When we think “safe sex,” we think of condoms, the Pill and other forms of birth control. A recent study shows that we may have to add one more thing to the list: our parents.
Earlier this week, ABC’s Good Morning America featured parents who allow their teens to have sex at home as a way to ensure their safety. Some even consider it their responsibility, such as Patty Skudlarek, who says she would rather have her 18-year-old son have sex at home than somewhere else.
With the kids having sex at home, it’s a safer environment, because, you kow, it’s clean…and usually the place they keep the condoms are in their bedroom,” Skudlarek says. “So then they’re close by. And it’s just…an environment they’re familiar with, as opposed to a motel, a car or a park, or wherever they’re doing it these days.”
Ritchie Steinman, who is the father of two teenagers, and who does not allow sex under his roof, says he would be concerned of having his children branded as “sluts” at school. He also challenged Skudlarek’s definition of responsible parenting.
“I draw the assimilation between sex in the home and drinking,” he explains. “You don’t drink in my home. You know, you don’t bring home a girl or a boy, you know, and close the door and run around in my home. You know, it’s the decency and sanctity of what we call home.”
Child psychiatrist Ned Hallowell says that though the mentality held by parents like Skudlarek may seem shocking at first, it “makes a lot of sense.”
“They’re going to be having sex somewhere but why not at home,” he asks. “Chances are the sexual experience will be safer and will not be done in secrecy and guilt.”
Most teens, however, said that they would be uncomfortable having sex knowing their parents were in the next room.
“I feel like sex should just be kind of a thing that just happens. Not like, ‘Oh, if you do it you have to [have sex] there or there,” 15-year-old Robert Jutkiewicz says. “If the parent’s up there and, like, you’re just going to be thinking about it the whole time.”
Tatiana Flowers, 19, agrees that have sex with the family at home would be “awkward.” 17-year-old Kelly Lund has a different concern.
“If your boyfriend knows or whoever knows that there is a perfectly open available hous I think that takes away one of your big excuses,” Lund says of having a ready-made excuse to refuse unwanted attempts at sex.
Join the discussion: does it make sense for parents to allow sex at home, or is doing so simply inappropriate?