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Future coed doesn't want to look like a prude

woman with an unwanted boyfriend - isolated over a white background

Dear Harlan:

I’m going to college next year. In high school, I never really talked to boys or dated them. I’m very inexperienced. I know that in college, guys have a lot of sexual expectations of girls. How can I handle these expectations without being a prude?

– Not a Prude

Dear Not a Prude:

WHAT ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS (sorry to shout)? It all starts with you.  Here’s how I see it: You are a strong, interesting, attractive, dynamic and intelligent woman whom anyone would be lucky to date. A guy who wants to kiss you and get close to you should be expected to ask YOU what feels comfortable for YOU.  Or you can just tell him.  He should be expected to respect your boundaries, move at a comfortable pace and NEVER pressure you. If a man expects more than you are comfortable sharing, he can stop, slow down or go somewhere else to get it. There are more than enough men in the world, and more than enough who will be happy to go at your pace. You DO NOT need to worry about pleasing a man or rising to the level of his expectations.  That was 1950. We’ve moved on.

I want to tell you a BIG secret: A guy who likes you will ALWAYS respect you. A guy who wants to be with you (and not use you) will ALWAYS listen when you tell him how you feel. A guy who is interested in you will find your directness, values and virtues attractive.

One more piece of advice: Focus less on what college men want and more on what you want.  Make dating less about being interesting and more about being interested. It’s about what YOU want. When you know what you want, you can say what you want and express how you feel. Your partner can do the same. And then you can build a relationship with intimacy and trust. But to do this, you need to believe, with absolute certainty, that anyone who gets an invitation to participate in your life is the luckiest person in the world.  I know you’ve never been kissed and never been in love, but it doesn’t make you less kissable or lovable. It just means you have more kisses and more love to give.

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