DEAR ABBY: I am a teen-age girl, and I'd like to offer some advice to other teens before they decide to have sex. Besides the possibility of getting pregnant or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), here are three reasons to remain a virgin:
1. When you get married, you want to be faithful to your spouse, right? Well, if you have sex now, you are already cheating on your future spouse.
2. Even though there are different kinds of contraceptives to choose from, none of them can protect your emotions. When you have sex, you become emotionally entangled with the other person. That's why it hurts so much if you break up. Sex should be part of a lifelong commitment.
3. Sex doesn't mean love. If your date doesn't respect your wishes not to have sex, he or she doesn't love you.
Abby, please print this. I'm so sick of my friends and classmates getting hurt by having sex. -- EAST COAST TEEN-AGER
DEAR EAST COAST TEEN-AGER: You have listed some convincing reasons for putting off having sex until marriage. I have heard from many teens over the years who said they wished they had waited. My reply to them is that just because a person has had sex doesn't mean she (or he) must continue to do so if it feels like it's doing something wrong. This is a debate that has gone on during the entire lifetime of this column. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I recently found a clipping from one of your old columns. I think it is worth repeating:
"When I saw him, I liked him.
"When I liked him, I loved him.
"When I loved him, I let him.
"When I let him, I lost him."
Some may consider me old-fashioned, but I wish one of my granddaughters had followed this advice before it was too late. -- GRANDMA IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR GRANDMA: That little jingle is certainly worth reprinting. Regardless of how old it is, it contains some hard truth. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I'm a guy, 18, and I have something to say to girls who sleep around. They may think they are "hot stuff," but they should hear what is said about them in the locker room. These poor girls think it is flattering to be sought out -- that it is a compliment to have sex. Not so! It is cheap and degrading to be used. I wouldn't want my two sisters talked about like that.
Abby, I think there should be classes to teach girls not to throw themselves away like this. -- A DECENT GUY IN DETROIT
DEAR DECENT: If only solving the problem were that simple! Judging from the mail I receive from mothers of teen-age boys, the pressure to have sex isn't a one-way street with the girls being "victimized" anymore. These days, girls pressure guys to have sex, too. A step in the right direction is for parents of teens of both sexes to let them know they don't have to perform in order to conform.
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DEAR ABBY: I have been married twice and have children from both marriages. I am now divorced again and have legally changed back to my maiden name.
How should my teen-age children's friends address me? Since I am not a "Mrs.," I would almost prefer to have them call me by my first name rather than pretending I am "Mrs. Adams." -- SINGLE MOM IN CINCINNATI
DEAR SINGLE MOM: I see no reason why you shouldn't give your children's friends permission to call you by your first name since you're comfortable with it. They will think it is "cool," and probably find communicating with you more comfortable because your first name is more personal.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600