Q: I'm 19 and have been in a relationship with this girl for a little over a year. We have been doing everything except having actual sex, almost every day, and she really enjoys the things I make her feel, but she still does not want to have sex before she's married. She tells me, and I can see it's true, that she's wildly in love with me. I'm not just trying to get in her pants, because I've been in love with her since before we started going out. I look at sex for us as making love. I have had sex before, unlike her, but I have never had the feelings for any person like the ones I have for her, or even remotely close. Also, she tells me that she wants me to be her first, but she doesn't feel ready. What can I do to show her that we are in love, it is okay for us to have sex, and that I believe it is time? -- Lance

Dr. Susan: So how did sexual intercourse become the main goal of this relationship for you? It sounds as though you're both enjoying yourselves a lot, physically and emotionally. She wants to wait for a lifetime commitment, preferably with you, before giving up her technical virginity. And you want to change her mind. What you have to understand is that she can lose more than you will if you win this round. And that's not even considering the risk of pregnancy. Your arguments are as old as the hills: but we love each other, it's okay, it's time. Etcetera. How refreshing it would be if you were to tell her that you respect her honesty, and that you wouldn't dream of pushing her into something as important (to her) as this. Give your feelings some more time. Young love always seems as though it will last and last, but so often it doesn't. The guy has then lost nothing and regrets nothing, while the girl forever remembers her first lover as a big fat mistake. If you love her enough to try to convince her she's ready, then how come you're not ready to get married? Big irrevocable decision, right? Now you're beginning to see her point of view.

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