DEAR ABBY: As the mother of a teen-age girl who has chosen to have sex, I urge other parents to look at the reasons their teen is going outside the family for affection and attention. Perhaps instead of feeling devastated by the fact that their daughter is no longer a virgin, parents should explore the other things going on in her life.
The girl should be made aware that because she has said "yes" once doesn't mean she has to say it again and again. There is a growing movement for "secondary virgins."
I urge parents to have meaningful discussions with their SONS about their responsibility in the matter. Teen-age girls should not have to accept the entire responsibility. Not only are 13- and 14-year-old girls having sex, 13- and 14-year-old BOYS are also having sex. They, too, need information and responsible advice. -- DISAPPOINTED BUT SEEKING HELP
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Your daughter did not become sexually active because she was looking for the kind of affection and attention she could receive from her family. The reasons that teen-age girls start having sex can range from wanting to be popular, to thinking it will "hold" a boyfriend, to loneliness or curiosity.
However, I wholeheartedly agree that because a teen-ager has sex once does not mean that she (or he) must do it again.
DEAR ABBY: I know you have been asked this question hundreds of times, but I need some answers.
I am a 29-year-old woman. I am constantly told that I am good-looking, and I wish I had a dollar for every man who has asked, "How come a pretty girl like you isn't married?"
I am friendly and have no hang-ups that I'm aware of, but I just can't seem to meet the right man. I refuse to go out with married men (some have asked). I would like to date more, but I have no idea how to find single, decent men. Any suggestions? -- CLEMENTINE (NOT MY REAL NAME)
DEAR CLEMENTINE: Your question is one I receive frequently. (Too bad I'm not running a dating service; there are just as many men asking where they can find a decent woman.)
One of the first booklets I published is titled, "How to Be Popular: You're Never Too Young or Too Old." The message is as applicable today as it was 20 years ago. In a nutshell: Decent people are found where decent people gather.
Get out of the house and become involved. Enroll in an adult education class, learn to paint or sew, or take a class in auto mechanics or computer training.
Volunteer your services. There are plenty of underprivileged, disabled, elderly and teen-agers who could use a friend. Get involved with your political party, your church or a professional organization.
Take dancing lessons -- square dancing, line dancing, ballroom or salsa. Take up fishing or hiking, or join a gym or health club.
Do some entertaining and ask your friends to bring a friend. Let your friends and co-workers know you're available. If you have children, join Parents Without Partners.
P.S. You may not meet someone eligible right away, but you will make new friends -- and they may have a friend who's perfect for you.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600