Q: I'm starting my freshman year in college and am leaving my high-school boyfriend behind. I expect to find new romantic partners, but I don't want to get a bad reputation. How many sexual partners is too many? If I have more than a dozen, am I a slut? What's the average for a normal woman?
Mia: The number of men you choose to sleep with is between you and God, if you are a believer. Don't worry about what your high-school boyfriend thinks, and forget about what society says. Do remember why you are in school: to get an education. But also have fun, stay safe and be true to your morals. That's all you have to worry about.
Steve: Wait. You can have too many partners? Forget about the number, but be choosy. Remember Steve & Mia's Rules of Romance No. 7: "Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas."
Q: Last semester, I drank too much and wound up in an emergency room. My roommates said I was talking crazy, so they called 9-1-1. My discharge papers from the ER had "psychosis" on them. I never followed up like they told me to. I just stopped drinking until exams were over. I didn't drink all summer while I was home, either. Now I'm worried that, with school starting up, I might be tempted to party again and overindulge.
Mia: You are smart to be concerned. What you experienced may be a one-time thing or a sign of other problems. Continue laying off the booze until you get evaluated again. Your first stop should be the student health center. It can steer you toward a professional therapist or maybe a program to help with the drinking.
Steve: Before heading back to school, visit your family physician for a discussion about alcohol. Alcoholism can be genetic, and some people need to be more careful than others. Your doctor can help you craft a drinking strategy that lets you party without ruining your health.
Steve is a 50-something married man who's been around the block. Mia is a younger, recently married woman with an all-together different attitude. They may not agree, but they have plenty of answers.