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by Abigail Van Buren

Sex Advice in Magazines Offers Useful Help to Some

DEAR ABBY: May I offer a slightly different point of view regarding "D.S.'s" comments in your column about explicit articles in women's magazines?

As a therapist, I have treated a number of lonely, socially inadequate men and women who have had little social contact with others and lack the skills to develop warm and sexually satisfying relationships. Some of these people have physical disabilities; some are excessively shy, withdrawn or physically unattractive. It is this population, and many of us who are seeking a little escape -- and yes, even titillation (heaven forbid!) -- who read the articles in women's magazines. Personally, I have seen articles that were helpful to women who have had very little exposure to the nuances of their sexuality. In fact, I have recommended several of these articles to clients because they normalize sexuality.

I say to women who are offended by these articles, "Don't buy the magazines." There's room for all kinds of people in this world. What could be more positive than reading about love and sex?

It is my hope that those obsessed with pornographic reading material seek therapy, for that obsession is extreme behavior which indicates the need for intervention. I suggest that "D.S.'s" overly concerned response to magazine articles is indicative of her own problems.

Thank you for giving me a forum. It galls me to see repression by people who need to "get a life." -- BARBARA ROSENKRANTZ, M.A.

DEAR MS. ROSENKRANTZ: Your letter was a breath of fresh air. Obviously a great many readers are interested in the information that frank articles about sex provide, which is the reason publishers are doing such a land-office business at supermarkets.

Only when readers demonstrate that those articles are no longer of interest will the contents of magazines change.