Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


When and how do you decide it’s ok for an opposite sex to sleep with your adolescent / young adult at your house?
November 8, 2012 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Unsure When and how do you decide it’s ok for an opposite sex to sleep with your adolescent / young adult at your house?

My daughter will be 18 in 3 months. She has been in a long distance relationship with a newly-turned 18 year old since April, 2012. They game and text and message and skype. Our computers are next to each other and I hear her and him talking. I hear the tenor of their voices and get a good idea of their mood and the mood of their conversation. He visited last month and was here for 5 days. I met his family, brother, sisters and mother. He stayed here and I took her to spend the night with grandmother and other family. I know they had sex—could tell from their physical intimacy and comfort and she later confirmed it. They spent the last night together in her room because there were recurrent tornado sightings 45 minutes away where she was supposed to stay.
She was in a previous relationship, brief and intense. Her internal dam broke and she told me that she was a transgirl. She has been taking hormones and anti-androgens and living as a girl for the past year. Her current boyfriend knows and is ok and the visit and physical intimacy went very well. My daughter is doing very well in her first semester in college, both socially and academically. She’s in therapy and is doing well.
They want to visit again. It was a very large strain on our family and extended family friends for her to stay with them while her boyfriend visited. The first/last visit, we decided that it would be better for boyfriend to stay at one house—ours—while my daughter stayed with other friends/family.
Now, it’s time for another visit. Why shouldn’t they sleep together? It was a very large strain for all of us to have her sleep over with others and it seemed like a pointless charade. We can’t afford a hotel room for a week. Is there anything besides American puritan fearful of sex reasons that they should not sleep in her bed for the visit?

thanks for your advice and perspectives
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (53 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why is having them sleep in separate rooms not an option? I have never heard of making people stay in separate houses! That seems extreme.
posted by valeries at 8:04 AM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


You are talking about two college-age adults. I would not describe them as "adolescents"—one definition for adolescence explicitly ends at the age of majority. They're going to be having sex whether they do it at your place or not. There's no reason not to let them sleep in the same house, the same room, or the same bed, assuming you're comfortable with it.
posted by grouse at 8:08 AM on November 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


Does it make you uncomfortable for them to share a bed in your house? If so, why?
Does it make her uncomfortable to share a bed with him?
Does it make him uncomfortable to share a bed with her?

If all three parties are OK with it, I cannot see why there would be a problem. That is, if you think their relationship is healthy (IMO 7 months is a pretty long relationship at their age) and you think your daughter is safe and comfortable, why shouldn't they?

On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable or either of them does, that's something you should probably have a conversation about. But I agree that at 18, your opposition will probably have very little effect on their behavior.

Also, I don't understand what your daughter's gender identity has to do with this particular question. If her boyfriend is aware and accepting, and they are happily sexually active already, it's a non-issue.
posted by epanalepsis at 8:12 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was 15, in high school, and was dating someone who lived several states away, my parents had my boyfriend sleep in a pull-out couch in the living room, while I stayed in my room.

When I was 17, in high school, and was dating someone who lived about 40 minutes away, his parents let me stay in their guest bedroom, while he stayed in his room.

When I was 18-22, in college, my parents basically figured I was doing whatever I was going to do anyway and let my boyfriend stay in my room/bed with me.

It's just a matter of what you feel comfortable with and what's age appropriate. She's 17, but in college. The fact that they have already had sex does not mean the floodgates are open and they can do whatever whenever. It's still your house and your rules.


Also! Maybe have a conversation about birth control just to be safe.
posted by Flamingo at 8:14 AM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well I'm of the opinion that both parties should be emotionally old enough to sleep together if they're dating. If they're not, then this is how they learn and grow up.

Without knowing why it was a strain (just puritanism?) I would say get over it, but I wouldn't want to hear them if they're loud in bed, either. But speaking from experience growing up, I was much closer to the families/parents of the girls I dated who were welcoming and trusting enough of me to let me sleep over on our terms.
posted by hylaride at 8:16 AM on November 8, 2012


Is there anything besides American puritan fearful of sex reasons that they should not sleep in her bed for the visit?

No, not really.

Particularly if you don't have a guest room or some other convenient accommodation for a guest, then I think you should just let them work out the sleeping situation.

If your sense of propriety really requires you to not acknowledge the fact that they're sleeping together, you could always offer an air mattress or something and then pretend not to notice that it doesn't get used. (That was a popular choice among some of my college-age girlfriends' parents.) With the modern air mattresses / aerobeds it wouldn't even seem quite so ridiculous. But you shouldn't pretend it's anything but a fig leaf for your benefit.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:17 AM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


You don't really need a reason to say, "I am uncomfortable with you sleeping in the same bed in my house." Don't feel like you need to be "cool" - the only time I would say otherwise is if you are setting different standards for different kids under your roof, but as long as you are consistent - feel free to keep them apart for your own peace of mind, even if you realize that it is an irrational impulse.

They can have sex without your explicit consent. It's part of being a teen/young adult in your parent's home.
posted by cessair at 8:18 AM on November 8, 2012


There are as many answers as there are families. I started dating my now-husband when I was 18 and a freshman in college. When I visited him, his parents let me stay in his room. When he visited me, my parents offered to let him sleep on our couch (we didn't have a spare room) but he couldn't stay in my room. He got a hotel room and I slept there with him, which probably wasn't what my parents intended.

If the house is big enough, most parents seem to let boyfriends/girlfriends stay in a separate room in the same house.

Is there anything besides American puritan fearful of sex reasons that they should not sleep in her bed for the visit?

Well, I think there's some argument that since this is a long-distance relationship, the 'natural course' of a relationship is somewhat disturbed, and meeting in person can give a hastened sense of intimacy that 'should' be slowed down for the good of the relationship, or something. My opinion is that a 17 year old is going to get their heart broken a couple times in their life whether or not they're sexually active or in an LDR. I think it's good that you are this involved in your daughter's life, rather than turning a blind eye - if letting them stay together keeps the channels of communication open between you and your daughter, that seems like a small price to pay.
posted by muddgirl at 8:18 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


whatever you're comfortable with is fine, since it's your house. When I was in a relationship at 18, my parents allowed sleepovers and his didn't. Both were fine, and I'm grateful that my parents treated me as an adult (but understand that his parents weren't comfortable with it).

If you're not comfortable with them in the same room, the best solution is probably a guest room or sleeping on the couch. If you're fine with it but just asking about whether there's any unexpected negative consequences of them sleeping in the same room (they'll have sex regardless, somewhere), my opinion is that there aren't, and there are probably a few positive consequences (like being in a safe environment, keeping communication open, knowing that you trust her, etc).

And mad props for being a supportive parent for a kid who probably needs it a little more than most.
posted by randomnity at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2012


When I was this age and I had a boyfriend who lived far away, I'd stay at his house and he at mine. I slept on the couch at his house and he slept on the couch at mine. I think this made our respective parents feel better, but we still got it on after the parents went to bed. If they want to get it on, they'll get it on no matter the sleeping arrangements.
posted by macadamiaranch at 8:23 AM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is there a reason why you mention that your daughter is transitioning? Does she need birth control other than condoms/dams? It sounds like this situation is quite strange for you over all, but I assure you, she seems perfectly happy and health. 7 months is a long relationship and the fact that she's in therapy and is likely already talking to people about sexual health, etc, is great.

Of course, if you feel uncomfortable with it, that's another story, but I know when I was an adult (college-aged, working a full-time job, being responsible) my parents would still not let my boyfriend and I be in the same room alone together... I felt a lot of shame for just wanting to function as a healthy, happy couple. Please think about whether you want your daughter to feel any more shame about her situation right now. I'm guessing you don't. Sometimes you have surrender to feeling uncomfortable in order to prevent someone else from feeling even worse.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:24 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is really up to you. The way my family always managed this was like smoking - my parents knew I did it, but we both kept up a friendly facade about it - they never asked me and I never smoked in front of them.

In the same way, when my girlfriend spent the night during the holidays, she slept in the same room as my sister, and I slept alone. Everyone knew she was going to be sneaking into my room, but we kept up the facade out of respect. Everyone wins. I get to sleep with my girlfriend, my parents get to not condone premarital sex.

YMMV, of course. If you're fine with them spending the night together, you're fine with it. The fact that you're asking makes me think you feel like you SHOULD be fine with it, but you're not. Could be projecting, though.
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:25 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also want to note you seem to be handling this complicated situation very maturely and well. Kudos.
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:26 AM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't favorite muddgirl's answer enough. I'm the parent of a 17-year-old girl, and I was 17-year-old girl, and, yeah, keeping the lines of communication open is (IMO) the single most important thing a parent can do with a a teenager/young adult.

And it sounds like this is already happening if your daughter has been able to share her gender identity process with you. So kudos. I bet whatever decision you make will be made with love and respect, and I'm sure your daughter will see this (if not now, then someday.)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:27 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


One way to look at this is if you have creaky floorboards? Because all the to-ing and fro-ing between bedrooms in the middle of the night as meet up might get boring. As will having to pretend they aren't having sex, or trying to have sex under your roof.

Ultimately, it's up to you. It's your house. A good argument for allowing them to sleep together is that you can acknowledge it, talk about it openly with them and keep banging the safe sex drum.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:29 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


My super-super-super conservative mom and stepdad still let my brother's now-wife stay in another bedroom at their house on a regular basis for several years before they got married. Everybody knew, I'm sure, that more was happening, but more was going to happen one way or another. So if you're not comfortable with them sharing a bed, I don't think it'd be too terribly weird to just come up with other sleep arrangements in the same house, especially if they seem reasonably happy together.

If you are pretty comfortable with it, I'd recommend having that arrangement made anyway. Even at 17/18, they're still teenagers, and this isn't so established that there isn't some risk that at some point, things could sour. *If* that happens, you don't necessarily want to have someone have to make a fuss in order to have a separate place to sleep. If you set up the boyfriend on the sofa, that doesn't have to mean you do anything but whistle and look the other way if they're both coming out of your daughter's room in the morning. I was granted a little older at the time, but I had a couple awkward nights at a parents' house once where we were not on very good terms and yet I felt stuck because I didn't want to be the one who went to his parents to say, "Um, can I have a blanket so I can sleep on the couch tonight?"

But yeah, even short of that, if my parents can have both kids under one roof without blowing a gasket, I think trying to arrange for more separation than that is just way overkill. I can see how this feels unfamiliar to you because of the gender stuff, but relax, it sounds like you're doing fine.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:32 AM on November 8, 2012


Legal adults sleep with whom they please. Imo this is past the time of your control, into advice-only age.
posted by ead at 8:33 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there anything besides American puritan fearful of sex reasons that they should not sleep in her bed for the visit?

Good news, they've already had sex, so you don't have deal with this issue!

They're made their own decisions, so there's no reason for you to get involved. In fact, if you could make a point of telling them that you and anyone else in the house will be out of the house for a couple of hours, so they know they have some privacy, that would be even better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 AM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I get the sense you don't care. In which case, no, if you feel like you're looking out for your daughter's well-being and there's no issue then there's no issue.

Set the rules that make you comfortable and which seen to mesh with your desire to protect your offspring. If that means they share a bed then fine. If it means they sleep separately till they are married or cohabitation or engaged, also fine.

It's your house, you set the rules. My wife and I never shared a bed at my now-in laws place till we were engaged and living together despite being in our 30s and together for years. We shared one in my parent's house from the start. That's just respecting your host.

The other part is respecting someone's hosting decisions. You make the cal you feel good about, it Joe Average American.
posted by phearlez at 8:37 AM on November 8, 2012


There is a lot of "they are adults" stuff here, which is true.

But you may not want friends fucking in your guest bed when they sleep over. Adult friends understand these things and would not be having sex in your guest bed.

Teenagers in my direct and second hand experience have a hard time avoiding having sex even when other people are in the same room. Assuming it's dark-ish in that room.

If you don't want them to have sex in that bed, in your house, you shouldn't let them sleep in it.
posted by French Fry at 8:37 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adults have sex. Your daughter is an adult. You can't stop her and you shouldn't really want to, once she's in college she's old enough to make her own decisions. It's also So. Awesome. that she has good support during the transitioning process, which can be painfully lonely for a lot of people.

If you just don't want to hear it/think about it, tell her that you want things to be reasonably quiet at night.
posted by zug at 8:37 AM on November 8, 2012


When I was 23, I moved back to my home province and brought my boyfriend (22) with me. We stayed with my folks for a couple of weeks while we apartment hunted. My mom refused to let us sleep in the same room/bed at their house, even though we were already living together before this. Her reason? "You're not married. My house, my rules." I thought this was totally ridiculous (and so did my dad) but we went along with it out of respect for my mother and her comfort levels in her own home. When I was 17, I wasn't even allowed to have my boyfriend in my room with the door closed.

Your house, your decision.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:38 AM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


My parents (I believe still) have a "no sex in our house" rule, that rule was in place to make it clear what they meant. Not "no boys with the door closed" or "no sleepovers". It was very straight forward.

If my wife and I were to stay there I would assume that we would not be having sex.
posted by French Fry at 8:47 AM on November 8, 2012


Adult friends understand these things and would not be having sex in your guest bed.

wait, what?? Perhaps there are some cultural differences here, because everyone I know would have exactly the opposite assumption....

Agree with this, though. >If you don't want them to have sex in that bed, in your house, you shouldn't let them sleep in it.
posted by randomnity at 8:47 AM on November 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sure, they are adults, but they don't have a house yet, so it's your call. "Them's the breaks" as my parents would say.
posted by murfed13 at 8:50 AM on November 8, 2012


I agree with MuffinMan. If you separate them, they will almost certainly just sneak into each others beds. "Your house, your rules", yes, but that's out the window when you are dealing with sexually active teenagers.

Honestly, you sound like a pretty great parent. Go with your intuition, and take both your house rules and your daughter's feelings into consideration, and you will be fine. If you decide they shouldn't sleep together and they abide by that, they'll get over it. If you decide it's okay with you that they sleep together, then at least you know they are doing so in the safety and comfort of your home.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:54 AM on November 8, 2012


If you don't want them to have sex in that bed, in your house, you shouldn't let them sleep in it.

This seems to involve the assumption that whether or not they're allowed to sleep together in the same bed will in any way control whether or not they have sex there. I politely question this assumption's validity.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:55 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems bizarre that you would allow her boyfriend to stay at your house but shuttle her off to stay with family/friends for the duration of his stay. Why would he not have stayed with friends/family or arranged his own accommodation if you didn't want them to stay in the same house (I assume there is no spare room available)? The only reason they shouldn't stay in the same house/room is so they don't have sex, which didn't work last time so it probably wont work this time. If you don't want them having sex in your house you could ask them nicely to respect your wishes. If you don't care whether or not they're having sex then there is no reason why they can't share a bed in your house.
posted by missmagenta at 8:56 AM on November 8, 2012


Adult friends understand these things and would not be having sex in your guest bed.

Then I am a terrible "adult friend".

When I was in high school, even aged 18, my parents watched me and my HS girlfriend like hawks. Same when we got back together for the summer between freshman and sophomore years. When I brought a college girlfriend home over Thanksgiving of junior year, we stayed in my room with nary a mention of alternate arrangements.
posted by supercres at 8:56 AM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Adult friends understand these things and would not be having sex in your guest bed.

This is a completely false, in my experience. If I were on "vacation" and staying in a friends' place, I would most definitely be copulating on said vacation, and I would certainly assume the same in return. Breaking news: sex is totally a normal healthy thing for adults of all ages to do. What century is this again? Oh right, the 21st.

Bottom line: they are having sex. Do you want them to be in a safe, respectful, welcoming place? No one needs to be ashamed of having sex, and it seems like you agree with this!
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


OP, the first/last visit sounds incredibly convoluted. If you aren't really bothered by them sleeping together, don't make a sham of "decency" for some abstract cultural reason. They're adults, and I can tell you from experience that being treated as such by one's partner's parents feels very accepting and respectful. On the other hand, if you wouldn't bunk your adult brother (say) with his boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, you're under no obligation to do so now.

...she told me that she was a transgirl. She has been taking hormones and anti-androgens and living as a girl for the past year.

Folks, this is not the description of someone who requires birth control advice regarding her cis-male (I believe; my apologies if I misread) boyfriend.
posted by teremala at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Bottom line: they are having sex. Do you want them to be in a safe, respectful, welcoming place?

This. If this were my kid, I'd prefer for them to be in my house than elsewhere. My general sense is that dating is trickier for trans women, they're more prone to being victims of domestic violence and other unpleasant things, and I'd rather have more contact with their significant other rather than less.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:15 AM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's your family, do what you think is right. I don't think there is a better standard than following your own ethical/moral code and asking your kid to respect your house. If you don't have a problem with the sex, if you do, whatever. Express it to your kid, set a rule, feel good about your decision.


When I was in college and had boyfriends come to my hometown we always slept in separate rooms and chilled it on the physical front out of respect for my mom's house and conservative rules.

My younger brother simultaneously was allowed to have girlfriends sleep over in the same room with him.

This was to satisfy my mother's worries of "what people might think" and the double standard was never explained clearly.

However, in my father's house the rule was "no PDA/don't let us hear it/I know you guys live together, and don't catch anything or get knocked up"...but I was still pretty squeamish about having sex in the same house as my father so I rarely took advantage, just enjoying the sleeping in the same bed part.
posted by nile_red at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2012


Yeah, why not?

Both are 18 at the age of consent.

Just tell them to keep it down.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:24 AM on November 8, 2012


Her daughter isn't yet 18.

One more thing to think about: it sounds like your daughter does not live at college. Will she be home for the next 4 years? Are once a month 5 day visits going to get old quickly? I would just think about the future and set whatever boundaries you need to set now.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if this is a hassle for you, you aren't required to accommodate your daughter's ldr. (It sounds like they met online? Sometimes these things just don't work out because of logistics. It's not your job to play hostess if it's a burden.).

Feel free to ignore if hosting the boyfriend is no big deal.
posted by murfed13 at 9:33 AM on November 8, 2012


For the record I would not have any problem with people having sex in my guest bed as alluded to above.

Nor would I have problem with my daughter having sex with her partner in my house.

But as my feelings are not those of the OP...

My point is that IF you have a problem with people having sex in your house and you expressed this problem or it was a clear cultural expectation.... Adult friends would respect this and be able to act according to your wishes.

Teenagers in my opinion/experience would not be able to respect that rule or expectation once they are in bed together.
posted by French Fry at 9:36 AM on November 8, 2012


Are you basically okay with it and mainly just a little concerned that other people would think its not okay?

If so, it sounds like it's okay. People start finger-waggling about the parenting habits of others sometime during, oh, pregnancy, and don't really let up. If it were my daughter, I would base it on how healthy and respectful their relationship seemed overall and it kind of sounds to me like you're doing that.

So as long as you're comfortable with it, it's fine.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2012


The only thing that matters here is whether you personally are okay with your daughter and her partner sharing a bed while staying in your house. You obviously don't have control over what they do when they stay elsewhere as that's really their decision or the decision of whoever is hosting them. If you are personally of the opinion that the positives outweigh whatever negatives there might be, ignore anyone who gives you guff. It's none of their business anyway.

If your daughter is transitioning, have you checked with her to see whether or not she and her partner have had discussions about sexual history and safe sex? That would be a good way to show your support. Even if she can't get pregnant, safe sex is still a good thing to practice and there are resources out there to help support her emotionally and physically as she transitions into her ideal self.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2012


I'm the OP, Thanks very much for your insight. I started this anon because I have been told by people close to me that they should not sleep together or have sex. The first visit, his family did not want them sleeping together and he was still 18.

I'm happy for them and happy that they are comfortable with each other. I keep the book "Getting it on" in the bathroom and believe that creating an environment where she can grow into a full sexual life.

Husband and family don't like us "condoning them having sex" by letting them sleep together. That's why I wanted to get your opinions. I know they'll have sex anywhere they can if they can't have sex in our house. I don't see anything wrong with them having sex. Like muddgirl said, they're both adult and/or on the cusp of adulthood and her family needs to transition into understanding that we need to both expect adult behavior and to allow it.

Complicating factor: her 17 year old brother was not allowed to have a off/on relationship stay with him. He's my stepchild--father and mother made that decision. As they get older, they change, and sometimes different situations result in them not treated the same.

I brought up the trans issue because I do feel that it's even more important to keep the lines of communication open. And because she is going through her 2nd puberty speeded up, changing from the age of 12, 17, 14, etc.

thank you guys very much.
posted by aliksd at 9:55 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why shouldn’t they sleep together?
For sleeping arrangements? Since you seem comfortable with it the only reason I can think of is if your daughter wants to maintain a boundary on her own space.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 10:07 AM on November 8, 2012


Husband and family don't like us "condoning them having sex" by letting them sleep together. That's why I wanted to get your opinions.

You left out a pretty crucial detail here. Many people, including myself, assumed that you were personally comfortable with this, but we didn't realize that the co-head of the household would not be. If your husband isn't comfortable with the arrangement, then maybe you should find a different one.
posted by grouse at 10:11 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


aliksd, I think you're a great, supportive parent and deserve kudos. I think particularly in light of trans issues for your daughter, it's good to create a safe, accepting space around her sexuality. It just feels riskier to me to, say, force them out of necessity to go fuck in their car--as teenagers are known to do when their parents don't let their SOs stay the night. Who knows what might happen if they get caught? She's not a guest in your home--this is her home, too--and a place where she and her lovers should be welcome and accepted.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:12 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The other crucial detail is that the boyfriend's parents aren't on board. There's no requirement that your house rules must be identical, but you should at least be up front with them as a parent if you decide you don't care if they share a room at your house.
posted by murfed13 at 10:17 AM on November 8, 2012


grouse, my husband's belief is very important. We are discussing this. When I told him that I didn't feel that it was necessary to keep up the charade of them spending the day together but not sleeping together, he agreed. We still have several discussions ahead of us.

Murfed13, we would absolutely tell the boyfriend's parents if we decide it's ok for them to spend the night together. We're still trying to work out what we think is best.


We'll also discuss the sleeping on a couch or air mattress as well. Thanks again everyone.
posted by aliksd at 10:28 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


aliksd, I think you sound like a wonderful, supportive parent and that your daughter is lucky to have you in her life.

Of course, I may be biased, because you sound like my twin here! ;) We have an 18 year-old son attending college who comes home frequently for weekends, and we've dealt with the sleepover situation, too!

I knew they were sleeping together (I have talked to my boys about safe sex and birth control and their sexuality since they were young, and though I would never pry, it came up in a, "Oh, I'm in her dorm room now, we just woke up," kind of aside). My husband knew they were sleeping together. So why not let them sleep in the same bed in our home? This was not, by the way, what my OR my husband's parents did with us. Did that keep us from having sex? No. It was just that we had to be circumspect about it, and there was all this shame stuff that really didn't need to be there, you know?

My husband, who was raised in a Catholic household, pretty much realized that he felt they "shouldn't" because our parents made it clear sex was something you did After You Got Married. This is why, although his brother and future SIL lived together before they got married, they never told my spouse's parents about it (!).

So we talked about it, like you and your husband did.

Our first concern was for our younger son and his privacy, and we sorted all that out. My oldest's GF is a lovely girl who is not about to go traipsing through the house half-naked in any case, and my youngest son (who is a senior in high school) was fine with the two of them sleeping together in the oldest's room. Everyone knew that this was not something that we accepted when our son was underage and still living in our home, so our youngest does not now expect to have sleepovers with his GF, either.

It's worked out well for us, the lines of dialogue are open, and our children are in healthy, happy relationships. If that changes, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

What's really nice is my oldest son has made a point of thanking us for recognizing he was an adult and treating him like one, and told us he appreciates us more since he's been away at college. "Some parents are pretty messed up and I'm glad you guys were always cool," is the way he put it. So, yeah. Tearing up now thinking about that.

I think you and your husband sound cool, too, aliksd. Do whatever works for you in your household and don't sweat it.
posted by misha at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The other crucial detail is that the boyfriend's parents aren't on board. There's no requirement that your house rules must be identical, but you should at least be up front with them as a parent if you decide you don't care if they share a room at your house.

The boyfriend is 18; his parents don't get a say.
posted by spaltavian at 11:41 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, until I read the part about her being a transgirl my answer was going to be never. We have to teach our daughters how to respect their bodies and part of that is to make it where sex is a decision, not an easy option. But the trans thing changes things. It would have to be lonely and difficult to change genders. She has found someone who accepts her that you approve of. I would check with the therapist but really, if it doesn't make any other member of your household (or you) uncomfortable then why not?
posted by myselfasme at 12:46 PM on November 8, 2012


Oh! I just realized she's underaged (thanks murfed13): frankly that makes me feel way more protective (as in, inclined to give them a safe space) because he could get in serious legal trouble depending on your jurisdiction. But that's just me, and it is just a feeling. In any case, whatever you all decide is "right" in the abstract, you should definitely take any laws that apply into account, and make sure your daughter and her boyfriend understand any legal risks. Also, I agree that the rules for your stepson complicate this greatly. Could the visit just be a birthday present? (I know, I know, three months is forever.)
posted by teremala at 2:25 PM on November 8, 2012


The boyfriend is 18; his parents don't get a say.

That does not mean you shouldn't be polite and up-front with them about your own position. Nothing wrong with saying "that's a conversation you should have with your son." But if OP has enough contact/conversation with them to be aware of their position then the proper thing is not to commit a sin of omission by letting them think you're going along with their positions or efforts. Even if it's not a matter of courtesy it's the smart way to conduct yourself with people you might end up bound to for the remainder of your life.
posted by phearlez at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would talk to your daughter (without the boyfriend around and way before he comes) to discuss that you are potentially OK with them sharing a room, but want to make sure she's feels comfortable sharing her room for the entirety of the visit. I think it's important to make sure they have separate spaces, should they want it at any point during the visit or just need a little downtime from the intimacy. Suddenly co-habitating, if only for a few days, might be a little stressful for any 17-18 year old person even if they don't want to admit to their parents or each other. If I were the parent, I would make up the couch or the air mattress and just tell her or both of them he can use it if he wants.
posted by dahliachewswell at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That does not mean you shouldn't be polite and up-front with them about your own position.

Of course it does; this has nothing to do with them. What you're suggesting would be highly impolite to him. It's his decision to involve his parents or not; pretty sure you wouldn't like it if someone else started running your dating life by your parents.
posted by spaltavian at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2012


Anon I recently asked nearly the same question & got some good advice.
posted by headnsouth at 6:45 PM on November 8, 2012


According to Miss Manners, "The Victorian solution, employed with great success at English house parties, was to put illicit couples in separate rooms but to ignore nocturnal traffic in the hallway."

You might find this article interesting, about the differences in how American parents and Dutch parents deal with teen sex: The Sleepover Question
posted by Lexica at 7:09 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


« Older I'm looking for a healthy, fil...   |  Looking for a dentist in South... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.