Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Daughter's Casual View of Virginity Shocks Parent

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was afraid to engage in any type of sexual intimacy when I was a teenager. My parents would have killed me. We were taught that we were supposed to wait until marriage. While I didn’t last that long, I was in college before I did anything serious, and I regret it. The circumstances around losing my virginity really weren’t good enough for me to give it up.

My daughter, who is in the ninth grade, recently told me that many of her friends are already sexually active. She hasn’t done anything yet, she says, and I believe her. But she added that she feels confident that she will have sex before she finishes high school. What can I say to her to get her to slow down? -- Drawing the Line

DEAR DRAWING THE LINE: It is true that for many of us, fear and shame were used by our parents and communities to attempt to keep us, with our raging teenage hormones, from engaging in sexual activity. This tactic is not as welcome these days, nor do I think it is helpful.

Your job, in my view, is to instill values in your daughter that will help to guide her steps. Rather than spouting judgment, fill her mind and heart with your beliefs on the sanctity of one’s temple and how important it is for her to treat it, her body, with respect. Suggest that she should not give herself to anyone sexually before the person deserves to cross that boundary. Tell her that a sexual partner should be someone she loves and respects and who loves and respects her. It should be someone with whom she shares values and interests. She should avoid intimacy with casual partners. Point out, too, that high school students rarely have figured out anything about their lives, including their understanding of intimacy. Waiting is worth it.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an office phone and a cellphone that I use increasingly for business. I have had my office number for years, but I realize that almost all of the calls that I receive are robocalls or other solicitations.

I don’t want to keep my landline. It is expensive and I hardly ever use it, but I worry that I might lose clients. What do you think I should do? -- Lose the Landline

DEAR LOSE THE LANDLINE: The trend these days is for people to use their cellphones for everything. It is true that you could lose some clients and potential connections if you shut down the number that you have had for so long. If you are connected via social media, though, you have a chance to build a profile that can potentially reach more broadly than your landline ever did. You can also list yourself in industry directories and add your email address and cellphone number. Reach out to your contacts and let them know your go-to number now. If you do an active outreach campaign, you can inform most of your contacts and reduce your overall monthly outlay of cash.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)