Even When You Try, Keeping Teenagers from Having Sex in Your Home Can be Complicated


Should you allow your teenager to have sex in your house? This was a question posed by Clutch and like many, if not most, parents, my initial answer was a loud and resounding, “Aw, hell nah!” It’s about respect, about honoring the rules and the sanctity of the home, and, especially if you have younger, impressionable siblings lurking in the house, it’s about setting the right example.

But having actually brought a male child through those rough teen years, I know that the actual answer, like most things, is a bit more complicated. As anybody out there who has ever been in the presence of a teen knows all too well, teenagers are some sneaky little so-and-sos. You try to the best of your ability to set boundaries, to lay down rules, to monitor their behavior, but the average teenager envisions your rules as the obstacles set down by the enemy. That means the rules actually establish exactly the things the teenager wants to do as much as possible. If my parent says this behavior is bad, then that’s precisely what I want to do with my evening. If my parent says this behavior is okay, then it must not be bad enough.

The matter gets extremely complicated with sex. If you know your teenager is sexually active, aren’t you being hypocritical by telling them they can do it elsewhere, as long as it’s not in your house? And are you establishing the no-sex-in-the-house rule just to make you feel a little better about your parenting skills—even though you know the child might be screwing his/her brains out in the car, in the park, under the bleachers, in the backyard, at a friend’s house, at their mate’s house, in the back of the movie theater? So do you try to come up with some arbitrary-sounding rule—at least it will sound arbitrary to your teen—that will go a little something like this: “The only people who can have sex in this house are people who are married!” Or maybe “Only people who pay the bills can have sex up in here!”

Yeah, it might sound like the boldest declaration to ever pass your lips, but in the teen’s eyes it sounds kinda dumb. I have been tackling these questions for years and I admit that my answers have not been wholly satisfying. My teen has been dating the same girl for several years. Now they are both in college. She visits him in college on occasion. There is no father in her house and her mom is often at work—meaning her home is empty a lot more than mine is. So that means they have quite a bit of opportunity to do whatever they want to do. At times she has spent the night at my house. But when she does, I’ve told her she has to sleep in the guest bedroom or on the couch in the basement. She nods dutifully. But in her mind I suspect she probably thinks that particular restriction is laughable. After all, they are often downstairs in the basement watching television together until the wee hours of the morning—long after everyone else in the house, myself included, has gone to sleep.

In other words, there are no easy answers here if you’re trying to be a reasonably sane parent and trying to keep open the lines of communication with your child, which becomes a difficult proposition if you try to enforce a spate of arbitrary rules that your child finds laughably inconsistent and illogical.

Oh vey.

Maybe there are parents of teens out there who have come up with the perfect solution to this dilemma? If so, let us all hear it. We gotta come up with something quick—they just went downstairs in the basement!

And I’d like to tip my hat to Clutch for posing the question in the first place. Check out their story here.


1. When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy and Sex, CDC Confirms: Teenagers are Morons
2. Teen Girls Can Suck It: No Morning-After Pill Without Doc’s Consent
3. {Let’s Talk about Sex} The Best Ways for Parents to Get Ready for “The Talk”
4. Boy, Please.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I think this is where old school rules kick in and are very useful. Teens in the basement alone with no supervision…Heck no!!! Never gonna happen in my grandmother’s house. Girlfriend spending the night…Never gonna happen. Can we blame kids if we allow them to be put in situations they may not be mature enough to handle. Laughable or out of touch as many may say I am…I am not a grandma and all of my children have went to college and are hopefully on their way to having children they will be able to support and nurture when it is time. Parents cannot hand the reins over to the child and then wonder how did that happen. Peace!!

    • All this says is that you have trust issues and don’t know basic psychology. If teens aren’t allowed to be alone because you fear them having sex, you send the message that 1) sex is bad, 2) sex is what you’re SUPPOSED to do when alone with a partner, 3) you don’t trust them. Teens only disobey or bend rules because adults expect it. Their achievements are minimized while every small misstep is jumped on. Home 5 minutes past curfew? Punishment. Never been late before? No acknowledgement. Teens then decide that they might as well act out anyway since their parents don’t believe that they are as behaved as they say. It’s a setup for failure, distrust, and severence of communication and the parent-child bond.

  2. I remember being a teenager so clearly (that’s all I’m disclosing). I also have a teenager, who isn’t dating at the moment. At this moment I will bury my head in the sand. When the issue becomes a real threat, I’ll dig up your post again and decide what decision I can make. This is one I really don’t want to think about because I know the deal.

  3. I am firm believe that kids need to be monitored at all times.

    Do they need to be having sex, teenagers? NO !
    It is the parents responsibility to make sure that their values are intact.

  4. Hummm, that’s a hard one. My husband and I both believe that our children (no matter what age) can not go and stay at someone’s house unless we have met their parents, and their parents have met us. If our child so starts dating and it becomes serious and they are together for a long time (over a year), I think that is when I will broach the topic of where it is acceptable to have sex. But I think I am completely old school and think teens should not be having sex in their parents houses. If they feel they are ready to do and go that extra mile then you better pay for a room… I am not saying I agree with it, but whether you give them the ok or not will have sex if they so want to. What i hope is that I have talked enough about sex on a daily basis that my children will come to me before they have sex and tell me they are ready, and then we will have that conversation and we will have the conversation about consequences, and keeping yourself protected and all of the other things that are associated with said act. I feel that i can’t tell my son, “No you can’t have sex before you are married” because I did it. But what I can tell him is all of the things no one ever told me before I had sex for the first time…

    It is a good conversation, and if you have that type of relationship it will be an awesome conversation.

  5. Man…well, I had sex in my parent’s house and my boyfriends’ house and know that Nick is right on the money when he says rules for teenagers just give them the ambition to break them! I don’t think I ever got the “no sex in my house” talk, but I knew that my mother would die if she knew. I personally think laying down rules like, “No sex in my house” are foolhardy at best because they say very little about what you think about teens having sex in the first place. I was also allowed to sleep over my boyfriend’s house (always on the couch) but unless you want to give your teen a bedtime you can’t control when they stop “watching TV.” I think it’s more important to talk about the behaviors you want rather than where those behaviors should be acted out.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.