DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 years old, and I'm writing this letter of advice to all girls who are being pressured by their boyfriends to have sex.
Maybe they can learn from my mistake. As I write this letter, I feel like a fool for not taking your wise advice in the first place, but believe me: I will not make the same mistake a second time.
My story is a common one, but like a lot of girls, I thought it couldn't possibly happen to me. After all, this boy was a high school pal I really liked, and he was my first love. He was quite handsome, fun to be with and a sweet and caring person. Even my parents were impressed with him and thought he was wonderful. We all thought he was the perfect boy for me.
We had been going steady for about a month when he decided to give me his class ring. He knew I was a virgin, so I thought there would be no big problem. Then a couple of weeks later, he started pressuring me for sex. He told me the same story they all do — that sex was the best way to express our love, we would have a stronger bond, etc. Finally, I gave in.
After that, it seems like we never did anything else but have sex. No movies; no going out for a bite to eat; no shopping at the mall; no going to parties as a couple. And finally, after a few weeks, he said he was bored with me and told me he wouldn't be calling again.
I was shattered, heartbroken and furious, all at the same time. He had told me he loved me with all his heart, and I believed him. But really, all he wanted was the loan of my body to entertain him for a few months.
I finally got over this and started dating another guy, and I'm amazed at how much more I like this guy than the first one. I'm very excited about him, and I'm so happy to be treated as a lady and not be pressured to have sex at all. I'm older and wiser now and have learned my lesson well. Since I really want to keep my new boyfriend around, there will be no sexual activity at all, and I feel confident that he also likes me for my friendship, love and personality.
So, girls, please learn from my unhappy experience. Take Dr. Wallace's advice, and don't let your boyfriend pressure you to have sex. — Anonymous, via email
ANONYMOUS: No one can offer better advice than someone who has "been there, done that." Thanks for your informative message. I wish to again stress to readers that this topic is one of the most discussed and mentioned in the letters I receive from teens — especially teen girls.
REASONS TO QUIT SMOKING
DR. WALLACE: I'm 19, and I just quit smoking four months ago because my fiance asked me to. Since I love him more than I love tobacco, I quit cold turkey. I will admit that since I quit, I have been tempted to vape, but I understand I would still be taking in tobacco and vaping is not healthy either. I briefly thought about asking my fiance if I could vape for a while, but then I realized how weak that would sound, so I abandoned that idea. We want to have children sometime soon, and the mental picture I have in my mind of me holding a baby in one arm and vaping with the other arm caused me to shudder when I first had the thought.
I've needed an outlet to focus on since I quit, so during the first month of being smoke-free, I did some research on smoking. I'd like to list a few facts I found along the way that your readers may find useful:
1. The younger one starts, the more likely one will remain a smoker and die prematurely.
2. Since the mid-1950s, overall smoking rates among adults have steadily declined; however, smoking rates among people under age 17 have remained constant.
3. Ten percent of high school seniors smoke daily.
4. High school graduates are less likely to smoke then high school dropouts. The more educated people are, the better informed they are about the health hazards of smoking.
5. Children whose parents smoke are twice as likely to smoke than children of nonsmokers. — Ex-Smoker, via email
EX-SMOKER: Thanks for the useful information, and congratulations on being an ex-smoker! I find it impressive that you chose to channel your time to research the pitfalls of your former habit and share your findings with others.
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.