Why Is There a Double Standard with Sleepovers?


Why Is There a Double

Standard with Sleepovers?

by Dannielle Owens-Reid

I am a mom of a 13-year-old who flip-flops between bisexual and lesbian. She has had pretty sexual texting conversations with her “best friend” (also 13, bisexual/lesbian in her school) but says they are just exploring, doing normal teenage stuff. They have a three-day overnight field trip next week and may be assigned in the same room. She says she can platonically cuddle and be in the same bed with her friend (who she was dating in October). I would not ok this with a boy. Why this double standard?
— Anonymous

Dannielle Says: 

I think you should stick to your guns. Sexuality is complicated in general, and as a society, we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the idea of people under the age of 21 having sex AT ALL, much less understanding who they decide to have sex with and what it all means.

I think the double standard pops in because we all grew up not being allowed to spend the night with boys. THE END. CUT PRINT. NO DISCUSSION NECESSARY. If you sleep in a room with a boy, you’ll have sex with him and you’ll get pregnant. The world is over. Etc. So we simplify it: "I’m a parent and I don’t want my daughter to get pregnant as a teen.” That’s the reason you give, and no one asks questions. HOWEVER, if we were to get down to the nitty gritty, we’d find that you don’t want your daughter to get pregnant because teenagers aren’t emotionally ready to raise a child or to handle a lot of things that go along with having sex. As a parent of a teenager, you know that. You know that sex can be complicated and that it’s a lot to handle.

The fact of the matter is, your daughter is young and you aren’t completely comfortable with her sleeping in the same bed with someone she may be having sex with. I think that makes sense. I think that may be hard to communicate, yes, but I think it makes sense.

You not allowing her to sleep in the same bed with a guy is the same as not letting her sleep with a girl she has shown interest in. By doing this, you are only respecting her identity further. I think it’s fantastic that you two are so open with one another--trust and honesty are key when it comes to parent/child relationships. I think it’s awesome that your daughter is open with you about who she is experimenting with; that’s badass. A lot of kids can’t even begin that conversation with their parents.

Take advantage of that honesty and tell your daughter that this makes you uncomfortable--and the reasons why. Explain that the double standard is unfair, you would not be okay with a boy spending the night if she identified as straight and because she doesn’t, all you’re doing is trying to be respectful of her identity. I’m sure you’ll be met with some resistance, but I think if it were a guy you’d also be met with resistance. SUCH IS THE LIFE OF MOMMING A TEEN.

Dannielle resides in Los Angeles, and has been working with LGBTQ young people for over four years as the co-founder of Everyone Is Gay. She holds a BA in Theater Performance, and also worked extensively in the world of social media, heading up social interactions for Virgin Mobile on the Lady Gaga Monster Ball Tour in 2012. She recently co-authored the book This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids, with business partner, Kristin Russo.

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