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Debate continues over whether parents should allow lesbian-straight sleepovers

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Posted: Saturday, May 15, 2010 12:00 am

Dear Readers: I recently aired reader responses to the column where I sided with the mother who stopped allowing her daughter to sleep over with her long-term friend who was now lesbian. Today I'm featuring panel responses to my advice (which they didn't like much either).

So far, the word on the streets is that the lesbian-straight sleepover is mostly NOT where the action is — especially compared to female bisexuality in its "generalized fluid form" (for lack of better words). And this "fluid" female bisexuality is the main component of what I'm calling the "pansexual revolution" taking place in this generation. Geoff does it some justice below.

— Lauren Forcella

Geoff, 24, Redding: Lauren, you think the current rise in female bisexuality is due predominantly to social conditioning (which you blame on the porn industry). But what makes your generation's social conditioning better than ours? There is a large and growing population of bi women. I recently joined the dating website, www.okcupid.com. Thirty to 40 percent of the women I'm matched with are self-described bisexuals. I also bet that 90 percent of them will eventually settle down with a guy. I don't advocate unfettered same-sex exploration, but with this reality, sex education classes need to start including same-sex / fluid / bisexual relationships.

Sandi, 17, Prattville, Okla.: I was attracted to girls starting at age 9. I have always liked boys and girls equally, long before I knew that had a name. I have been intimate with both girls and guys. At school, though, I mostly date boys because of people's reaction otherwise. However, all my close female friends and sisters know I'm bisexual and it doesn't bother them. We sleep over and change together. If my friends' parents acted like this mother, I'd be embarrassed they were thinking I'd go after their daughter. My dad doesn't know my sexual preference because he believes sexuality is a choice and I know I didn't choose this.

Molly, 18, Fair Oaks: A straight boy sleeping in the same room as a straight girl is very different than a lesbian and straight girl sleeping in the same room. Also, girls are much better at controlling themselves in the heat of the moment than boys. All the gays I have known (which are quite a few) have been very respectful of straight people. I would not worry about a lesbian with a significant other sleeping in the same room as a straight girl she is just friends with. I have known far more straight girls to "mess around" with each other than gay and straight girls.

Catherine, 22, Amherst, Mass.: As the queer girl who came out in seventh grade, if my friends' parents hadn't allowed sleepovers I would've felt deeply ostracized. Just because a girl is attracted to other girls doesn't mean she will turn your daughter into a lesbian — or have a sexual relationship at all. I have seen many friends undress and without a romantic attraction, it's just nudity. My attraction to girls started around age 10 and it was scary. Luckily, my diverse community (a friend's mother was lesbian and my uncle was gay) gave me a safe setting to grapple with my feelings. I believe my honesty about my sexuality allowed friends and families to challenge their own homophobia. Hate crimes and homophobia in schools can be very damaging, especially to teens already stressed by adolescence. Having welcoming friends and adults to communicate with makes a great difference. If we can speak openly about our love lives, including our confusion, and if parents can keep open minds and loving hearts, these things wouldn't be such an issue.

Dear Readers: Well spoken. We will wrap this topic next week. Keep your letters coming and thank you to all who have written.

More discussion is on our website. To ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalkforteens.com or write P.O. Box 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

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