Straight Talk Advice

Nov 04, 2009

Should lesbian friend be allowed for sleepovers?

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I’m 16 and have a close friend since elementary school who is gay. “Haley” doesn’t advertise that she’s gay, but she doesn’t keep it a secret either. I treasure her friendship and have no problem with her sexual orientation, plus she has a girlfriend and has no sexual interest in me. The problem is my mom. Mom claims she has “nothing against” gays, however, she no longer allows us to stay the night at each other’s houses. She says she just can’t trust what might happen with us sleeping and undressing together, and is especially concerned for my 13-year-old sister who shares my bedroom. My sister likes Haley very much and has no problem with her staying overnight in our room and undressing in front of her, even though she is aware of the situation. Plus, Haley shares a room with her own younger sister and it’s not a problem. I think my mom is being unfair. How can I make her understand there is nothing to worry about? — Santa Ana, CA

Rachel 18, Fair Oaks, CA Ask me a question

I once met a mother who pulled her daughter out of a fashion show right as we were stepping on stage because the show was in support of gay marriage. This woman seriously overreacted to the situation, but it was because of her beliefs and her devotion to her daughter. Your mother may be overreacting, too, but it’s what she needs in order to feel comfortable. You probably won’t change her feelings — and even though you don’t agree with them, you need to respect them.

Maureen 17, Redding, CA Ask me a question

I am straight but my best friend is bisexual and it’s never been an issue. We share a bed and change in front of each other and I never feel uncomfortable. She is my best friend, that’s what best friends do. Honestly, your mom has nothing to worry about. She needs to get over it. Just because your friend is a lesbian doesn’t mean she is a pervert who wants to have sex with every girl she sees.

Heather 19, Ware Shoals, SC Ask me a question

I also have gay and bi friends and your mom is overreacting. I would suggest sitting her down and assuring her that nothing is going to happen. Ask her to give it a chance and not be so quick to judge. My dad doesn’t have a problem with my gay and bi friends staying over.

Katelyn 14, Huntington Beach, CA Ask me a question

As long as you live in your mom’s house, it’s her rules, whether you like it or not. Frankly, I think she’s scared that you and your friend might do something unintended in the “heat of the moment”. I know you think it’s unfair, but when you move out, you can do things your way.

DEAR SANTA ANA: We get a lot of mail on this topic and your mother is not being anti-gay. She is simply banning gay girlfriends from sleeping in your bedroom for the same reason she bans boys from sleeping there. Stuff can happen and it won’t be under her watch.

From what I know about the fluidity of female sexuality, while some straight females would be totally stable undressing and sleeping with a gay female friend, others would not be.

A large category of “distress mail” we receive is from teens who find themselves unintentionally aroused or involved sexually with those they share sleeping quarters with — I’m talking everything from brothers and sisters sharing a room, to non-gay stepsisters sharing a bed. I know you feel that this wouldn’t happen to you, but at this point in life, your mom makes the rules and it’s her job to err on the side of caution. She’s got your best interests at heart.

Editor’s Web Note: This generation is “such good friends” with each other that a lot of parents are flummoxed around sleepovers. Between such friends, co-ed sleepovers and same-sex gay/straight sleepovers are commonly allowed, but from the mail I receive, it’s messing with fire (see my response below). I wish parents would enforce a safer space for their teens. If these teens had to wait until they were on their own to share a bed with a friend whose sexual orientation was pointed toward them, their increased maturity would allow them to better regulate themselves. — Lauren

  1. By Jean Hendrix, age , from Redding, CA on 11/05/2009

    Dear Lauren:

    I disagree with you.  Santa Ana’s mom is being anti-gay to ban her from having sleepovers with her best friend.  She seems to have the “homophobic” paranoia that many people have who assume that all gays are sexual predators.  In fact, statistics show that there are far many more heterosexual predators.  My older sister happens to be gay. We are close as any sisters can be and it makes no difference to me. However, we frequently face this type of homophobia. I have friends whose parents won’t let them spend the night since we share a room and some friends who themselves won’t spend the night because they aren’t comfortable with my sister.  Undressing in front of someone who is gay is not anything to worry about despite what many seem to think. My sister has no sexual interest in girls who are straight and is not aroused by seeing their bodies.  She sees me nude in our room just about every day and I can say from experience that it is not a problem.  However, she gets cruel comments in the girls’ locker room from girls who have a problem changing and using the showers with her who assume that she’s “getting off” from seeing their bodies. She’s even had comments made by girls who see a problem with using the girls’ bathroom at school with her if you can believe that.  She’s only in the bathroom to do what everyone does in there, not for sex. 

    It really disappoints me that you sided with Santa Ana’s mom on this issue. 


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  2. By Terri James, age , from Roseville, CA on 11/06/2009

    I agree with you, Lauren, and disagree with Jean.  A lesbian is by definition a female who is sexually attracted to other females.  Therefore, sharing sleeping quarters and undressing in front of someone sexually attracted to females is playing with fire. I don’t see how someone sexually attracted to females would not get sexual feeling from seeing an attractive female nude just as a guy would. I don’t feel that I’m prejudiced against gays. I believe that they should have equal rights and believe that gay marriage should be legal.  I also have a gay friend.  However, I don’t have sleepovers with her or undress in front of her any more than I would with a guy. If Jean is comfortable sharing a room with her sister and with being nude in front of her, I think that’s OK since they’re sisters, but I don’t think it should go beyond close family members.


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  3. By biancablue, age , from miami on 07/29/2013

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would have a hard time understanding her dilemma. I find myself in the same type of situation with my teenage daughter and it’s really hard to know the right thing to do in that moment knowing the other child and how they are a good person and you don’t want to hurt feelings. Religion or how you feel about homosexuality completely aside the facts remain that this is no different than the rule about not having boys in your room… all boys just the boys that are attractive or that my daughter likes that way but all boys including the ones the ones I know she would never ever want any kind of a relationship like that with all boys that’s the rule…. so that rule still applies with a female attracted to other females it’s a simple as that. All of our children now have access through their phones and computers to all kinds of things to stimulate an individual into doing something with anyone same sex another not gay whatever.. those are just the facts and I believe me it’s much different when you talking about your own child things become a lot less about being politically correct or a lot less about worrying about hurting feelings and more about what’s best in all ways for my child..and thats how it should be.

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  4. By Scott, age 54, from Savannah on 05/27/2017

    My ex wife has a 14 year old daughter that is gay. My 7 year old son is telling me his mom is letting his half sisters girlfriend spend the night and then tells my son it is ok for them to do that. I disagree, to me it is no different than letting a boy spend the night with her. But my big concern is what kind of signal does that send me son the ex has went into full detail about what gay is to my son and I also feel that is nothing a 7 year old needs to deal with at his age.. Any advice?

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