" Are you ready to handle the pressures of hanging out -- and possibly hooking up -- with someone?

If you really want to be with this person and your parents won't give in, try talking to them about it. Gowen suggests trying to show your parents how mature and responsible you are.

Don't start off with a confrontational attitude -- "Why won't you let me date? Remind them about the chores you've done around the house and how well you've been keeping up with your schoolwork.

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?

Tell your parents all the reasons why you like this person and want to go out with them -- because they're kind, smart, and fun to be around ("because they're hot" isn't a legitimate reason, so don't even try it).

See if you can work out a deal where you ease into dating gradually.

"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.

Are you also mature enough to handle the rejection that can come in a relationship? On the flip side, if you were the one having to do the breaking up, could you do it in a firm, but kind way?