Straight Talk: Mom wants to know what really happens at co-ed sleepovers

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: A friend lets her teenage daughter stay overnight at a household where many teenagers regularly stay the night together, co-ed. Sometimes the parent of that household is there, sometimes not. When I bring up concerns, she says, “Those kids are all just friends.” I think she is naïve. I mean, honestly, teens? Raging hormones? How could something NOT be going on? — Roseville, CA From Mariah, 16: I have many friends of both sexes who sleep together and do not have sex. Sure it happens sometimes, but that doesn’t mean all teenagers are sex-crazed. Some teenagers really are JUST friends with the opposite sex and have no intention to sleep with them in the sense you mean. Usually nothing ever happens because the guy is gay or he needs a place to crash and ends up with a good friend who happens to be female. Most of my friends are male and I don’t see the big deal of having a non-sexual relationship with them. From Jennifer, 14: It is different in every situation, but friends of the opposite sex CAN sleep in the same bed together without having sex. Even promiscuous people are not always at fault. This is a very flirtatious generation that most adults don’t understand. If you see your teen flirting with someone don’t automatically assume something is going on. From Michael, 16: There are situations where the guys and girls are just friends. But it can be hard to completely stay away from having something sexual creep in. In many cases, we’d be lying to say it’s strictly friends. From Shelby, 16: I find it offensive that just because we’re teens you assume we are having sex all the time. Could you be any more judgmental? I have quite a few guy friends who I feel totally comfortable sleeping over with — and we’re not having sex, we’re talking! Did you have sex every time you spent the night at a guy friend’s house? From Katie, 15: I go camping with my boyfriend and his family, and usually there are eight or nine teenagers spending all day and night with each other. Nothing happens between either friends or couples because parents have said if we are caught doing anything, we all go home and there’s no more camping. But they give us the opportunity to prove that we can be trusted. If parents make the limits clear, and provide strong consequences, the situation is under control. From Sawyer, 17: Males and females sleep together a lot and nothing happens. Co-ed sleeping isn’t so much the problem, it’s the drinking and smoking that needs to be monitored. Yes, sex happens sometimes, but at least when it does, we’re educated. We didn’t do what your generation did! There was so much sex in the ’60s and ’70s, most of it unprotected. All our STDs come from you guys! When it comes down to it, the sex education we’ve been given brings in a huge amount of safety. From Kendal, 22: It depends on the kids. They could very likely be just friends and really have nothing going on. It really does happen a lot. However, the fact that there aren’t parents home is a red flag. Not that parental supervision insures that there are no sexual activities, but it’s definitely a mood-killer. Your friend needs to be a bit more realistic and make sure there’s parental supervision. And you need to mind your own business. Dear Roseville: Well, there’s a wrap! Anything else you’d like to know? We loved your question, by the way, and I wanted to close with Kendal’s common-sense advice regarding parental supervision. This generation has platonic male-female relationships unlike anything our generation could, or can, imagine. Assumptions about sexual behavior are harder to make, but parental supervision will always be a no-brainer. Write to Straight Talk at or PO Box 963, Fair Oaks CA 95628.