, dry humping, ear lobe nibbling, serious knee stroking) but not others.

Also, sidenote about your age (which you mention, so I’ll mention too). Most people your age aren’t having sex — most people wait till they are over 16 before they start having sex. (Here’s some legal advice about sex under 16). So if you really want to have sex, that’s pretty chill, but don’t think that this is something that everyone else is doing and therefore think you should be doing.

Should you have sex?

Why else do you have sex?

People have sex for hundreds of different reasons. You feel like you have to have sex with him to keep him happy and not let him down, but are there also other reasons? Have a think about this for yourself (and maybe use this to give you some ideas).

Why do people have sex? Here are some possible reasons
Share it on your social medias if you want

Are you *just* having sex in order to keep him happy and not let him down? If so how do you feel about that? How does that sound to you? What if a friend told you that? What advice would you give to someone asking you about this?

You don’t have to always be having sex for exactly the same reasons, it’s pretty common actually. People in romantic relationships are often in your position actually, because one person is often more interested in sex than the other. If this is something that you are happy doing, then that’s okay. BUT

Are you doing you at all?

Think of the last few times you’ve had sex. How much has this been for you and how much has this been for him? Put it on a scale

If your last few experiences are in the minuses then I think it might be a good idea to think about not having sex for a while. That might mean having a difficult conversation with your boyfriend about your thoughts about sex. It might also involve you having to say no (more on this below).

A guide to no

It’s important to treat yourself consensually and not forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to, even if you think it will keep the relationship going. It’s also good to remember here that:

There are so many stories about 'The One' like the Knight in Shining Armour
There’s more than one ‘one’

What’s he doing for you?

I think that unless you are a very very good actor, your boyfriend should be able to see that you are not always that into having sex. Most of us can tell when someone is agreeing to do something because we want them to rather than because they really want to. If someone shrugs, doesn’t really give eye contact, and never starts sexual activity then that’s a sign that they aren’t enthusiastic.

So here’s a message to your boyfriend.

“Often people don’t feel like they can say no, so you should ask questions that don’t require a yes or no answer. For example ‘how would you feel about sexy times later?’ rather than ‘do you want to have sex now?’ You should also be paying attention to whether your girlfriend is genuinely interested in having sex. A ‘maybe,’ or a shrug of the shoulders, or avoiding giving an answer is not a yes. This is on you, so get better at it.”

How we can deal with power in relationships by effective consensual communication
Get better at this BF

It’s Also Society’s Fault

So you know how women get called slags, sluts, skets for being interested in sex and men get called lads, studs and ‘real men’? Well that is part of the problem here too. Often boys are brought up being told that they should be active and try to get what they want and girls are brought up the opposite. This can definitely change and you might be able to be more active in the future and feel more able to ask for what you want. However I think this is part of why it is that you’ve written to me about this rather than talk to your boyfriend about it.

How to Start Doing You

Sorry if this is all a bit sad face so far. I think if you are both able to slow down and communicate about this a bit more you could both be having a better time with sex. If you can both be honest about what you both want to get from sex then you can both find ways of getting those things from other things too.

I also think that you could get more from sex if you learn how to make choices that are just for you. Try this latest blog post from me about how to choose a chocolate bar

choose a chocolate bar
How to choose things

Then you could start to think about your choices when it comes to sex and what kind of sex you want to have and what kinds of sex you don’t.

OMG Yes, Not for me, Mmmmm. Working out what kind of sex you like
Working out what kind of sex you might like

So you can have sex for whatever reasons you want to, but remember that you also have to be able to make those choices. It sounds like your boyfriend should give you some freedom to make these choices and you’re not going to have a really good relationship if he doesn’t. Here’s how to work out how good it is at the moment.

Bish how's my relationship graph
Click to read more

Hope this helps!


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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

If you’re over 18 and would like an advanced version of BISH check out my podcast Culture Sex Relationships. Also I’ve written a sex advice book for adults with Meg-John Barker called A Practical Guide to Sex available wherever you get books. We also did some zines to help you to figure out what you want from sex and relationships. They are at our website.

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