DR. WALLACE: I am now going through what most girls experience when they steadily date one guy: the pressure to have sex. When I continue to say "no," he lays a guilt trip on me by saying that "all lovers make love."
He keeps saying I'm cold and distant, and he would like me to be much warmer and more sensitive. Dr. Wallace, I really like my boyfriend, and he is a super neat guy, except for his never-ending sexual hang-up. I'm a virgin and plan to stay that way until marriage. How can I convince him that when I say no, I really mean it? Why can't he take "no" for an answer? He's like a child constantly begging for candy. — Vicky the Virgin, Burlington, Vermont
VICKY: Throughout life, you will be pressured by people to do certain things, not for your benefit at all but quite often for theirs. Many times, we "give in" to the pressure just to get rid of the trapped, pressured feelings we experience. I am here to definitively tell you that this isn't the right thing to do.
People don't like to be told "no." It doesn't matter if the person is a young child in pursuit of a piece of candy, or an adult wanting his or her way on a matter deemed important enough to apply pressure on another person. When the "pressure-er" is told no, it means he can't get his way: He can't do something he wants to do. Two things usually happen. First, the person asks again, maybe in a slightly different way, and continues to ask until he is finally convinced the answer is going to permanently or at least indefinitely remain "no." Once that has finally sunk in, that person will accept the decision with a certain degree of frustration or disappointment but will hopefully get over it, make a mental adjustment and move forward in some manner.
A sincere, open discussion of the reasons why you are not going to have sex is a much more effective approach than simply responding with "No," "Because I said so," or "I told you I don't want to." If he doesn't want to accept your reasons after this suggested open discussion and continues to be sexually aggressive, my advice at that point would be to tell him goodbye and wish him well.
I'M OLD ENOUGH TO DATE!
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 15 1/2-year-old guy and live with my stepmother and father. I don't have any sisters or brothers. My father is a good man, and I really love him; but my stepmother tells me what I can and cannot do.
Recently, I met a super nice girl at my friend's birthday party. It seems as if a magnet drew us together. We spent much of the time talking with each other. She said it would be nice if we could go out together, and I agreed with her.
I want to go out with her, but my stepmother is insisting I wait until I'm 16 before I start dating. However, when my mom found out I was going to write to you, she said she would take your comments into consideration before making her final decision.
I know we will have to coordinate transportation if we go on a date, but we can work that out. I'm an average teen who gets above-average grades, and I've never been in any serious trouble. I don't smoke, drink or do drugs, and I'm considered a pretty levelheaded young man despite my age. Do you think I should be allowed to take this nice girl out to see a movie together?
I don't want to contact her until I know that I can ask her out. — Waiting for Good News, via email
WAITING: I feel that teens, age 15, who are dependable, trustworthy and do possess maturity should be allowed to date for the first time on a limited basis, with tight rules applied. However, this is in no way a blanket endorsement. The key here is dependability, trustworthiness and maturity. Each parent has to make this judgment call as it applies to their own family's situation and the specific 15-year-old being considered.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.