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Dear Abby: Guilt-ridden on first time in back seat

Dear Abby: I’m a 17-year-old girl. Last weekend, I lost my virginity in the back seat of a stranger’s car. I feel guilty about it, and I haven’t told anyone. I’m not sure whether he has.

I need some advice on whether I should be making a big deal out of it, or just ignore it and move on.

–Anxious in Ohio

Dear Anxious: Please don’t ignore it. You treated your first time as if it were something casual, and that is sad. It is a “big deal,” not only because of what it indicates about your level of self-esteem, but also because you don’t know whether you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Did the boy use a condom?

Mature girls know to protect themselves when engaging in sexual activity. It is important that you be checked by a gynecologist for STDs and learn about effective birth control. If you don’t have a doctor to confide in, Planned Parenthood can help.

Gay but thinking of a female

Dear Abby: I find myself in an interesting situation that I never thought could happen. I’m a 43-year-old gay male who had an extremely difficult time coming out when I was 19. My parents weren’t initially supportive, but things did get better down the line.

I have had zero luck at any long-term gay relationships, but as I get older, my sex drive has diminished, and I think I’d be happy with a female companion – if sex wasn’t a factor. What should I do?

– Interesting Condition in Texas

Dear Condition: Gay men marrying straight women is not an unheard-of phenomenon, and neither are marriages in which sex is not a part of the picture. It could work out well if you find someone with common interests and a high level of compatibility – as long as the lady clearly understands that you are gay and doesn’t harbor the fantasy that she can “change” you.

Inadequate to offer advice

Dear Abby: My friends often come to me for advice. It could be anything – relationship, family, self-harm or bullying. It’s usually something I don’t know how to deal with and don’t have experience with. I try to say words of encouragement such as “It’ll be OK. Ignore it. Think on the bright side. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

I know these are things they have heard before and will probably ignore, but I don’t know what else to say or do.

– D. in Kansas

Dear D.: It’s all right to be encouraging, but when someone asks for advice that you know you’re not qualified to give, you should be upfront, admit it and suggest that the person talk with an adult. This is particularly important when there are problems such as self-harm or bullying, which may need an intervention.