DEAR ABBY: I just found out my 18-year-old daughter, "Lorraine," and I have drastically different views regarding sex.
Since her 18th birthday, Lorraine has had sex with three different men. She will meet them, spend a day with them, and have sex as part of the date. Lorraine feels that sex is "no big deal," but I am heartsick. She is putting her health in danger -- and I don't think what she's doing is emotionally healthy, either. Lorraine says I wouldn't feel this way if she were my son, but she's wrong.
Don't young people today care about their physical and emotional health? How can I make her understand that it is important to have an emotional attachment with someone before having sex? -- WORRIED MOM IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WORRIED MOM: Since your daughter appears to be tuning out your important message, I recommend that you both attend some sex education sessions so she can hear with a fresh ear what the concerns really are. Planned Parenthood, which is in your phone book, would be an excellent reference.
While you're at it, contact the American Social Health Association (ASHA) and ask for some of their comprehensive materials on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which are rampant in our population. That way, even if your daughter is not willing to take your concerns to heart, she will at least know how to protect herself.
Call: National Herpes Hotline: (919) 361-8488; National HPV Hotline: (919) 361-4848; and the CDC's National STD and AIDS Hotline: (800) 227-8922. The Web address is www.ashastd.org. They also host a special Web site for teens: www.iwannaknow.org.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend I'll call "Don." He's in his mid-20s and comes from a good family. When we go out to eat, Don displays proper etiquette and table manners, with one exception: He holds his fork in his fist like a young child and shovels food into his mouth.
Friends have noticed this and commented to me about it. When I mentioned it to Don, it hurt his feelings. Is there a gentle way I can help my friend? -- DON'S DINNER PAL IN ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.
DEAR DINNER PAL: You have already helped your friend by telling him what people are saying. Now it's time for HIM to change his eating habit -- or not.
DEAR ABBY: Last Sunday in church, while my husband, "Johnny," and I were on our knees praying, the preacher's wife, "Selma," who was sitting behind us, leaned forward and began giving Johnny a back rub. It really upset me. We've been going to this church for only a few weeks, and I felt it didn't look right.
Johnny says Selma was just being nice. I feel that out of respect for me, he should have told her to go rub her husband's back instead of his. It made me mad that Johnny was standing up for her. I think this is how adultery starts. Am I wrong? -- LOSING MY FAITH IN CENTRAL INDIANA
DEAR LOSING MY FAITH: Not necessarily. However, it's clear that Selma rubbed someone -- you -- the wrong way.
Next Sunday, make a point of sitting behind Selma. If she reaches for Johnny again, hit her with chapter and verse. "Thou shalt not covet ..."
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.)
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