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Teen Girls' Health

Dr. Ashton's Five Simple Rules for a Healthy Sex Life

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4. Never do anything you don’t want to do.

Thanks, Dad! This is still one of the very best pieces of sexual advice I’ve ever heard. The sad fact is that one in four women will be abused at some time during her life. So I want you to know right now that no one has the right to ever hurt you or force you into sexual activities you don’t want. If it happens, I want you to tell your doctor, your parents, or someone else you trust right away. Don’t feel bad or ashamed—just get checked out to make sure you’re OK.

This rule applies to emotional abuse, too. Once, when I was in college, I was crying to my brother about how my boyfriend had treated me badly. I wanted to give him another shot. “Jen,” said my brother, “no one deserves a second shot with you.” I feel the same way about you. Nobody has the right to hurt you and nobody who does hurt you deserves a second shot. You’re too good for that.

If you’ve been sexually abused or mistreated, please know it’s not your fault—and get some help and support.

5. Don’t date guys more than a year older than you are.

This relates back to Rule Number 4: Never do anything you don’t want to do. Boyfriends who are significantly older than you will have more experience and will pressure you to go further—sometimes much further.

I’ll never forget Lisa, a model-gorgeous fifteen-year-old. She and her mother came to see me because Lisa thought she might be pregnant by her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend. She was. She decided to end the pregnancy, but she didn’t break it off with the guy. (Note that a grown man having sex with a fifteen-year-old is not only deeply disturbing, but it’s against the law.) Within two years he’d given her chlamydia. I was very concerned about her health and worried about her having a relationship with a man ten years older than she was.

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