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Your heart skipped a beat when you first saw him, and you can still hear it pounding in your chest every time he says “hi” to you. He’s so handsome! And that confident swagger! If only…

You’ve known her since you were both kids, but suddenly she’s turned into such a hot chick she hardly seems like the same person – except that she is the same person, albeit older, more intelligent and way more gorgeous than you could ever have imagined. While guys flock around her and your friends keep asking you to introduce them to your “sister”, all you can think of is how badly you want her for yourself. So, should you date?

Before you make that decision, or any other for that matter, ask yourself “Why?” “Why am I doing this”? “Why do I want this”? There are so many things that “everybody” seems to be doing, both on TV and in real life, you want to be sure it’s actually your decision. Teenage dating is so normal and so commonplace that you’re not quite sure why we’re even having this “conversation”.

The truth, which the media and the ever present “everybody” will almost never tell you is that teenage dating has its downside, and the key thing here is “unnecessary pressure”. When a teenager decides to date, he or she immediately puts him or herself under pressure. There are two major areas where this is most obvious: Sexuality and Personal Achievement. Allow me to expatiate.

Every savvy teenager today has heard that abstinence is the only protection from unwanted pregnancy and STDs that gives you 100% guarantee. Immediately you enter into your teens and in many cases even before you do, your body changes, and so does your relationship with it. You love it for its new found beauty, you hate it for its weakness, for the way it confuses and betrays you when you want it to behave. But you’re getting used to it, learning how to control it, making your peace with the parts of it you are not so impressed with, and generally figuring out how to be the new you. This is not the best time to put your body to the test; and that is exactly what dating allows, and in fact forces you to do.

If you are anything like the teenaged me (and I hope you are in this regard, male or female), you’ve chosen to abstain, even if not till marriage, at least till you are emotionally, physically and financially ready to handle the consequences of sex. Once you make this decision, you discover almost immediately how difficult this is – those steamy sex scenes in movies, those sexy song lyrics and of course, novels like Mills & Boon (my favourites in those days, does anyone still read those?) do not encourage you in this noble cause. The whole world seems to be working against you. But with determination and courage you trudge on, carrying with you the peace and self-esteem that comes from doing what is right. Just when you think it can’t get any harder, you find someone to date, hallelujah! How wonderful it feels to be part of a couple! It always does, whether you are 15 or 50. But now, you have someone with whom to act out your fantasies. Whether you realise it or not, all those things you’ve read and viewed are imprinted in your memory, and though you’ve told yourself it’s just entertainment and you don’t intend to actually practice them (oh, how many time did I attempt to pacify a worried guardian with those words?!), may I please remind you that you’re only human?

Dating, in simple English, exposes you to sexual temptation you may not be able to handle. In such situations, your body is not your friend. Even your mind turns fuzzy and may not work properly. Sex is powerful; that’s the way it was created to be. Abstaining is hard enough without you getting yourself a partner.

I’m not saying it is impossible to have a sex-free relationship in your teens – I had five, and I remained a virgin through them all – I’m just saying it is a lot of hard work and I almost weep just thinking of other productive things I could have invested all that energy into. I do not prescribe or advise teenage dating because even though you end up not actually having sex, there are a lot of other sexual activities you may find yourself engaging in, and the farther you go, the less you are able to resist; the more you allow, the more carried away you get and the less guilty you feel. You may not notice it, but all that kissing and touching is wearing your resistance down, take it from someone who knows!

To be continued…

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This article was first published on 15th July 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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