Will skinny dipping make you gay?
Dear Straight Talk: My sister and I like to skinny dip in our pool on hot nights. When friends spend the night, we invite them to join us since we're all girls. Our mom recently remarried and we invited our new stepsister to join us, which she did. We're 16 and 15 and she's 13. We share our room with her and undress in front of each other.
She mentioned it to her mom, who read our family the riot act. She insisted this would make her daughter gay and thinks we must be gay to "corrupt" a younger girl this way. Now our stepsister has to sleep on the couch and change in the bathroom, even though she'd rather share our room.
This idea that something will "make" you gay is totally stupid. If girls seeing other girls naked made you gay, we'd all be gay. It's so sad. — Suzanne in Sacramento
Christina, 19, Marysville: Skinny dipping make you gay? Yes, this is sad. There aren't any guys around, so I see no problem. Girl-girl action is one thing, skinny dipping is completely another.
Sarah, 19, Redding: I agree, Suzanne. It is an outdated idea that something can "make" a person gay — especially skinny dipping with relatives. Also, sexual preferences should not be viewed as good or bad; they simply are. Your stepsister's mother's reaction seems extreme. Conversation is in order.
Nate, 17, Toledo, Ohio: Although skinny dipping is uncommon in my town, I see no problem with it. It's natural and shouldn't affect sexuality, especially when you are with the same sex. In high school locker rooms, guys shower together and there are almost no problems. I believe a person is born gay. Experiences with other people may cause you to question your sexuality, but there isn't a total change.
Nicole, 21, Grass Valley: Visit Nevada City in the summer and go to the river. You will stumble across hundreds of people, men and woman, elders and children, enjoying the river and good company — and guess what? They're all naked and straight. There is no connection to swimming naked and being gay.
Jessie, 19, Eugene, Ore.: There is no way skinny dipping with make you gay. The worst that can happen is it could cause sexual experimentation due to curiosity. Or help somebody realize they are gay, which will happen eventually anyway. I have skinny dipped, changed in the same room, been in saunas and locker rooms with other naked females and I'm still straight.
I suspect this mother's drama stems from feeling threatened by the closeness her daughter is experiencing with her ex-husband's new family. Also, people shouldn't put stock into Hollywood movies. Skinny-dipping scenes are as exaggerated as high-speed car chases.
Dear Suzanne: Women bathing together is old as life. The fact that we have received multiple letters on this makes me think some parents are reacting to a fear (triggered by the mainstreaming of pornography) that girls are going to mess around with other girls at the slightest provocation. It is essential that parents and children get over their inability to talk about sex and pornography with each other.
Pornography has permeated the culture, and the best way to keep kids (and parents) from confusing it with reality and consuming it as such is to talk about it. It's similar to discussing with kids how the ever-present junk food ads, which could arguably be called "food porn," don't mean you eat junk food. We know the results of that.
I have a hunch if you drop the "how stupid can you get" vibe and sincerely say to your stepsister's mother, "Despite the suggestive images everyone is exposed to today, my sister and I are totally straight," she should lighten up.
It's amazing how there's never been more nudity observed onscreen as in today's world, and there's never been more paranoia about actual nudity. I do think the two are related. If this letter were one of a kind, I would assume it was an aberration.
But since something as ancient as females skinny dipping together is a worry out there by more than a couple parents, I surmise that it's due to the selling of girl-girl action in porn films and in the background of popular movies.
It has never been more important for parents and kids to start talking about the elephant in the room, meaning all the porn that kids — and everyone — are exposed to. Our sexual systems are fluid, especially in females, and we are clearly influenced by the media.
The commercial media influenced two generations to start eating the worst "food" known to humankind. Junk food brand-names literally "light up" brain circuits in experimental subjects and drive the behavior to eat the food. I would hate to see the obesity crisis spread to sexuality, but I'm afraid the process has begun. Parents: It's time to start talking about it with your kids.
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