Straight Talk Advice

Oct 06, 2010

Stepsisters thrown in bed together develop love affair

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: My stepsister and I have fallen in love. We’re both girls and both 17. We share a room and bed when she stays with us every other weekend and have been having sex the last six months. Our parents just think we have become close friends and are pleased. I used to be attracted to both girls and guys, but now that we are in love, I have no interest in guys, so I think I must be gay. Luckily our parents support gay rights, including gay marriage. Still, we are unsure how they will feel about us and if they will continue letting us share a bed. We know our love will last and plan to marry when it’s legal, but we don’t know how to approach our parents. In some ways, I think the sooner the better, but please advise. — In Love in Sacramento

Scot 23, Providence, R.I. Ask me a question

Good news. You don’t have to tell your parents so it’s not an issue. I am a hopeless romantic and would love to tell you your love will last forever. But you have a lot of growing left and female sexuality is known to be fluid and changeable. Why stir things up before you’ve even gotten to live together more than a couple weekends a month? Wait until you’re done with school.

Gregg 19, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

It’s great you plan to get married, but don’t be rash. You are like Romeo and Juliet stealing two secret weekends a month, hardly a tested relationship.

Mark 24, Laguna Nigel, Calif. Ask me a question

There is a huge difference between parents accepting homosexuality and their own children experimenting with it β€” especially in your out-of-the-norm situation. Things are working as is, so be safe and honest with each other and it should end or continue peacefully. Replace guilt about keeping this a secret with, “I am learning about myself.”

Vanessa 22, Galt, Calif. Ask me a question

Your parents might be more upset if they catch you. They may not support bed-sharing in their home, but if you plan on getting married, sleeping separately for awhile shouldn’t hurt things. On the other hand, I shared my bed with my boyfriend since I was 16. My parents didn’t like it but now he is family. That you are gay shouldn’t matter.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

Even though your “love will last” this is incest. Also, if you only “think” you’re gay, you could change your mind. Look for partners outside the family.

Winter 18, Carmichael, Calif. Ask me a question

Start by telling your parents you are gay. Depending on their reaction, you can share more. Or not.

Heather 20, Ware Shoals, N.C. Ask me a question

This could be a phase. If it’s still happening a few years from now, then bring it out. Your parents may be pro-gay but not regarding their own kids.

DEAR IN LOVE: I don’t recommend coming out as gay to parents unless you no longer rely on them for support. Even the most tolerant parents can become destructive upon hearing the news β€” and your situation is a triple powder keg. Your situation is why, in the bed-sharing columns (APR 28, MAY 5, MAY 12), I urge parents to provide twin beds, despite the protests from young people that “nothing” is going to happen. I simply get too many letters like this.

No this isn’t incest (you’re not blood-related), and I’m not opposed to gay marriage (not that I’m convinced you are gay), but having regular underage teen sex under your parents’ roof is “too adult” for my taste β€” unless perhaps they know and you are paying rent. Otherwise, it’s like cheating on them. I recommend that you separate your sleeping arrangements. If you must continue your affair, do so in less convenient settings. It’s amazing what a lack of convenience can reveal about love.

Editor’s Note: What do I keep saying about bed-sharing? After yet another letter from stepsisters thrown in the same bed together who start having sex, I decided to print one despite the squirm factor for my editors. It is these letters that make me stand firm that while usually it is harmless, sharing a bed really can start things that wouldn’t have started otherwise. There are four main reasons for it: few sexual boundaries today, increased confusion about whether one is gay or straight, the current chic portrayal of girl-girl sex, and the arrival of big beds in the kids’ rooms. Obviously, switching to twin beds is the easiest thing to change. For the other factors, I recommend eliminating or reducing screen media in a young child’s life (age 0-14), combined with age-appropriate communication around teachable moments, starting at the youngest ages. Additionally, in the teen years, parents need to become part ally-part parent in order for kids to continue keeping them in the loop, thus giving parents a position of influence. —Lauren

  1. By Linda, age , from Salem, OR on 10/06/2010

    I’m amazed that Lauren is apparently the only one who sees a problem with this arrangement.  Since you and your stepsister feel that you’re gay and are sexually attracted to each other, this is no different than if you were straight and sharing a bed and having sex with a stepbrother or boyfriend.  I think just about anybody would say that was a grossly improper sleeping arrangement.  This is really no different.  At the very least you need separate beds.  I realize that you wouldn’t want to tell your parents that you need separate beds because you can’t resist having sex when you share a bed, but there are lots of reasons you could want separate beds like one of you tosses and turns and keeps the other awake or pulls the covers off, etc.  Separate rooms would be better as it will be hard to avoid undressing in front of each other and seeing each other naked which would probably cause sexual stimulation considering your feelings for each other.  However, if there is no extra space in your household, at least find a reason why you need separate beds.

    Also, you need to take things slower and give it time.  Many kids your age (and mine) whether gay or straight feel they are in love forever but the relationship ends in 6 months or a year.  Also, as has been discussed in past Straight Talk columns, many teenagers have mixed up feelings about their sexuality and aren’t certain of their sexual orientation.  It is not unusual to have sexual feelings for a member of the same sex but turn out to be totally straight.  Maybe you will get married, but maybe one or both of you will turn out to be straight and/or find someone else.  Therefore, I don’t think you should tell your parents right away and possibly have them freak out about it.  But at your age you certainly shouldn’t be sharing a bed and having sex anymore than a 17 year old boyfriend and girlfriend.  Please slow down and give yourselves time to see how this all shakes out.

    Linda

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  2. By C.J., age , from Rocklin, CA on 10/07/2010

    I totally agree that they should not be sharing a bed.  A couple of years ago I became infatuated with my stepsister who is a year older than me because she was everything I wanted to be but wasn’t: attractive, popular, and self-confident.  We also shared a room during visitations and I started having sexual fantasies about her which really scared me.  She wasn’t shy about undressing in front of me and was sometimes casual about nudity in the bedroom, and seeing her nude drove me crazy with sexual feelings.  I also had the fantasy that she might have the same feelings about me, but in retrospect, I realize that it was nothing more than a fantasy.  Fortunately, we had separate beds.  But if we had shared a bed I’m not sure if I could have stopped myself from trying to act on my feelings for her.

    However, within a year I gradually lost my infatuation and sexual interest in her.  I now have a boyfriend and am confident that I’m totally straight.  We still share a room on visitations, but seeing her nude now means nothing to me.  We probably could share a bed now but I still wouldn’t want to risk it, but sharing a bed when I was having these feelings would have been very dangerous.  While most people don’t see a problem with 2 girls sharing a bed, I think it’s best avoided when at an age when we are just starting to come in touch with our sexuality.

    C.J.

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  3. By Lisa, age , from Carmichael, CA, USA on 10/08/2010

    While sharing a bed is obviously a bad idea in the situations described by “In Love” and C.J., I really don’t think it should mean there must be a blanket rule against teenage girls sharing a bed.  Since I have my own room, for reasons of both comfort and space, I prefer having one large bed that I can share when I have guests to having twin beds in my room.  It is very common these days for girls to have a large bed that they can share.  I share my bed with my stepsister and other female relatives when they visit and friends when I have sleepovers.  It has never been a problem and never led to anything sexual or even the thought of such activity.  This even includes one friend who is gay.  She knows that I’m straight and has no sexual interst in me so sharing a bed does not cause her to try to have sex with me.  My stepsister and I and some of my friends even sleep in the nude in the same bed in the hot weather and there has never been any problem.  I really don’t think that because in a small percentage of cases there is sexual activity means that it should be totally banned.  As has also been discussed in Straight Talk, some girls feel stimulated by seeing other girls nude.  Does this mean that no girl should ever undress in front of another girl?  I think not.  This would make sleepovers and slumber parties, changing and showering in the girls’ locker room and even sisters and stepsisters sharing a room almost impossible.  I hate it when adults point to one or a few examples and try to make an absolute rule that applies to everybody even in situations where there is no problem.  That is my opinion.

    Lisa

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  4. By Jeanie, age , from Vacaville, CA on 10/10/2010

    I also have to share a double bed with my stepsister and it makes me very uncomfortable, especially since she sleeps in the nude.  But they won’t get separate beds because she likes having the large bed room in her room and I’m only there 2 weekends a month.  We’re both totally straight and nothing sexual goes on, but it still makes me very uncomfortable to have to be in bed with her nude.  I’ve asked her to please wear pajamas or at least a t-shirt and underwear when I’m there but she refuses.  She says that she doesn’t tell me what to wear or not wear to bed, so I have no right to tell her.  She says there’s nothing wrong with girls seeing each other nude since we’re the same.  But that misses the point.  It doesn’t bother me to see her nude or for her to see me, it’s being in bed with her when she’s nude that really bothers me.  If we had separate beds, I could care less.  And I’d really be more comfortable in separate beds even if she wasn’t sleeping in the nude.

    Jeanie

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  5. By M.S., age , from Lodi, CA, USA on 10/10/2010

    I’m a 15 year old guy and am in what I think is an even worse situation.  I have to share a bed with my 13 year old sister.  Her body is sexually maturing and I sometimes get feelings that make me very ashamed when we’re in bed together and when she undresses and I see her naked, and I sometimes get a boner which really scares me.  Our mom comes from another culture where it’s common for brothers and sisters to sleep together and sees nothing wrong with this.  There’s no way I could tell her that we need separate beds because of the feelings I’m having as I’m way too ashamed and I can’t talk to her about sexual things anyway.  Our dad deserted us years ago so he’s not around to talk to about this.  Our mom just has a low paying job and can barely afford our 2 bedroom apartment, so there’s no way she can get us separate rooms, but I think she could manage separate beds, but I don’t know how to make her realize why it’s necessary.  I know it would be very, very wrong to try to have sex with my sister and don’t think I ever would, but I still wish I wasn’t in this situation.

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