We did get worried about the frequency of the sex, and we implemented a doors-open policy when they are over at our house, as well as not letting him come over when we aren’t home. We are not stupid enough to think that this will stop them, but we hope we can at least reduce the frequency. But now we suspect that the behavior has moved to the backseat of cars.
So the question is, should we lighten up on the door policy and allow them privacy? Do we let Jill have him over when we aren’t home? We know that her boyfriend is pretty sex-crazy (what teenage boy isn’t?), and would probably be having sex four or five times in a few hours if we left them home alone. Also, their having sex while we are there is just awkward.
How do you know where to draw the line? Is there a balance? When we were teenagers, we had to sneak around, but is it right to make them?
Oh, and to make things worse, she has a 13-year-old sister who also has a boyfriend who comes over. So there is an example being made here. The 13-year old knows everything.
Even though you aren’t a parent, you do seem to have a pretty wise head on your shoulders, so we are interested in your input. Besides, your readers do seemed to be an experienced lot. — Parenting the Teens is Complicated
Well, I am a parent; I just happen to be a parent of a preschool-aged boy (and soon a newborn girl) and not of two teenage daughters, which I realize is a completely different ballgame (and one that kind of terrifies me). And now you’ve given me something to think about for the future. But since my future is your present, let’s try to hammer this out now.
First, what’s the reasoning behind reducing the frequency of Jill’s sex? If you and your girlfriend already know she’s having it and she’s on birth control, what is the motivation for reducing the frequency and making it more challenging for her and her boyfriend to find a place to do it? Are you trying to reduce the chances of pregnancy? Is it just a matter of the parental figures (and I realize you aren’t quite a step-parent, but for convenience let’s just call you a parental figure since you do all live together) feeling awkward about their teenage daughter having sex in their home? Do you want to limit what the younger sister sees and is exposed to? These are all valid concerns, and I think that, if you can choose and articulate your own personal reasons and then communicate those to Jill, it would go a long way in fostering and continuing an open, healthy dialogue between the teens and the adults in the home.
But if your motivation for the open-door policy and banning the boyfriend from your home when you aren’t there is simply to make it more challenging for them to find a place to have sex, what do you hope to accomplish by doing that? Surely, you don’t think the challenge will temper the excitement, do you? I’d think, if anything, having to “sneak around,” as you did as a teenager, would make the prospect of having sex even that much more seductive and alluring. I can see, especially for a “sex-crazy teenage boy (and I think teenage girls can get pretty “sex-crazy,” too), searching for opportunities to get it on can become a bit of a preoccupation, maybe even to the detriment of other important factors in their lives (school, family time, friendships, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities). And for what? It’s not as if you’re trying to preserve anyone’s virginity here.
I don’t know, if it were I, I think I’d underscore with my teenage daughter the importance of respect. I’d tell her to have respect for us, her parents, as well as any siblings in the house, and refrain from having sex under our roof when any of us is home, because: awkward. I’d tell her to have respect for herself and her body and to never ever do anything she isn’t ready or comfortable doing, even if she’s done it in the past. I’d tell her that that includes choosing places to be intimate and that there can be serious repercussions from having private, personal moments in public places or in homes where such activity has been discouraged or banned. I’d tell her that anyone who ever pressures her to do anything she didn’t want to do, anywhere she didn’t want to do it, is not someone worthy of her time and affection and that she should MOA immediately. And at home, I’d set a curfew for when romantic partners would need to be gone for the evening, and I’d reiterate that, while guests were allowed over when we were out, the curfew still applied.
Basically, instead of trying to reduce sex frequency or making it challenging to find places to have sex, I would try to make it as easy and empowering as possible to make smart decisions (within some boundaries) — decisions that may not protect anyone’s virginity necessarily, but would go a long way in protecting a teenager’s emotional and physical and social well-being, as well as fostering healthy, honest communication between me and my teenager so that she would feel comfortable coming to me, instead of hiding from me, if she ever needed advice or just needed to talk.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.