My son was 20 when he came out. His brother was 18. I didn’t have a problem with my younger son having a girl sleep over. My feeling was he was going to have sex one way or another and I’d rather he be safe at home. I know not all parents feel that way, but it was how I felt.

When my son came out, however, I was not comfortable with him sleeping with a boy in my house. Looking back on it, it seems strange I would have a different “rule” for my gay son than my straight son. I understand that I was just not completely comfortable with his being gay yet.

What do I do about sleepoversI remember having this discussion at a PFLAG meeting back in those early days. One parent said she would not allow her son to bring his girlfriend home from college and sleep in the same room, but it didn’t bother her that her daughter slept in the same room as her girlfriend. I remember thinking that she didn’t perceive of what her daughter and her girlfriend did as “sex.”

That was 30 years ago and while many parents take the same liberal attitude as I did, there are still many who do not. I hear the question often of a parent whose child just came out, “What do I do about sleepovers?”

Not an easy question to answer. Just because a gay child has a same sex friend sleep over, doesn’t mean they are lovers or will be. They could be just friends. Is it strange to no longer allow your child’s friend to sleep over after many years of allowing it? When a child comes out as gay, sometimes we parents start to treat them differently around these issues.

I don’t have any answers for anyone. I do have some questions! What are you trying to protect your child from? Is it a valid concern? Are you having open communication with your child? Do you trust them?

My personal belief is that you can’t stop your kid, gay or straight, from having sex. If they want to, they will find a way. You can stop them from having sex under your roof and that is your right as a parent. What I think is important is to talk to your child and keep the dialog going. They will understand you and your feelings better and you will understand theirs.

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