My teenage son recently came out as bisexual and we are all very supportive. That said, the topic of sleepovers has now come up and I’m wondering — should I really be letting him have sleepovers given his attraction to men and women?
Thanks so much for your question.
This can seem like a tricky situation but it’s one that can very easily be managed by having an open and honest relationship with your son.
Let’s not beat around the bush. The concept of excluding people from a sleepover because of their gender is to prevent sex.
Meaning that by those gender rules — you can’t let him have a sleepover with anyone. And that’s really not fair. So, I’m afraid your son's sexuality means you’re going to have to be a pioneer in the future of sleepover politics. Congratulations!
And it’s for the best, the truth is, this concept was from a time where people didn’t have an open enough dialogue with their kids about sex. And realistically, if your game plan for preventing your son from having sex is to ban sleepovers — there are literally a million other times and places he and a partner can find to do that.
My advice would be to talk to your son about sex, remove the stigma of it being awkward. It shouldn’t be. If he feels open enough to tell you about his sexuality, who he is attracted to is simply an extension of that conversation.
This means if he is thinking of having sex or had a crush on someone you’re more likely to know and be able to guide and advise him. This doesn’t mean giving him free range; you can tell him what you expect and the boundaries that are in place. Your letter said he is a teenager so I’m not even sure if he’s legal age so that’s a whole other factor you need to manage.
Ultimately, you don’t want your son to see his bisexuality, or his being open with you about it, as something that is rewarded with punishment. His sexuality shouldn’t limit him from getting to do all the other things kids are doing. That means you have to let him have the sleepover. But, he is different, he is unique and that means taking some care and making sure everyone is open and honest.
Now, to convince the other parents! Good luck.
What advice would you give to this reader? Give us your take in the comments below.
Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.
Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.
Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.
If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, email at [email protected]