Dear Dr. Wallace:

I want to help my best friend, but I don’t know what to do. My friend and I are both 16 and have been friends for more than five years. We tell each other all of our deep, dark secrets. In the past six months, she has had four boyfriends and has had sex with all of them. This is surprising because she was a virgin until she dated boyfriend No. 1. I asked her why she was so promiscuous, and she said she didn’t know but that she was not proud of her record. Why is she so sexually active and what can I do to help her change her ways?

— Helpful Friend,

Gary, Indiana

Helpful Friend: Those who are sexually active with a number of different partners almost always have extremely low self-esteem. These teens are trying to gain acceptance or become popular by giving of themselves freely and often.

Talk honestly with her in a non-judgmental way and try to uncover the reason she may have low self-esteem. Then, together, work on improving how she feels about herself. Make sure she knows that you care about her very much and that she can go to you anytime she needs advice, or even a few words of encouragement.

Dear Dr. Wallace: My older sister is very athletic. She is into yoga and aerobic exercises.

I’m not overweight, and I play junior varsity basketball at my high school, so I’m in pretty good physical shape. My sister can touch the palms of her hands on the floor without bending her knees. Since I can’t even touch my fingers to the floor without bending my knees, my sister insists that I’ve got a back problem and should contact a chiropractor.

I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and they can’t touch their palms to the floor either. Do we all have a problem? Or is my big sister just a very uniquely limber young lady?

— Younger Sister, via email

Dear Younger Sis: Your sister is indeed a very limber young lady, and your friends and you are the majority. After considering your question, I conducted an unscientific survey of my family’s teens and their various local friends. Of the 12 teens I tested, only one could touch her palms to the floor without bending her knees. The other 11 were not really close to matching the most limber one.

Oh, yes, two more people took my “test”: I couldn’t touch the floor with my palms, and neither could my wife. We are quite far from being teens, and our palms were also far from the floor!

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