Living With The In-Laws: Sex And Rules In The Family Home
The cost of housing in Toronto has reached astronomical heights forcing many young couples to move back in with mom and dad. For some, the thought of having sex at the in-laws can be thrilling and sexy, for others, it’s taboo and “disrespectful”. So, what’s a couple to do if they are worried about having sex in the family home? We asked sex therapist, Dr. Jess O’Reilly, that exact question.
For starters, multi-generational living is the norm for many cultures. And, it’s expected that your parents will move in with you as they age, O’Reilly points out. Some couples might also move in with parents after marriage. So, it’s important to note that what might be seen as a “trend” through one lens often has a long history in other cultures.
If you’re moving in with your parents to save money, O’Reilly says you should consider their rules and expectations. It is, after all, their home and you’re fortunate that they’re willing to accommodate you.
O’Reilley, who shares her home with her 75-year-old father, says if you or your partner is uncomfortable with the idea of having sex at a parent’s home you need to explore why you consider it inappropriate and problematic.
Is it because you fear that your parents will hear you? Or are you worried about being judged? Perhaps your parents have disallowed you from having sex? Or maybe you’re self-conscious about getting caught?
Depending on the answers to those questions the solution may vary. If your parents view sex outside of marriage as inappropriate and you disagree, O’Reilly says you might want to consider finding alternative accommodations.
“Ultimately, if your parents give you permission to move in with them, you will likely want to respect the rules of their house even if you disagree with them.”
On the other hand, O’Reilly says if your parents are providing you with a shared bedroom, it’s likely that they know you’re having sex.
Either way, you should still talk to your family about boundaries and expectations before you move in.
If you grew up in a household where no one knocked before entering a room, you might want to discuss signs or signals that indicate privacy is needed. “You should also ask about shared versus private spaces, not just for sex, but for intimate moments or intense conversations,” O’Reilly says.
Just remember, when it comes to setting rules, the decision maker is the one who owns the home. If they are letting you move in under the condition that you maintain separate rooms and don’t have sex in their house, you’ll need to respect their rules as you would expect a guest in your home to respect yours, says O’Reilly.
“The fact of the matter is almost every couples faces impediments to their sex life. You can make excuses or you can make changes to make things work. It’s up to you.”
If living at home does create a lull in your sex life, consider all the upsides of your living arrangements. Living with family can be very beneficial to your relationship, you’ll experience more social support as a couple, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your partner’s early life and, you’ll have significantly less financial stress — which means you can always splurge on a hotel or Airbnb if you aren’t comfortable having sex in the same house as your in-laws!