The practice of teaching refusal skills to teenagers and other young unmarried people who desire to maintain sexual abstinence has gained in popularity in recent years. Programs like “Worth the Wait” are designed to empower young people and to provide them with the skills necessary to say “no” in a way that leaves both parties with self-respect and a clearly-understood message. The development of programs that teach refusal skills has come out of the AIDS epidemic and the rising tide of other sexually-transmitted diseases among young people.
Most programs focus on different situations teens might find themselves in that involve pressure from another individual to engage in sexual activity. The use of effective refusal skills, it is believed by many of these programs, means not allowing the other person to feel like they are being deprived of something. In addition, programs instruct young people to end the discussion over sex quickly, once the clear “no” message is absorbed.
Many refusal skills programs rely on the use of scenarios and role playing to teach students how to use refusal skills in different sexual situations. These scenarios include dealing with those involving individuals they don’t know well and with those involving unmarried couples who are in a relationship but have one member of the couple desiring sexual abstinence.