Dear Alice,

I am so confused! I went to a movie with this guy last night who I met through my friend and her boyfriend. He is almost four years older than me: I am fourteen and he's almost eighteen. And during the movie, he was going just as far as my last boyfriend did in like three months. I mean he touched me in areas that I wanted to wait for him to touch after we had been going out for a little longer. I mean, we aren't even going out now. And I felt intimidated by his age, because he is so much older than me, I was trying to convince my self that this is what the girls must have to do when they get to be his age. And then after the movie ended, he wasn't even walking beside me, or anything. He was walking up ahead with my friend's boyfriend. He kissed me good-bye when my ride came, but I realized in the car on the way home that he wasn't pressuring me as much as I was pressuring myself to go as far as he wanted. I don't feel too good about going that far with him when we aren't even dating, or going steady. I feel that he might think I am a slut, or something for not stopping him, and not letting him know, that I didn't want to go that far that night. But on the other hand, I like him a lot, and I am scared that it'll happen to me again with him or someone else.

Dear Reader,

Here's something important to remember whether you're fourteen, twenty-four, or forty: silence does not give anybody the go-ahead to touch you sexually. "No" means no, but remaining quiet did not mean yes. What you want to do sexually, when you want to do it, and with whom you feel comfortable being intimate, should always be your decisions — even when you're fourteen. You do not have to do anything you don't want to do, or that makes you feel uncomfortable.  

It's important that this guy and any guy you may go out with in the future, respects you. Respect means everything from asking permission to touch, to being paid attention to when you're on a date. It's also important that you respect your own feelings and what makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable. Listen to your gut.

Think about how you might respond if you ever find yourself in a similar situation in the future. You can use some of the suggestions below to talk with your recent date about your feelings — if you feel okay doing so. Keep the following communication keys in mind when expressing yourself: be clear and direct, assert yourself, make sure you are heard, and repeat yourself.

"This makes me feel uncomfortable. I'd like you to stop."
"When you do this, I don't like it. Let's do something else instead, like watch TV."
"I need to go, now. Please take me home, or I'll call a cab, now."

It's also fine to end this relationship before it even starts. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who makes you feel good and positive, and who brings out your best self.


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