DEAR ABBY: My sister, "Heidi," and I are very close. We share a room and confide in each other about everything, with the understanding that nothing will be revealed to our parents or anyone else -- no matter what.
Heidi recently told me that her boyfriend, "Chad," is putting heavy pressure on her to have sex. She's only 16, which is way too young. She says he has promised to use protection so she won't get pregnant.
Abby, my sister really doesn't want to have sex with Chad, but she doesn't want to lose him either. She doesn't think she's very attractive. She has a hard time meeting boys, and Chad is her first real boyfriend.
I don't want to break her confidence, and I know that our parents would go crazy and forbid her from seeing him anymore if they knew. How can I convince Heidi that it's not worth it, and if it means losing this guy, she's better off? -- PROTECTIVE SISTER IN INDIANAPOLIS
DEAR PROTECTIVE SISTER: Remind Heidi that even though Chad has promised to use protection to prevent a pregnancy, sometimes it can fail. Further, having sex with someone because she's afraid that if she doesn't she'll lose him is doing it for the wrong reason. If the guy is just after sex, he'll be after the next girl who presents a challenge.
Remind Heidi that giving her virginity is something she can do only once -- and that is the reason it should be with someone very special, preferably the man she would like to spend the rest of her life with. And even then, it should be because she's really ready and not because it was something she was pressured into.