Did your parents had specific rules as to when it would be allowed for you?

I am trying to remember. They had rules about people of different genders being allowed upstairs in the house, but that was at least partially to keep friends of my brothers that they did not like away from my sisters’ bedrooms.

What that age or event (when you get married, when you move out) was the cut off?

I was given specific information that I had to be having sex responsibly, and that I was expected to use birth control. My mom was mostly angry when she found out that I was having sex because I had a pregnancy scare and she thought I’d been irresponsible; the problem wasn’t the sex itself. Her other rule was that she had to know where I was sleeping, so that she could find me if necessary.

When was this (what decade)?

1990s.

Did you follow said rules or just not care?

Since the rule was “use birth control and inform me where you are”, I followed it. It seemed reasonable. I didn’t want to NOT use birth control, certainly.

For a while there was a rule that one couldn’t have partners for sleepovers at my mom’s house, but that rule ended when my youngest siblings were no longer children (so when the youngest one was like 12). It existed mostly so that my mom didn’t have to have discussions with them that she thought they were too young for; once they were old enough for the discussion the rule went away. That one was easy to follow because I always lived local to whoever I was sleeping with.

At what age did you decide that it really wasn’t their decision anyway (whether you acted on it or not)?

I never felt like it was their decision. It was clear to me from the time I was 13 that my parents felt it was MY decision. Or at least my mother felt that way, and I didn’t care what the hell my father thought (we are not close and never have been).

If you have different-gendered siblings, where the rules different for them?

I do not believe so. The rules were different for siblings who lived out of the house at the time they started having sex (I was still living at home, thus the rule about knowing where I was) and for siblings who didn’t have very young younger siblings (my youngest sibling was 6 when I started having sex; obviously when she started having sex there was no 6 year old sib to consider).

If you have kids, I’m wondering the same basic questions that you have for your kids. And did you experience at that time cause you to be more or less strict about it?

They’re a bit young still for us to have made any firm plans on the topic. I do know that we will have to have the sexting discussion and rules around that (partly focused on the stupidity of laws in this area, and partly on the abuse potential). I don’t feel like my parents’ decision to leave sex decisions up to me was bad or had any negative repercussions for me, and although I would have wanted to use birth control anyway, it did make it easier in some cases to feel like I was doing the right thing by being firm about that.