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by Abigail Van Buren

Saying No to Sex Is Good for Guys as Well as Girls

DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your letters on how to say no to sex, and have been cutting them out to share in a few years with my daughter. You printed some great one-liners and comebacks to use as needed. However, they were primarily addressed to women.

Also urgently needed by young men and teen-age boys is an arsenal of comebacks to counter the usual locker room banter of, "Did you score last night?" or, "You mean you've never gone to bed with a girl?"

Peer pressure for young males today is greater than ever. Please ask your readers to provide my son with some verbal ammunition to approach and finesse this pressure with a sense of humor -- and his dignity intact. -- MOTHER OF A PRE-ADOLESCENT

DEAR MOTHER: Tell your son that because a classmate claims to have sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean he has. It is not unusual for a boast to be untrue.

One way to handle the question, "Did you score last night?" might be to respond, "I didn't score last night because I didn't 'play' last night. But if I had -- I wouldn't talk about it!"

You are not the only reader who voiced concern about sexual pressure on teen-age males. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I appreciated the letters you printed from people about how to say no to sex. I work with a teen pregnancy prevention program as a certified Family Life Educator and I often assign your column to the group for discussion and ideas. Teens appreciate your "real" approaches to their issues.

Please ask for letters from guys on how to say "no." Guys are the other half of the problem when it comes to unwanted teen pregnancy, and they need support and role models in order to behave responsibly. There are advantages for both sexes in having the courage and confidence to behave responsibly when it comes to sex.

Think of the positive feedback that might be generated from a column with the head, "How Macho Guys Say 'No' to Sex." -- BETTE SCHLOESSER, R.N., B.S.N., MARSHFIELD, WIS.

DEAR MS. SCHLOESSER AND ALL OF THE READERS WHO WROTE TO ECHO SIMILAR SENTIMENTS: I would be pleased to hear what young men have to say on this important subject.

DEAR ABBY: I am disturbed that the responses to your "just say no to sex" column were exclusively from women. To me, this one-sided representation only serves to reinforce the double standard.

When are young men going to take responsibility for their own sexual behavior? Why are young women still burdened with the sole responsibility of decision-making when it comes to sex? And finally, why are we not hearing from teen-age males who are virgins?

Abby, young men need to be taught to respect women regardless of their virginal status. Young people in general need to hear that there is only one "first time." When young people feel self-worth and self-respect, they in turn respect and value others, which helps them make responsible choices.

If you have not already asked young men to share their views, I suggest you do. -- KATHY KIRK-MALTERS, M.S.W., BRAINERD, MINN.

DEAR MS. KIRK-MALTERS: The original question posed to my readers was "how do you just say no?"

I asked both sexes to respond, commenting that people of all ages (and both sexes) also struggle with this dilemma. The responses came almost exclusively from women and girls, offering advice only for girls.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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