Straight Talk Advice

Jul 27, 2011

Will skinny dipping make you gay?

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: My sister and I like to skinny dip in our pool on hot nights. When friends spend the night we invite them to join us since we’re all girls. Our mom recently remarried and we invited our new stepsister to join us, which she did. We’re 16 and 15 and she’s 13. We share our room with her and undress in front of each other. She mentioned it to her mom, who read our family the riot act. She insisted this would make her daughter gay and thinks we must be gay to “corrupt” a younger girl this way. Now our stepsister has to sleep on the couch and change in the bathroom, even though she’d rather share our room. This idea that something will “make” you gay is totally stupid. If girls seeing other girls naked made you gay, we’d all be gay. It’s so sad. — Suzanne in Sacramento

Christina 19, Marysville, Calif. Ask me a question

Skinny dipping make you gay?! Yes, this is sad. There aren’t any guys around, so I see no problem. Girl-girl action is one thing, skinny dipping is completely another.

Sarah 19, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

I agree, Suzanne. It is an outdated idea that something can ‘make’ a person gay — especially skinny dipping with relatives! Also, sexual preferences should not be viewed as good or bad; they simply are. Your stepsister’s mother’s reaction seems extreme. Conversation is in order.

Nate 17, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

Although skinny dipping is uncommon in my town, I see no problem with it. It’s natural and shouldn’t affect sexuality, especially when you are with the same sex. In high school locker rooms guys shower together and there are almost no problems. I believe a person is born gay. Experiences with other people may cause you to question your sexuality, but there isn’t a total change.

Nicole 21, Grass Valley, Calif. Ask me a question

Visit Nevada City in the summer and go to the river. You will stumble across hundreds of people, men and woman, elders and children, enjoying the river and good company, and guess what? They’re all naked and straight! There is no connection to swimming naked and being gay.

Jessie 19, Eugene, Ore. Ask me a question

There is no way skinny dipping with make you gay. The worst that can happen is it could cause sexual experimentation due to curiosity. Or help somebody realize they are gay, which will happen eventually anyway. I have skinny dipped, changed in the same room, been in saunas and locker rooms with other naked females and I’m still straight. I suspect this mother’s drama stems from feeling threatened by the closeness her daughter is experiencing with her ex-husband’s new family. Also, people shouldn’t put stock into Hollywood movies. Skinny-dipping scenes are as exaggerated as high-speed car chases.

DEAR SUZANNE: Women bathing together is old as life. The fact that we have received multiple letters on this makes me think some parents are reacting to a fear (triggered by the mainstreaming of pornography) that girls are going to mess around with other girls at the slightest provocation. It is essential that parents and children get over their inability to talk about sex and pornography with each other. Pornography has permeated the culture and the best way to keep kids (and parents) from confusing it with reality and consuming it as such, is to talk about it. It’s similar to discussing with kids how the ever-present junk food ads, which could arguably be called “food porn”, doesn’t mean you eat junk food. We know the results of that.

I have a hunch if you drop the “how stupid can you get” vibe and sincerely say to your stepsister’s mother, “despite the suggestive images everyone is exposed to today, my sister and I are totally straight,” she should lighten up.

Editor’s Note: It’s amazing how there’s never been more nudity observed onscreen as in today’s world, and there’s never been more paranoia about actual nudity. I do think the two are related. If this letter was one-of-a-kind, I would assume it was an aberration. But since something as ancient as females skinny dipping together is a worry out there by more than a couple parents, I surmise that it’s due to the selling of girl-girl action in porn films and in the background of popular movies. It’s never been more important for parents and kids to start talking about the elephant in the room — meaning all the porn that kids — and everyone — is exposed to. Our sexual systems are fluid, especially in females, and we are clearly influenced by the media. The commercial media influenced two generations to start eating the worst “food” known to humankind. Junk food brand-names literally “light up” brain circuits in experimental subjects and drive the behavior to eat the food. I would hate to see the obesity crisis spread to sexuality, but I’m afraid the process has begun. Parents: time to start talking about it with your kids.

On another note, “Straight Talk TNT” is looking for your support. Hitting the LIKE button on our Facebook fan page is an easy and valuable way to help. Just hit the blue circular Facebook button on the upper left of this website page to be taken to there. Thank you for taking a minute to show that you like the column! —Lauren

  1. By Samantha, age , from Folsom, CA on 07/27/2011

    Make you gay? LOL! I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous!  I’ve been skinny dipping, taken communal showers, played strip poker, been too sleepovers and slumber parties where everybody undresses in front of everybody with no shyness, and so have my sister and most of our friends and we’re all totally straight!  My sister and I also share a room and see each other naked every day.  Any teenage girl who never sees other girls naked would have to be leading a very sheltered life.  Nobody knows for sure what makes somebody gay, but it certainly can’t be from seeing other girls naked.  In fact, when it’s as commonplace as it is for me and my sister and my friends it means nothing and you hardly give it a second thought.  Suzanne’s stepsister’s mom sounds totally paranoid, but I know other girls moms who are just as bad and won’t them do things like skinny dipping and strip poker, but I can say from experience that it is harmless.

    Samantha

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  2. By C.H., age , from Salinas, CA on 07/27/2011

    Maybe it’s just me and maybe I’m weird, but I don’t think things like skinny dipping and strip poker are a good idea, at least in my case.  I really don’t think I’m gay since I’m much more attracted to guys than girls, but seeing other girls nude gives me sexual stimulation and it really scares me.  Therefore, I don’t participate in things like skinny dipping and strip poker.  I still go to slumber parties where most girls are very casual about undressing in front of each other, but I do my best not to look, and I only take showers in the girls’ locker room in the very hot weather.  I share a room with my sister and don’t get these feelings when I see her nude, but maybe it’s because I’ve been seeing her my whole life so it means nothing.  But our stepsister shares our room when she stays with us and isn’t shy about her body with us and I get these feelings when I see her which again scares me since we’re sleeping in the same room.  I’ve never done anything sexual with another girl and really don’t think I ever would, but these feelings still scare me.

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  3. By MostlyStraightMale, age , from Shasta County on 07/28/2011

    To CH from Salinas,

    There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of regarding your ‘feelings’ towards other women.  What you experience when seeing other women naked is NORMAL

    As a very confident and young straight male, I can tell you that it’s OK to feel stimulated around someone of the same sex (and choose NOT to act on it).  There are plenty of young men who have a crush on Neil Patrick Harris, Justin Timberlake, and other male ‘idols’.  However, the more you ‘fear’ those feelings, and ignore them, the more that they will interfere with your social life.

    This does NOT mean doing things that you don’t want to (like acting on those feelings), but it does mean coming to grips that humans (and especially females) are not 100% hetero or homosexual—we run the spectrum, and that’s OK, CH from Salinas.

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  4. By Justin, age , from Redding, CA, USA on 07/28/2011

    Dear Suzanne’s stepsister’s mother:

    No. Just no. How ridiculous… As a straight man who has worked at a gay bar and has many gay friends, I can say that there is no possible way to convince or “turn” someone gay who is not, in fact, gay. If given a choice who would choose to be persecuted and outcast for their whole lives because of their sexuality? People who are gay are so without choice, without influence, and without reason. They simply love in ways that others do not, and just because I’m NOT gay doesn’t mean it is wrong. Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean it is “bad.” Just as some people enjoy tomatoes and I do not, that doesn’t make them wrong or bad in any way.

    -Justin

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  5. By Marcie, age , from Redding, CA on 07/28/2011

    How funny!  My sister and I had just got back from skinny dipping at friend’s house with 3 other girls when I read this.  We’ve done this many times and guess what?  We’re all still totally straight!  We did read last week’s column and made sure that we used plenty of sunscreen, including you know where!  Our mom is totally cool with our doing this, and says she did it herself when she was a teenager.  Taking it all off and being totally uninhibited like this is a fun bonding experience among girlfriends, but there is nothing sexual about it and won’t make anyone gay. 

    If you follow the logic of Suzanne’s stepsister’s mom, then if a girl who is gay went skinny dipping with guys, it would turn her straight!  The same thing if a gay guy did it with girls.  Does anybody really think this would happen?  I think not!  It makes no more sense to say that straight girls skinny dipping with other staight girls (or guys with guys) will make them turn gay!

    Marcie

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  6. By D.C., age , from Carmichael, CA on 07/29/2011

    I am gay and know without a doubt that I was born this way. Nothing, and certainly not seeing other girls naked, made me that way.  This woman has it backwards.  Yes, seeing attractive girls naked gives me sexual feelings just like straight girls and guys get turned on by seeing members of the opposite sex with attractive bodies.  But I get these feelings because I was already gay.  I never see guys my age naked, but as Marcie says, I am certain that it would not turn me straight.  Gay or straight, you are what you are and it is not caused by what you see.

    D.C.

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