DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a 20-year-old virgin. I’m not ashamed of it, and it’s not because of religious values -- I just have not found the right person I want to share the experience with. My friends tease me about it and tell me to just do it already, but I just don’t want to. I tell my friends that I’m waiting around until I find the right guy I want to do it with, but how will I know he is the right guy? Do you think I am doing the right thing, or should I follow what my friends are saying and just “do it already"? -- Debating Celibacy, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR DEBATING CELIBACY: It is refreshing to know that there still are young women out there who are remaining celibate for sound reasons. I celebrate you for holding out until you meet the one. I believe that sexual intimacy should be reserved for a loving, committed relationship. It is such an intimate act that it should be considered sacred -- or at least special.
I know that plenty of people do not agree with me, but I am glad that you do. Since your friends are mocking you and urging you to follow in their footsteps, the best thing you can do is to stop answering their questions. You should not succumb to their prompting. Take your time and trust that you will meet the right guy at some point in the future.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m 22 years old and have been dating my boyfriend for over three years. We met in college, and he is the love of my life. Our relationship is very serious, and I know that he is the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. We have been talking about moving in together in the upcoming months. The problem is, my family is very conservative and does not condone moving in with a significant other before marriage. I know that I am going to marry him, so this shouldn’t be a problem, but in my family, it is. Do you think it’s wrong of me to move in with him before getting married? -- Confused and in Love, Dallas
DEAR CONFUSED AND IN LOVE: I grew up in a household like yours. My father forbade me to live with a man before marriage. I almost made it to that point. We moved in together a short time before marriage. My father was angry, too. He got over it -- eventually. One reason that parents shun living together is because it is not considered a full commitment, and it is not a sanctified one.
That said, what do you and your boyfriend think? Have you talked about marriage? Have you expressly made that commitment to each other for the future? While you may not fully follow your parents’ rules, you should get to a point of clarity with your boyfriend about your intentions before you decide to move in together.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)