Teen Sex Under a Parent’s Roof: OK, or Not?

“I’m a great believer in the Edwardian house-party approach,” said Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners. “Back then, people would have large parties and invite the lovers of their guests. They’d put these guests in separate bedrooms. And then stay out of the hallway. Parents should put the boyfriend or girlfriend into the guest room. And then go into their own room.”

That’s a great takeaway from an article titled “Sex in a Teenager’s Room” in the New York Times (Aug. 2013). Parents can, and should, make rules for behavior in their homes but those rules should be balanced with a dose of reality. It pays to acknowledge that while 60% of teens decide not to have sex before high school graduation, 40% are sexually active. It’s not going out on a limb to assume that they’re having sex in somebody’s home.

The issue is whether parents will set boundaries to ensure that the privacy of all members of the household are respected. Parents don’t want kids walking in on their lovemaking, and they would cringe to walk in on their teens having sex.  If you have a co-parent in the home, discuss the rules you’d like to establish. Together, share them with your teens and ask for feedback. Be willing to offer some room for compromise. And while you’re talking about where sex may be permitted, be sure to talk about how sexual decisions should be made to ensure each partner’s health, consent, and happiness. The considering keeping a big box of condoms in the linen closet…

Read the full article.   You may also be interested in how the Dutch address this issue successfully and calmly.