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JEWEL & DAVE: Mixed emotions about sex; brother's a nuisance

Hi, Jewel,

Our family goes to church every week and our pastor talks about theevils of premarital sex from time to time.

I'm 18 and ready for action with my boyfriend, but every time Ithink about it, the pastor's sermons pop into my mind. Once I leavehome I don't think I will be much of a churchgoer, so why does heintimidate me?

- CONFUSED

Dear Confused,

I really believe in the power of the gut. It knows before anybodywhen you're good and ready to do something. Without a doubt, yourinner voice is trying to tell you something.

In my view, the appearance of your pastor's sermons in yoursubconscious playing field is an expression of your own doubts abouthaving premarital sex. I don't think you're "intimidated" by yourpastor, but rather the idea of taking it to the next level with yourman.

Before leaping to new sexual pastures, you need to fill your earswith information. If you haven't already done so, speak to your familydoctor about the decision you're toying with. Get the lowdown on howyou can protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases andunwanted pregnancy. Discuss the emotional impact of sex. Ask forrelevant literature to take home and read.

Once you've reviewed this learning experience, ask yourself ifyou're ready to take on all the attendant responsibilities of havingsex.

Be sure you're not being pressured, and that you're secure withyour choice. If you do forge ahead, don't be surprised if yourrelationship takes on new dynamics. After all, sex is not all fun andgames. It's got serious consequences that you have to be prepared tolive with. So the question is: Are you ready?

Love, Jewel

Hey, Dave,

I'm 16 and still have to share a bedroom with my kid brother. He's12. I want my privacy, but my parents say there's nothing they can doabout it because they can't afford a bigger house.

Every time I'm on my computer, he wants to know what I'm doing andwho I'm talking to, and if I'm on the phone it's the same thing. Howdo I get him to give me some space without causing a family feud?

- CROWDED

Dear CROWDED,

Sharing a bedroom with your bro doesn't mean he has to stick hisnose in your business. You have to lay out some rules, supported byyour parents, that'll prevent your brother from bothering you. Easiersaid than done, perhaps, but this plan takes action and reaction:action on your part to approach your parents and tell them they needto outline some rules; and reaction from your brother that means he'slistening to you and understands his role in the family.

You need to realize that 12-year-old kids will do anything thatgets a rise out of other people. They want attention. They want tocause a ruckus. It's your job to be the adult in the relationship, andtell your bro that he has to stay out of your phone and e-mailconversations. Don't insult or assault him, though. Treat him like agrown-up and he'll hopefully act like one.

In the end, you might have to endure the shared bedroom untilyou're old enough to move away to college. I know that sounds like theglass is half-empty, but sometimes we all have to go throughunpleasant experiences. How we deal with them shows what kind ofadults we'll grow up to be.

Good luck!

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