Dr. Wallace:

I’m 17 and really like this guy who attends my church. We talk to each other every Sunday. Last week he asked me out and I was happy. The only thing is that he’s going steady (his girlfriend is on vacation with her parents in Mexico). Do you think it would be OK for me to go out with him a few times until she gets back? It’s not like they’re married. They’re just going steady.

— Nameless,

Laredo, Tex.

Nameless: The answer to your question is “No!” To repeat, “No!”

Dr. Wallace: You seem to be quite intelligent, so I wonder why you still encourage teens to use abstinence as a sure-fire way to avoid the problems associated with teenage sexual activity. Maybe only a few teens were sexually active when you were a teen, but this is 2017 and a huge percentage of today’s teens are sexually active. Instead of encouraging teens to practice abstinence, you should be promoting a program of safe sex and encouraging junior and senior high schools to distribute free condoms to all students who are sexually active or are planning to start a sexual relationship soon. I’m sure many parents would back this program.

Hear me out before you consider me to be a stupid kook. Condoms are protection against unwanted pregnancies and unwanted sexually-transmitted diseases. Of course condoms are not 100% perfect, but they sure are much better than no protection at all. I’m aware that you are a former high school teacher and basketball coach and principal, and you know a lot about working with teens. I commend you for earning a doctor’s degree in education.

I enjoy reading your column and am in concert with about 90% of your views. Now, let me get back to the “you might consider me a stupid kook.” I, too, have a doctor’s degree in education and teach in the education department at a university in Massachusetts. Is it possible that I can convince you to change your mind on teenage sexual behavior from abstinence to condom protection? First, I don’t think you will print my email and next, I don’t think I will change your mind.

— Teacher from


Teacher: Many times readers, especially those who are learned scholars, can convince me to change my view on various topics. You were wrong about printing your email. I enjoyed reading it. And you were correct when you didn’t think I would change my mind.

I might have an antiquated philosophy by encouraging teens to avoid sexual activity, but I do agree that if they are going to be sexually active, proper protection is a must! No exceptions accepted. However, it’s not the high school’s role to be distributing free condoms to their students!

If parents want their teens to use condoms and promote safe sex, have them hand them out to their teens at home — free of charge.

Thanks for your stimulating email. It provided me the opportunity to review my premarital teenage sex philosophy.

— Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.