Monday, July 25, 2011

Should teens have sex at home?

Stephen Kruiser at PJ Lifestyle linked to an article over at the NY Times entitled "The Sleepover Question." The article was written by Amy Schalet who is a professor and author of a forthcoming book Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex. Schalet seems to think that Americans could improve their family life if they let kids have sex at their home:
Would Americans increase peace in family life and strengthen family bonds if they adopted more accepting attitudes about sex and what’s allowable under the family roof? I’ve interviewed 130 people, all white, middle class and not particularly religious, as part of a study of teenage sex and family life here and in the Netherlands. My look into cultural differences suggests family life might be much improved, for all, if Americans had more open ideas about teenage sex. The question of who sleeps where when a teenager brings a boyfriend or girlfriend home for the night fits within the larger world of culturally divergent ideas about teenage sex, lust and capacity for love.

What's your take?


Blogger Misanthrope said...

As usual, the "research" is predicated on a belief that people are unable to practice self-restraint.

6:23 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking said...

And I suppose there would be much more peace between police and criminals if police would just provide some banks without security guards that could be robbed in safety.

There's a major difference between intellectually accepting that something is going to happen sometimes, and making that thing easy and normal. Of course we're never going to stop all teenagers from having sex. That doesn't mean we can't stop a large portion of them from doing so.

6:40 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...


7:35 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

The Netherlands is certainly not my model of what a society (including family life within that society) should look like.

8:23 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

My creator said it would be best and most pleasing to Him if I only had sex with the woman I am married to. This turned out to be a difficult request to follow, and I didn't. With a few more years maturity, I see His point and do better now. So setting my kid up for that kind of disobedience does not strike me as prudent or for the best.

But that is just my family.


8:31 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger LissaKay said...

Absolutely what Trey said (except for me, instead of woman it would be man). Not all of our children were obedient either, and have weathered the fall-out from that. It really cannot go ignored that pre- and extra-marital relationships can and often do have lasting consequences.

Note also that in the Christian faith, it is a sin to condone the sinful behaviors of others. (Romans 1:32)

Allowing, condoning or encouraging one's children to have sex at a young age, outside the bonds of marriage is just wrong.

9:28 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Jane the Actuary said...

This sort of attitude only works if you're OK with abortion as birth control -- not as a primary birth control, but as back-up birth control -- because no parent would accept a situation in which their child has, say, a certain chance, no matter how small, of getting pregnant over the next year, unless they were OK with abortion as a back-up.

Alternatively, I suppose, this could reflect people being stupid and thinking that contraception (pill, condoms, etc.) guarantees protection from pregnancy rather than understanding the concept of failure rates. Come to think of it, considering the number of times people comment on other people's unplanned pregnancies with statements like "obviously they didn't use protection," maybe there are more people in the latter category than I think.

9:34 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Betsy, the abortion rates in some communities make me think it is being used as primary birth control at least there. But I take your point.


9:38 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

As I would have told my daughter - no.

Plainly put: she's my responsibility, I set the rules. If she doesn't like them, she practices restraint until she's old enough to live on her own. Once she lives on her own, I don't get to carp on things that work for her.

9:49 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Why risk your childrens future by letting them sleep with someone they have no intention of marrying?

10:40 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Bill said...

Well, no. How could I deny my theoretical children the adventure of sneaking around behind my back, thinking they are fooling me, and making love in bizarre places in a desperate attempt to find privacy?

10:54 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

My oldest daughter's first long term boyfriend was a total asshole. I could not forbid her from seeing him and I was civil to him, but I could not endorse their relationship. Had my wife and I allowed her to have sex in our house, we would have been endorsing that relationship.

(Good news is that my daughter finally came to her senses and is now married to a wonderful man and they have a darling daughter.)

11:46 AM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

Maybe parents could consider reviving the practice of bundling.

12:13 PM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Sean D Sorrentino said...

Um, NO.

"Hey Mr. Horny Teen, why don't you go up to my daughter's room and try to bounce her head off the headboard. Double points if you get her to moan loud enough to make me turn up the volume on the TV!"


2:53 PM, July 25, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every house could have a smush room that could be converted into a nursery in a year or two!

7:11 PM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Gospace said...

Absolutely not!

8:54 PM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Firehand said...

Hell, no. If the kid's still living at home, you WANT to make it uncomfortable enough that they'll want to get their ass out and into their own place.

That's besides the "Oh, you're heading for my daughter's room? At ten PM? Let me introduce you to Mr. Benelli, who says no."

9:19 PM, July 25, 2011  
Blogger Scott H said...

Even if you think that this is a good thing, I suspect that it would be viewed as contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

2:06 AM, July 26, 2011  
Blogger redrajesh said...

Looks like america has a lot of free time. In most places in Asia, teens are not even allowed to mix with the opposite sex outside class and are supposed to play only with their sex. Even in class, they are seated separately and boys only study and play with boys and the same for girls. If a boy and a girl were together, it would be scandalous and parents of both sides would be making them face consequences. And with a workday during high school which starts at 8 am and goes on till 8 pm with homework and extra studies to be done which will go on till 11 pm, nobody has time for all this crap.

5:34 AM, July 26, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And since we know that teens are SOOO expert at contraceptive use, who's going to take care of the flood of unwanted babies and / or young psyches tortured by abortion?

10:59 AM, July 26, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

OK, Doc. Joke's over.

3:54 PM, July 26, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

Over my dead body.

12:24 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger tomcal said...

They're gonna do it anyway. In our family, at least, allowing them to do it at home (no easy decision, by the way) has made it a lot easier to have frank discussions about contraception, STD's, etc. But we might be a little weird...

2:46 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger tomcal said...

To be clear though, it didn't happen until they started bringing their respective boyfriends and girlfriends home during college vacations. And they've each only had one, at least as far as we know ;)

2:56 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger tomcal said...

@bill: That's what I said to my wife when the issue first came up!

3:05 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Lyssa said...

I was in high school in the 90's, and knew a number of kids who had parents who were permissive about sex. It never seemed like a good idea- the kids were still just as disrespectful of their parents, and still sought to push limits, they just pushed the ones further out. The kids still made bad sexual decisions, generally worse than the ones who thought long and hard before putting out, IMO.

In other words, it's a terrible idea. Don't try to be your kids' friend.

3:46 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

Just like the idea of giving out condoms at school: We know you're going to act like animals, so we won't suggest restraint or, God forbid (heh!), any kind of morality.

4:32 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Leland said...

I'm fairly certain my daughters don't want my wife and me to be more open about our sex life at home or elsewhere. It goes both ways.

I hope one day they'll enjoy sex. I prefer they wait until the right time with the right person. I can't say I did. But I don't encourage them to have sex. Rather I encourage them to make good choices, and even better choices than I made. Whatever the case, I really don't want to share the details.

4:26 PM, July 30, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little while ago Helen drew our attention to Erica Jong's piece in the NYT, "Is sex Passe", where Erica worried that her generation had failed to "corrupt our daughters", who were now obsessed with monogamy and motherhood.

I could not have been more astonished. Had Erica not had a glance a youth culture lately? Set foot on a college campus in the last 30 years?

Because her seminal work on how to sleep around, Fear of flying, is required reading for us. A feminist classic. Erica's one of the Founding Mothers of the hookup culture, which has of course spread to high schools.

The "zipless f*ck" has gone mainstream. As one of Jong's young friends reports, "for cosmopolitan singles, sex with intimacy appears to be neither the norm nor the objective."

All that remains is for hung-up prudish parents stuck in the 50s to realize it.

For a more complete analysis, I blogged it. You too can be a cool parent like Erica Jong:

1:19 PM, July 31, 2011  

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