DEAR ABBY: I am 15 and dating a guy I'll call Ted. Ted has had sex, but I have not. He says he'll wait until I'm ready. Well, I'm ready! It's just that I promised my mother I would wait, and she knows everything I do. I can't keep this from her, but I'm afraid to tell her. What should I do? -- AFRAID TO TELL MOTHER
DEAR AFRAID: Continue to abstain. If you think you are mature enough to have sex, you should be adult enough to talk to your mother about it. You should also become fully informed about STDs. Call the Centers for Disease Control's National STD toll-free hotline, (800) 227-8922, or visit the American Social Health Association's special Web site for teens at www.iwannaknow.org.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in my booklet "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
The most difficult word to say in the English language is also one of the shortest. It's "no." Yet the inability to say that one simple word can complicate your life in ways you can't imagine, particularly when it comes to sex. So, I repeat -- talk to your mother.