i can hear my parents have sex

dear heather,

Sometimes I can hear my parents when they have sex and it grosses me out. I have also walked in on them a bunch of times in the middle of the afternoon. Once, we went on a trip and were sharing a hotel room; on the last day we were there, I woke up and they were having sex. I really don’t want to talk to them about it. What can I do to get them to stop? I can’t talk to anyone I know about it because it’s so embarrassing.

I can completely understand why you feel so uncomfortable. In this culture, sexual behavior between parents is generally private–it’s different in some parts of the world, where space is at a premium, believe it or not.I can understand why you are hesitant to talk to your parents, but I don’t see any way around it. It might help to talk to one of your parents in private–the one you feel most comfortable talking about such matters with–then let that parent talk to the other about it. Let’s say you’ve chosen to talk to your mother. It might help to start out by acknowledging how embarrassing and difficult the situation is and let her know that you are asking for her help in establishing better boundaries.

There are some practical measures you can try also. When you say you “walked in on them a bunch of times in the middle of the afternoon,” does that mean that your parents were having sex out in the open, or did you walk into their bedroom unannounced? If you walked in on them unannounced, I would advise you to knock loudly on their bedroom door and to wait for an affirmative response before entering in the future. If they were having sex in the middle of the living room, knowing you could easily walk in–that’s another matter. In that case, I would let them know that the situation makes you uncomfortable and ask them to have sex in a place that is not common space. The next time you travel, you might want to ask whether your family can get a suite, instead of a one-room accommodation. If this is not possible, ask them to let you know if they want privacy in the room and be prepared to read a magazine in the lobby or take a dip in the pool, while they have their fun.

And, finally, since, like it our not, your parents will be having sex when you’re in the house and the sound does carry, my suggestion would be to invest in a good pair of earphones…or earplugs.

take care,

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