How to say stop


Q. If you're on a date and things are going too far, how do you stop suddenly and tell him "no"?

Most situations of impurity can be avoided if you think ahead and avoid people and places that are likely to tempt you. But if you are already in a situation where you need to cool it off, there are a number of things you can say. Everyone seems to recommend different approaches.

For starters, do not underestimate the direct approach: Simply saying "We need to stop — we're going too far" may do the trick, especially if it is already understood that you are committed to chastity. Include yourself as well as him — say "We need to stop" instead of "You need to stop" — to indicate that you are not blaming him, just putting on the brakes. This may be hard, but learn from it so that you don't let things get to that point again.

On the other hand, some prefer the humorous approach: "Here's my cell phone. Call my dad, and if he says it's okay for us to do what you want, then I'll do it." Or, "You've got protection? Good. You are going to need it if you don't get your hands off me." And then there is, "Everyone's doing it? Then you shouldn't have trouble finding someone else."

These may be entertaining but I do not know how realistic they are. It might be more practical to give him a compliment — guys love that — such as, "I really like you, and I have so much fun when we're together, but this is the kind of stuff I want to save for marriage." Also, feel free to blame your parents for your decision: "My mom would kill me if she ever found out we were doing this. I need to cool off."

Another reason to skip the humorous approach is that this is not a time for jokes, but for witnessing to the truth of love. Be humble but clear, confident, and firm, and see this as a teachable moment. Use a verbal "no" and a "no" with your body language. If you're lying with him on a couch and whispering a half-hearted "no," he probably won't take you seriously, since you don't take your comittment to purity seriously.

Also, when a girl is unable to say no, she is less attractive. Wendy Shalit described a "deadness" in girls' demeanor, "that comes from inauthenticity, from giving away too much," from not knowing how to set limits and having the character to stand by them.1 To avoid this deadness, pray to God for the strength to maintain and grow in your purity.

Even if you don't convince your date to live purely in his own life, that's okay. It is more important that you do what is right than it is for you to convince another. You shouldn't have to play the chastity cop. In fact, both people in a relationship should be mutually accountable. The responsibility to blow the whistle should not rest entirely on one person. Also, you do not owe your date a thirty-minute presentation on why chastity is important to you, and you certainly don't owe him sexual favors. If he doesn't accept a simple no, then he doesn't love you.

Let the guy go, and hold out for a man who knows how to honor a woman. Most important, do not be afraid. One girl wrote to me and said, "I really like him, but I do not know why I have sex, like sometimes I am scared to say no." There are worse things in the world than not being asked out again by a guy who only loves himself. If he dumps you over this, then he did not deserve your attention to begin with.

When things are going too far, value yourself enough to say no. Unfortunately, many young women use physical intimacy as a way of giving themselves value. The embraces feel like an affirmation of their worth, and perhaps because of mistakes they have made in the past, they do not understand the tremendous value of their bodies. Your purity is a treasure, so have the confidence to respect yourself. When the two of you work to preserve purity, it will keep an element of mystery and excitement in your relationship that is lost when couples do not bother to keep anything secret and sacred.

  1. Shalit, A Return to Modesty, 57.




Jason Evert. "How to say stop." excerpted from If You Really Loved Me (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2007).

Reprinted with permission of Catholic Answers.


Jason Evert earned a master's degree in Theology, and undergraduate degrees in Counseling and Theology, with a minor in Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the author of Pure Of Heart: Breaking Free From Porn,If You Really Loved Me, Pure Manhood, Raising Pure Teens - 10 Strategies to Protect ( or Restore) Your Teenager's Innocence, How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, Pure Love, Answering Jehovah's Witnesses, and many other books and tapes, which challenges young people to embrace the virtue of chastity. Jason speaks at seminars, participates in debates, and responds to thousands of questions about Catholicism from people around the world.

Copyright © 2008 Catholic Answers

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