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Sexually active -- but under whose roof?

By January 12, 2009 - 11:11am
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My niece, who is in college, is 20 and is almost 21. She has a longtime boyfriend and they are sexually active.

Here's my question: Why am I uncomfortable when they stay together in our home? I love her, I like him. They are each smart and kind. They also do laundry together, do homework together, watch football together and hang out with family together. And they stay over at each other's place quite often.

I do not think they are too young or irresponsible to have sex (she is absolutely more mature than I was at her age). She often spent the night with us before she had regular boyfriends, so having her over is nothing new. But having him stay with her certainly is!

I'm so happy we have the kind of relationship where she feels free to be herself. And I respect the honesty she displays with him and with us.

Am I overreacting? Am I just slow to realize that she's all grown up now?

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EmpowHER Guest

im 18, my boyfriend is 23. we have been dating for a year now, and have been sexually active for a little bit more. the first night me and him stayed at my parents house (which is also my own) he was made to stay on the sofa. after that, my family realised we were serious and we stay together at mine and his. we are going on holiday together soon, and me and him will be staying in our own room. the point is, that we dont have sex every night, and rarely at my parents house. if we were staying over at my aunts, we certainly would not. just because two people share a bed together, it doesnt mean they are going to have sex.

( i know its a very late reply but i just had to say it =D )

January 30, 2009 - 1:30pm

I have 2 sons, 1 daughter. My oldest (just turned 30) didn't bring his girlfriend home until after they had been together several months and moved into the same apartment. By then, it was understood by the family that they were a couple and rather serious. One of these days, they'll even get married (they don't seem to be in any hurry, but it will happen). I was a bit uneasy the first time they stayed at my house (their apartment was being re-painted) in his old room. He did ask my permission.

I trust my sons to make good decisions, and to not get into frivolous relationships. So far, they have made good decisions and both have terrific girlfriends I love having here.

As for my daughter...!!! Isn't it funny how more protective we are of our daughters! She has not dared to bring anyone over, let alone overnight. She keeps telling me she's not in a serious relationship, and I have to trust her. It will happen, someday.

I think that, while we try to teach our kids to live a morally upright life, once they leave the nest, they're on their own. We can only expect that they respect the rules of the house and your thoughts and feelings. And they shouldn't be afraid to approach you about bringing their special person home.

JMHO as a mom of adult children

January 12, 2009 - 5:41pm
HERWriter Guide

I just have to say that it's good to know none of my kids will have sex until their wedding night - when they are over the age of 30!

Ah, sweet (DENIAL) bliss!

January 12, 2009 - 12:39pm
(reply to Susan Cody)


January 12, 2009 - 12:49pm

Well, in that case, with no young kids present, I personally wouldn't feel uncomfortable with the situation. I'm guessing that maybe, as you suggested, you are having somewhat of a difficult time accepting that she's all grown up and in a sexually active relationship. I know -- I've been there with my "baby" cousin who is 13 years younger than me. She'll always be that adorable baby girl I used to babysit and have watched grow up into an extraordinary young woman. She's 30 now and just got married. Back when she was in college, I had her over to visit and she brought her boyfriend at the time and they stayed in our guest room. It definitely was an adjustment for me, but at the same time I was so happy for her because she was very much in love and very mature in her choices.

January 12, 2009 - 12:12pm
HERWriter Guide

In my extended family, the rule is that unmarried partners have to sleep in separate rooms. Even when I was engaged to my husband and was about to get married to him at the age of 32, we had to sleep in separate quarters when visiting relatives.

My take on it? I was fine; I was staying under their roof and felt like I should abide by their rules and respect their beliefs even though I did not share them. As I am entitled to live my life my way, so are they and staying with them meant I had to adhere (temporarily) to their way of living.

Now that I have very young kids of my own, I'm not sure how I will feel if the situation arises for me. I am more easy going about that kind of thing but yet very conservative when it (or anything else) might affect my children.

Anne, in your situation, you call the shots. This is your home and if you are uncomfortable and would prefer them in separate rooms, you really do have the right to ask for that. If it makes them upset, then they could always stay at a hotel nearby. Don't feel weird that it makes you feel weird! So they are nice together - great - but they are young! There may be many boyfriends until she finds the right one - will you feel ok with this when boyfriends number 2, 3 and 4 stay over, over the years?

Set the tone now, before you find that your silence has, in fact, spoken for you.

Good luck and this is a reminder that this is something I will also have to deal with!

January 12, 2009 - 12:10pm

No, we don't have kids. I agree, that would make the situation completely different. In fact, even if we had a weekend where other children were staying over -- a holiday weekend, for instance, where there were younger siblings -- I'd feel absolutely right in asking them to sleep apart.

When they're here, it's just my husband and me (well, and our dogs and cats, lol. The four-legged family members don't seem to mind the situation. They are of the more-the-merrier philosophy!)

January 12, 2009 - 11:51am

I'm just curious to know if you have kids. That would make a difference to me.

About three years ago, my dad came to town to visit, which was extremely rare -- like had never happened before. At the time, my kids were 4, 9 and 10. He brought his girlfriend at the time and they stayed in my guest room. I was really uncomfortable with the fact that 1) he was separated, but still legally married, to my mom, and 2) his girlfriend was also separated from her husband. I totally did not let my kids know these facts, and yet I felt it was a poor example he was setting as their grandfather. I know this obviously isn't the situation at all in your niece's case, but if you have kids, the whole sex before marriage issue might come up.

January 12, 2009 - 11:28am
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