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I have a 17-year-old son who's had the same girlfriend for two years. She's a sweetheart, which is a huge relief because I was certain he'd end up with a Courtney Love type. They seem very happy together, neither has let their relationship affect their grades, and both are headed to excellent (different) colleges next year.
I realize how lucky I am. I have a good kid and he's dating another good kid. However, her parents are going out of town for a week, and he asked if she could stay with us, sharing his room. He and I have discussed birth control, and while I don't know for certain that they've had sex, I'm not an idiot. Do I let her stay with us? I haven't spoken to her parents, but I'm thinking they'd be all right with it because they've invited him on vacation with them this summer. On one hand, I'd rather they were having sex in my home than in some park or wherever kids go these days. But I'm also wary of co-signing off on sex between teenagers. What do you think?
—Mother in the Middle
At the risk of sounding like a granny gassing on about walking 20 miles to school in sub-zero temperatures through neck-deep snowdrifts: What in the hell is wrong with kids today? Back in my day, if you wanted to have sex (and all teenagers do), you were sneaky about it. You got fingered in the bathroom at the after-school kegger. You broke out of your house with the stealth of a cat burglar after your parents had gone to sleep. You told your mom you were sleeping at your girlfriend's house when really you were off to try your fake ID at the local hot-sheet motel you'd saved all your babysitting money for.
Now kids are asking their parents' permission to do it? Where's the fun in that? How mature. How responsible. How perfectly boring. How exactly like I'd hope my kid would behave if I ever were to have one. You are lucky. There's no teen pregnancy (so far), and your child actually seems to have a mature attitude about having sex, which is remarkable considering the hormone stew he's bathing in.
That doesn't mean his girlfriend's parents are going to be down with this plan, though. Inviting him on vacation is one thing—maybe they plan to bunk him with her brother, or have enough space that he'll be able to have his own vagina-free room. As you probably suspect, the parents of teenage boys can have very different opinions about sex than the parents of teenage girls. For one thing, your son will never end up pregnant on MTV being counseled by that handsome charlatan, Dr. Drew. Even if they know about birth control, self-control has never been something teens are known for practicing. So let's hope they're being as careful as you hope they are.
The right thing to do is to have an uncomfortable talk with the girl's parents. Find out if it's OK by them and then proceed accordingly. If you are and they are, then I don't see any problem. Just make sure to buy earplugs. You don't need the bowm-chicka-bowm-bowm soundtrack of your kid's sex life burned into your brain.