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by Abigail Van Buren

Teens Who Said No to Sex Grow Up With No Regrets

DEAR READERS: Last week I devoted two days to the wonderful responses I received from readers telling me how they just said "no" to sex. Today I'm devoting my column to more of the responses readers sent regarding this important question:

DEAR ABBY: How should teen-age girls say "no" to sex? My answer: BE HONEST.

After seeing many of my friends regret losing their virginity, I decided I wasn't going to make the same mistake. When I began dating Scott, I told him I wasn't ready to have sex, and if that's what he was looking for, he should go elsewhere.

Well, he stayed. And now, two years later -- we're engaged to be married! I'm living proof that honesty is the best policy. -- BETH PAILTHORPE, MARIETTA, GA.

DEAR ABBY: I thought you might enjoy my daughter Aimee's way of saying "no." It was printed in the December 1994 issue of Reader's Digest.

While attending a small, conservative college, my daughter worked as a veterinarian's assistant. When she transferred to Texas A&M University in College Station, I began worrying about how she would deal with the raging hormones of the young men on campus.

"No problem, Mom," she said. "I always introduce my dates to my cat, Ralph. Then I mention that I neutered him myself."

Her father's comment about our daughter's method was, "She probably doesn't have many second dates." -- LINDA BARNETT, IRVING, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: I joined the Air Force when I was 19, so I got a lot of practice saying "no." Most of the guys I dated said they didn't believe the rumors that I didn't put out, and I knew that some of them dated me just to prove to themselves that they could score.

Once the conversation got around to sex, I was pretty straightforward and said I didn't believe in premarital sex. Sometimes the guys would get angry, but they never pushed me. A couple of guys called me a tease, but in the military any girl who doesn't put out is either a "tease" or a "lesbian." That gets the male ego off the hook for his failure to conquer.

My most successful phrase was used when the kissing got out of hand. I would say, "I have stop signs, not yield signs." And I followed it with, "When I say an area of my anatomy is off limits, I mean don't go there!" It usually got a laugh and eased what could have become a tense situation.

A couple of years ago I ran into one of my old boyfriends, and as we were catching up he asked if I had given in before marriage. He then told me that he'd thought about me often throughout the years, as he compared others' morals to mine. Then he said he really respected me and wished more girls were like that.

I know you'll get thousands of responses, but if you print mine, please sign me ... NO REGRETS

DEAR ABBY: My standard reply to a boy who wanted sex was, "Do you want to be a father?" That usually stopped him cold. Then I would say, "I don't want to be a mother, either." And that was usually the end of it.

Once in a while I'd run into someone who carried a condom in his wallet, then I just had to give a firm "NO."

I have passed on this strategy to several girls over the years, and they've always thanked me for the tip. I hope this helps your readers. -- JANIS C. MINER, PITTSFORD, N.Y.

DEAR READERS: I'll devote my Wednesday, Sept. 18, column to more responses from readers. Stay tuned.

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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