When to start dating teens

Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply: How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the time is right for sex?

"The risks of STDS have got to be discussed and prevented from spreading," Allen tells Web MD.

"I say definitely use condoms, even if you're in a committed relationship," she adds.

If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.

"I thought there were differences between men and women and how they felt about relationships.

"It depends on how rapidly or slowly things progress." Joan Allen, a relationship expert, finds that baby boomers are far more likely to wait to have sex than younger daters.

"Especially among older people who went through the sexual revolution, with maturity they realize there are emotional consequences for getting involved in a sexual relationship," says Allen, author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right: From Stalemate to Soulmate.

STORY: Should You Make Your Child Stop Sucking His Thumb?

The Great Debate The answer depends on a variety of factors, including personality and maturity level.

"Make sure your brain, heart, and penis are in conjunction -- they should all be in a straight line before you have sex," she says.

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