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Um, I'd make them hang out the living room or another 'public' area.

Dear Care and Feeding,

I’m looking for a quick reality check in case I am off-base with my instinctual parenting rules regarding teen dating. My son (15) has had a girlfriend (also 15) for about six months. They had been best friends, and she had thought she was gay until romantic feelings developed last winter. A couple of weeks ago, my son shared with me that his girlfriend’s mother had insisted she get an IUD “just in case,” as there had been a history of teen pregnancy in the family. This prompted what I think was a good talk about not rushing things, IUDs not protecting against STDs, being considerate of his girlfriend’s timeline, etc. My husband and I are sex-positive folks.

All that said, 15 is still young, and I told him that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with them being sexually active at this point (he said they weren’t yet, but who knows?). So when he is in the house with his girlfriend, and they go into the finished basement alone to talk and watch a movie, I have asked that he keep the stair door open. When he closes it, I open it. He confronted me, and I told him that having the door open was a house rule. He is now crazy angry with me and appalled that I don’t trust him and that having the door open invades their privacy. Am I being outrageous? Or is keeping the door open a reasonable ask?

—Sex Positive With Reservations

Re: Um, I'd make them hang out the living room or another 'public' area.

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    Door closed when I was in the basement with my boyfriend and no one else meant ONE THING. 

    That's a defensive measure if ever there was one and maybe they're not having sex but your son probably doesn't want you to hear the sound he makes when he's getting a beej and instead opted for the standard teenage answer of 'privacy invasion' when the reality is that if he gets alone time he should be grateful.

    I think you need to be clearer with him but also....kids are going to find a way and I don't have the right answer.  I do think that common spaces should be considered open territory and parents are well within the rights to not only say how things go in their home but also that a common area is open for all. 

    In addition, the LW should have the talk about BC failing.  IUDs can feel like the failsafe mechanism (aside from the STD risk) but in the very small local board I'm on of women my age at least one had to rush to the doc to have the IUD removed because she got pregnant and was going to continue the pregnancy.  

    One last detail: LW may also want to look into the age of consent for her state.  Because some states have the age of consent at higher than 15 there's also a concern about known sexual activity/ pregnancy and how that can legally affect him.  


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    I feel like there’s a wide range of sec positive folks on Instagram and some would say making him shut the door or telling him you’d prefer they not have sex yet isn’t actually all that sex positive. I’m not quite that extreme but you don’t need to be comfortable with whether or not they re having sex (you might never be) and that’s a little unreasonable for you to put your own comfort on him. Also- what are you comfortable with him doing? Making out? Touching? Oral? Like how okay with having that conversation are you? If it seems weird that’s because it is. You can, and should, give him all the information about having safe, respectful sex (emotionally and physically) but it’s on him to decide, and her to decide, what they are comfortable with- not you. 

    That said- have you talked to him about *why* you want the door open? Have you explained that sex is something people share in private and not when other family members are around. Have you listened to what he says about why he wants the door closed? 

    You can have house rules and expect to enforce them but if they’re having sex they’re finding ways to have it whether you’re cool with it or not. Yes he lives in your house and needs to follow rules- I’d just think about what you’re trying to accomplish with those rules. 
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    I'm just stuck on the fact that LW says they had this calm, rational discussion with their son about it all, including that he's supposed to leave the door open if he's in the basement and then he violated the rules and flipped out about it.  I'm not saying that teens are logical and/or can agree to something in theory and then backtrack in practice, but LW needs to stop centering this around whether or not their son may have sex with his GF and treat this like it's a curfew or some other boundary they have with their kid.  It's your house, you're not being 'outrageous' by telling your kid that they can like it or lump it when it comes to rules. 
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    mrsconn23 said:
    I'm just stuck on the fact that LW says they had this calm, rational discussion with their son about it all, including that he's supposed to leave the door open if he's in the basement and then he violated the rules and flipped out about it.  I'm not saying that teens are logical and/or can agree to something in theory and then backtrack in practice, but LW needs to stop centering this around whether or not their son may have sex with his GF and treat this like it's a curfew or some other boundary they have with their kid.  It's your house, you're not being 'outrageous' by telling your kid that they can like it or lump it when it comes to rules. 
    Because....mom was the c*ck block.   And blue balls make a boy angry.  

    Mom is MORE than OK to say that it's her house and her rules much the same way that curfews don' get extended when the party is just getting started when kiddo agreed to it earlier.  

    Calm rational discussions happen with your mom when your sex hormones aren't surging. 
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