Dear Dr. G.,
This is a very embarrassing topic for me but I really need to get this off my mind. Let me first tell you that I am a 17-year-old girl and I have a 12-year-old brother and a 14-year-old sister. We each have our own rooms but mine is (guess what) right next door to my parents' bedroom. Well, last weekend, I overheard my parents having sex. This is the second time I have overheard them and I can't stand it. I don't want to hear it and I don't want to think about it or even picture it. The idea of my parents having sex really bothers me.
I'm not sure how to approach my parents about this. I'm not even sure if I should talk to them about this. My parents have tried to talk to me about sex in the past but I am very uncomfortable discussing sexual topics with them. I learned about sex in school health classes, books, and friends. By the way, I am not yet sexually active. I am curious but I am not ready yet.
Please help me figure out what to do.
A Confused Teenager
I am so happy that you reached out to me. You and many other teens have brought this issue to my attention over the years. First, let me tell you that, of course, you don't want to hear your parents having sex. I don't think that anyone of any age wants to hear their parents having sex. Nor is anyone particularly comfortable with that thought or visual.
On the other hand, your parents are entitled to have a sexual relationship and I hope that their sexual intimacy is part of a good and healthy relationship. It is unfortunate that your room is so close to theirs and you are within earshot of their most intimate moments.
So we have two things going on here. A teen girl uncomfortable hearing her parents being intimate and two parents next door who seem to have a vibrant relationship. The question is how to make everyone happy and comfortable. I think that other than blasting music in your room or covering your ears, you really should find a way to talk to your parents. I am quite sure that they are unaware that they are being overheard.
You said that you are uncomfortable talking to your parents about sex. Now, you have an excellent opportunity to work on this discomfort and open up the dialogue about sexuality. I suggest that you talk to either both of your parents or the one you are more comfortable with about your discomfort hearing their private activities. Take deep breaths while you present this. I know how uncomfortable this topic is likely to make you. Your parent(s) may surprise you by being very sensitive to your discomfort. In addition, I am sure that they will then come up with a plan to muffle sounds in their room.
I hope that a good thing emerges from this situation. Perhaps, sexuality won't feel like such a tricky topic for you after you break the ice with this conversation. I would really like to hear how this conversation goes and how your parents respond. I am sure that your parents will come up with a solution. And, after this discussion, perhaps you and your parents can open up the dialogue about other tricky topics.