YOUTH

Oh, Valentine’s Day. The flowers, the chocolate, the candy, the cute little stuffed animals, the sweetly sentimental greeting cards. But also, the expectations. The pressure and obligation to make a meaningful expression of your love, maybe even to take the next step

If you have someone you love, or even like a lot, don't feel pressured to DO anything that you're not ready for - especially when it comes to getting physical or having sex. But since Valentine's Day makes us want to show others how much we care, you might be trying to think of something special. Well, great news, here: demonstrating your love doesn't require sex. There are LOTS of other creative and meaningful ways to show your love.

Like what? Well, you could just tell your boo you're in love, but sometimes the "L-word" freaks people out. Instead, try some of these ideas:

  • Do something together that neither of you have done before: hiking, rock climbing, fishing, sailing, skating, skiing, kayaking, etc.
  • Watch his/her favorite movie without rolling your eyes.
  • Learn how to give a great scalp and neck massage.
  • Give her/him a foot massage and pedicure (that takes real love!).
  • Check out a book on his/her favorite sport and brush up on the rules.
  • Write a poem or song. It doesn’t have to be about love — make it funny and catchy.
  • Make a playlist or a CD of special songs.
  • Paint a picture of make a collage of something special to you both.
  • Frame a photo or make a scrapbook of a place the two of you have been.
  • Play board games.
  • Take dancing lessons.
  • Take turns reading a book out loud together.
  • Volunteer to help others. For ideas, check out Habitat for Humanity, local shelters, animal shelters, children’s centers, retirement homes, community beautification projects, or just Google “volunteer opportunities” in your hometown.
  • Build a model airplane together, and go fly it.
  • Practice your kissing skills without going any further.
  • Keep a journal together full of doodles and notes and memories.
  • List all the great things you do together and all the things you want to do.
  • Dance.
  • Make something: cookies, a blanket, a special pillow, his favorite dessert.
  • Take a class together — photography, self-defense, painting, drawing, pottery, archery.
  • Get to know your bae's family. Invite bae to a family dinner.
  • Leave notes in unexpected places.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt that takes you to spots meaningful to your relationship.
  • Find out what s/he loves to do more than anything and do it together (unless it’s sex!).

There are a lot of reasons to hold off on having sex when you're young: it's a big deal with big consequences - both physical (infections, pregnancy) and emotional. Sex will not make your relationship stronger, but it can definitely add new stress and new pressures. Keep it easier on yourself, and find alternatives to sex for now. It's not the only way to show your love,and there will be plenty of time for that when you are older and truly ready. There are so many other intimate and meaningful ways to communicate your feelings. Be creative and have fun! And if you think of some other great ways to show your bae you care (besides sex), then share them here!

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love

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