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Dear Counsellor - Teenage thoughts

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q. I am a teenage boy with a serious problem. Every pretty girl I see, I like. And, I move on quickly from one to the other. I get excited at a new challenge. In addition, I am easily flattered when girls admire my well-sculptured body. I will soon be 20 and I think it is time that I settle down. Most mornings when I awake, I have strong erections and other times, I have wet dreams about these beautiful girls. How do I know which girl to settle down with?

A. It is not unusual for a 19-year-old to be enamoured with beautiful girls. Sight plays a great role in whom a teenager is attracted to. Nothing is wrong with admiring pretty girls and wanting to be associated with beautiful persons. However, beauty is fleeting and can go any time - be it by nature, or by accident. It seems that, at your age, you are also obsessed with your own looks. There is nothing wrong with taking care of one's body, exercising and engaging in a balanced diet, however, greater care must be taken in terms of character formation and building.

Therefore, there ought to be lasting values and attitudes that you should be looking for in a girl and also developing in yourself. A greater emphasis needs to be placed on values, such as honesty, caring, ambitiousness, truthfulness and hard work. There are attitudes, such as having a forgiving spirit and compassion for the less fortunate, belief in being responsible, loyalty to one's family and love of country.

In addition, if you are a spiritual person you would want to have someone who shares your spiritual values. You would need someone who would accept you as you are with your strengths and weaknesses. It must be someone who is willing to commit to the unknown with you. Then, there are other things such as personal hygiene that you should be aware of. These are some things you should look out for before settling down.

Furthermore, will this person fit in with your parents, family members and significant friends? Do you have similar attitudes toward money? Do you engage in lively and stimulating discussions? Is she arrogant and domineering and know it all? These are some of the many questions and issues you need to answer.

However, based on your behaviour, you might not be quite ready to settle down. If you mean marriage, then you might not be quite ready. In addition, I am not sure if you have finished studies, have a job, can support a wife and children, and all the responsibilities that go with having your own family and home. However, if you mean having a steady girlfriend, then you should be heading in that direction.

It is also not clear what you mean when you say you move from one girl to another. If it means promiscuousness, then it is dangerous. You are running the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS and/or, unwanted pregnancies. Furthermore, casual sexual contact without meaningful commitment can destroy your emotions. You could, therefore, become selfish and love sex rather than people. However, if you meant flirting or brief platonic relationships, then that is not damaging.

Wet dreams and erections are normally part of adolescent development and is nothing to worry about. This is not indicative of which girl to settle with.

All the best as you change your habits and seek to have a steady girlfriend.

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