Photo: ThinkstockLet's face it, parents: Teenagers are becoming sexually active at a younger and younger age, even if we'd rather they waited. Studies have shown that abstinence-only education doesn't stop kids from having sex, and teenagers who take "virginity pledges" are as likely to have premarital sex-and far less likely to protect themselves against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases-as those who don't promise to save themselves until marriage.
But is allowing your teen to do the deed in your family's home really the best way to promote safe sex?
"I'd rather he do it here than somewhere else," Patty Skudlarek told Elizabeth Hasselbeck on "Good Morning America" (Skudlarek's son is 18). "With the kids having sex at home, it's a safer environment, because, you know, it's clean, and usually the place they keep the condoms are in their bedroom." And, yes, she said, his girlfriend's parents know that she's OK with it.
Chloe Foreht said that letting her 17-year-old daughter have sex with her longtime boyfriend in the family home was like giving her daughter a safety net-someone to turn to if anything goes wrong. Knowing where her teenager is, and with whom, makes the whole situation seem safer.
"I was OK with her having sex in my home because of the relationship she was in, because of the teenager that she is," Foreht said. "Her boyfriend would sleep over probably once a week. And I was comfortable with that."Not all of the parents interviewed were on board with the idea, though, and, interestingly enough, neither were the teens Hasselbeck talked to.
"If your boyfriend knows or whoever knows that there is a perfectly open, available house I think that takes away one of your big excuses," Kelly Lund, 17, explained.
"Yeah, how do you say no?" added Grace McVey, also 17.
"I think that parents do need to create boundaries in the home and say things like, 'I don't think you're ready to be doing this'," Carolyn Meyer-Wartels, who has two teens, told Hasselbeck. And just because you know where your kids are doesn't mean they're taking proper precautions. One famous example: Levi Johnston said he and Bristol Palin shared a bed when he stayed at the Palins' house, and that her mom, former Alaska governor and staunch abstinence-only advocate Sarah Palin probably knew that he and Bristol were having sex. The teenagers practiced safe sex "most of the time," he told Tyra Banks when he appeared on her show in 2009. Their son, Tripp, was born in December 2008.We were all teenagers once, so 'fess up: Did you ever sneak a sweetheart in for a sleepover at your parents' house? Would you allow your teenager to do so now?
Also on Shine:
- Is Bristol Palin glamorizing teen pregnancy with her fancy fashion photo shoots?
- 11 surprising truths about teens and sex
- Sexual violence on college campuses: Vice President Biden weighs in
- Candies' contradictory ad campaign: How does abstinence fit in with these images?
- Are teens really holding off on having sex?
- 9 reasons to have safe sex