Though a complex psychological subject, we can decipher it in simple terms.
Every boy and girl, man and child carries basic, fundamental beliefs about themselves.
not because you're the only person in your group who doesn't have a special someone," Gowen says. Also get your friends' input about whether the person is worth your time.
One very important question you need to ask yourself is whether this person is safe for you to date.
Before you ask out the object of your affection, or say, "yes" to someone who's interested in you, go through this checklist of questions to make sure you're ready to handle whatever might happen in your new relationship.
About half of 15- and 16-year-olds say they've dated, but just because you've reached a certain age doesn't really mean you're ready to date.
She's also written a book about sexuality for teens, called Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide.
Gowen says being ready to go out has more to do with your maturity than your age. For one thing, could you tell the person you're dating how far you're willing to take the relationship, and what your sexual boundaries are?
But when you begin any new relationship, take it slow.
"I think people are ready at different times," says L.
Kris Gowen, Ph D, Ed M, a researcher in sexual and mental health at the Portland State University School of Social Work.
Girls who've set their sights on older guys, beware.
Dating a guy who's in high school when you're still in middle school, or who's a senior when you're still a freshman might seem cool, but it could get you into a lot of trouble.