Outcomes Offered

■ Moral responsibility

■ Consideration of the other

■ Mutual decision making

■ Personal value systems

"Did you score?" Brad's buddies asked when he got to school on Monday morning. They knew he'd had a date with Jess over the weekend and wanted to know the news ... in detail.

It has just been a first date and things had got a little hot. They'd cuddled and caressed but Jess had drawn an absolute line as to what was okay and what was not. Brad could have gone further, but his head was telling him something different.

He was at that age where some of his friends had scored and some hadn't—or at least that was what they'd said. Monday mornings at school were bragging time about what they had got up to over the weekend. Brad had no doubt that some had had sex but others hadn't—and then, there were some who didn't talk about what they did at all, so he had no idea.

What a dilemma he found himself in. His body wanted one thing and his mind another. His friends were telling him to go for it and his parents were telling him something different. Around the age ofpuberty he was given a book to read and got the usual sex talk as though his parents were teaching him something new. As if he hadn't heard about it at school, been to sex education classes, seen the graffiti, or heard the sniggering comments from his friends in the locker room.

"Ifyou are going to, tell us about it," his parents had said. "Let us talk it over before you do anything or get a girl into trouble."

Yeah, that would be likely, thought Brad. He was a big enough man to make his own choices, wasn't he? This was up to him and Jess, not anyone else.

Thinking that, he began to weigh up his own values. There was a time when he thought it would be good to save himself until he got married, but nobody seemed to do that anymore. It was stuff that his parents used to do, not what his generation did. At least he wanted to be serious, he wanted it to be special, or that's the way he thought when he wasn't kissing Jess . . . and finding himself getting hot in those parts that get hot when you are held in a passionate kiss. Of course, his friends couldn't tell him what to do, nor could his parents.

I bet you would like to know how the story ended. But, to be honest, I don't know, so I can't tell you. However, if you were in Brad's shoes, what would you do on the next date? How would you make your own judgment about what was best to do? How would you take responsibility for your choices? On what principles would you make your choices? Would they include your sense of your partner's happiness and well-being? How would you balance your wants and Jess's stated boundaries?

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