Sometimes I haunt my past self. I stand over him flabbergasted as he decides different dumb ideas are brilliant and he should do them; frosted tips two years after N*SYNC broke up, a leather jacket without a motorcycle, and Nair’ing his balls, for example. Recently, I stood spectral in 2007 at my family’s home watching as he said to his girlfriend, “Should we have sex in my parents’ bed?” And the me of here and now thought, “What the actual fuck?!”
Parent bed sex is one of those things that teenage boys think is hot, but adult men look back on and cringe. As for myself, looking back, I can’t even remember why that ever seemed like a good idea. You never (ever) want to be in a situation where, after sex, you have to genuinely question whether the pube in your mouth is yours, your partner’s or one of your parent’s.
As we all come home for the holidays, to the drama and the trauma, I think it’d also be a good time to look back and think—why, why did I rub my penis on the corner of that sofa? How could I have possibly been so stupid as to think my parents couldn’t tell a crusty sock from a worn one? And what the fuck was I thinking when I decided it would be hit to suggest having sex in my parents’ bed?
So, of course, because everyone loves having a friend who’s also sex columnist and asks them uncomfortable questions right before the holidays, as we return home to quietly and awkwardly try to have sex in our own childhood beds, I’ve reached out to ask a few friends of mine if they’d ever taken that taboo step into their parents' room, thought it was a good idea, and, if they did, how they think of it now. For reference, I’m in my thirties—who knows what Gen Z kids are getting up to? Maybe one boon of the internet is that they have access to enough Freud to avoid these kinds of early-onset deviances.
“Who knows what Gen Z kids are getting up to? Maybe one boon of the internet is that they have access to enough Freud to avoid these kinds of early-onset deviances.”
“Does it count if it’s your stepmother’s bed?” one friend asked before going on to add that he thinks it has more to do with how your parents talked about sex. Probably, he thinks, if they tell you that you can’t have sex growing up, you’ll do it just to spite them. Fair. He said his parents gave him a lot of freedom, so it was never something he found appealing. Unfortunately, this was pretty damn spot on with how my parents were growing up, so is it possible? Maybe, because my parents were very no-no on having partners sleep over for so long, my plan to have sex in their bed was a “fuck you” fuck of sorts. But… my friend said he did have sex in his parents' bed. Yeah, I asked that too. Apparently, his room was covered wall-to-wall in Harry Potter memorabilia. “Like 10 wands on a wand rack. No way I was bringing a girl up to my Potter sanctuary.”
Another thought: maybe it’s just because my parents' bed was so damn comfy? Another friend said the thought never crossed his mind because his mother was a hoarder so her bedroom was a mess. Also, fair. I hadn’t thought of this but while my bedroom was messy with a small bed, scratchy blanket and movie posters on the wall, my parents’ bedroom was all ‘adult’ and clean with big mushy comforters. I’d love to think that this is the answer. I’m just really into comfort. Yeah, that’s it.
“While my bedroom was messy with a small bed, scratchy blanket and movie posters on the wall, my parents’ bedroom was all ‘adult’ and clean…”
With Thanksgiving come and gone and Christmas right upon us, it’s hard not to revisit these kinds of questions. Through Hallmark-tinted glasses, returning to a childhood home feels nostalgic. Remember when we brought Pongo home from the vet and he peed in Dad’s shoes? Oh, remember when the power went out and we all turned those couches into a pillow fort? But I don’t think I’m alone in coming home and thinking about all of the awkward moments of sexual development I went through there. That couch where my friend told me how to masturbate for the first time. That naughty, naughty plush chair. Being the only one who knows why the sink broke that one time. And, of course, all of those formative confusing ideas and thoughts we all had (all of us, right?!) like whether sex in our parents' bed would be hot, or just plain weird.
For me, in this case, I was lucky enough to have a girlfriend who, when I suggested sex in my parents' bed, told me she thought that was weird. So, we fucked on the kitchen counter like normal people. Yes, that counter right there where grandma is preparing her jello pudding…