A father discovered his teenage son was gay after walking in on him and his boyfriend having sex.
However, he was not prepared for the perpetual awkwardness that followed in the aftermath of the mid-coitus interruption.
How do you talk to your evasive teenager about coming out and having safe sex?
Not knowing how to deal with the situation, the concerned dad turned to Reddit's Relationship Advice thread and asked if his son's behavior was just "natural awkwardness or embarrassment."
He prefaced his story with:
"This is how you dad."
"So a week ago my son had one of his really good friends over for a sleepover, and I went up to his room to ask them if they wanted any dessert."
"Normally if it's just my son I knock, because well privacy, but it was him and his friend so I figured I didn't really need to."
"It was an hour or so later than I would normally go up and ask them so that's probably why they let their 'guard down.'"
Their guard was down and then some.
"Anyway I open the door and my son's getting bonked by his friend. I don't know if reacted that well - but not badly either, I just said something like 'oh f**k' and shut the door again."
"I waited downstairs for maybe 20 minutes to see if they would come say anything but they didn't so I went to bed."
"When I woke up the next morning his friend was gone and my son looked so scared and tired, I don't think he slept that much, not that I can blame him."
"It was kind of awkward, but eventually he was like yeah dad I'm gay and [friend] is my boyfriend of 2 years (surprised by that but in a nice way i guess) - him being gay wasn't a surprise as I've always suspected to be honest, but I didn't say that of course and was like okay cool love you no matter what, I don't care who you like."
"Since then he's been very awkward and barely said a word to me or even looked at me. I've tried to talk but it's always ends up a very short and awkward conversation."
"Is it just natural awkwardness and embarrassment? Hell, I'm sure if my dad had saw me having sex I would've faked my death and moved to Mexico or something."
"Today I asked him if he wanted to bring his boyfriend for dinner/sleepover in a more official 'boyfriend' capacity and he seemed to perk up at that a little and said 'sure that'd be cool' - so maybe things are getting a little less awkward."
"Is this awkwardness natural or should I be doing something different?"
"I'm also going to buy him a lock for his door and tell him that I want him to feel comfortable 'doing it' in the house with his boyfriend (I'd rather here than some dark alley with heroin needles and serial killers or anything like that) - but I'm not sure how to word it well, and also make the conversation as least awkward as possible."
The OP's post received 85% upvotes, with readers responding favorably towards how he handled the situation.
"I'd stress this. It's going to be awkward regardless. It's not awkward because he's gay."
"It's awkward because he's a teenager who got walked in on by his dad. On top of not really getting to come out on his own terms."
"My parents walked in on me (M) with my girlfriend when I was younger. That was mortifying."
"He's had a boyfriend for 2 years you didn't know about and found out about him being gay, having a boyfriend, and walking in on them all at once. That's a lot." – cageynay
"Wow, you sound like a really great father. I'd say you're doing everything right so far."
"Just make sure it's very clear to him that you completely accept his sexual orientation, if you haven't done that yet."
"Oh, and make sure to thoroughly educate him about safe sex, because pregnancy isn't the only worry."
"Even if both partners are tested to be clean, a condom should always be used during gay sex to prevent UTIs (which are no fun)."
"You're doing great! I wish there were more people out there like you. You have my admiration sir." – WitheredFlowers
In addition to being lauded for being a good dad, readers educated him about safe sex practices and considered suggesting for his son to take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
"You're an awesome dad!! Just make sure they're using protection."
"I used to work with individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and there's a reason why it's more common with gay men (bc it's easier to spread STI's through anal sex due to more open tears and blood, which is how HIV is spread)" – ohmynipnops
"It might be awkward but lube is also really important. I caught my old foster brother stealing lube for him and his boyfriend and since then I just told him to ask me and I will buy them some."
"Kids are going to have sex and it's an important part of safe anal sex." – not-reusable
Readers also suggested to bypass the awkwardness of offering to buy condoms by providing them instead.
"Don't even bother to offer to buy condoms. Just do it, leave them some place your son and BF can get at them and then tell him they're there for them to use when they need them." – about831
"You sound like a great dad. If he's pretty embarrassed about the whole thing, instead of the agony of offering to buy them, you could just get some condoms and leave them in a bathroom drawer or cabinet."
"Make sure he knows they're available and leave it at that. Replenish as needed." – superherostitch
Yes!! OP, not all gay relationships have defined tops and bottoms. A lot of people switch."
"So offer to buy them condoms and lube. Best just buy a whole heap and say 'they're in the bathroom!'. And fill it up whenever needed. They won't want to be asking all the time." – AffectionatePanic
Actions speak louder than words.
"When I got my first girlfriend, my dad told me 'make sure to be safe' at dinner. When I went to brush my teeth that night I saw a surprise box of condoms in my bathroom."
"I have never spoken to him about he, he has never spoken to me about it. He was, and still is, a good father." – I_no_afraid_of_stuff
Give it some time.
"Yep! Even if you had no reservations whatsoever about your parents accepting your sexuality, it would be mortifying for them to see it in the flesh."
"My dad walked in on my giving myself a bikini wax when I was in Grade 11, and when he tried to talk about it the next morning (to be sure I was okay - he had no idea what I was doing and I think he suspected some kind of masturbation injury) I was so seized by embarrassment that I climbed out the huge window in our kitchen and ran off to school without any of my stuff."
"And that was just hygiene! Time eventually allowed me to make eye contact with him again, hopefully that will also work wonders for OP and his son." – KikiCanuck
Let them know you are here for them.
Redditor QueenMoogle – who identifies as a lesbian – said the supportive conversations she had with her mother was worth all the "awkwardness in the world."
"You need to be a bit more
straightgay forward with him. Sit him down and say, 'Son, it's time to clear the air. I'm not mad. I love you for who you are. If this young man is special to you, I'd like to get to know him, too. If it's fine by you, I'd like to get a lock for your door so you can have more privacy'".
"'I also want to make sure that you are being safe in what you two are doing. I know it's weird because I'm your parent, but you can talk to me about anything. Your happiness and safety are my #1 priorities in life.'"
"You're the father to a teenager. It will be awkward by nature! But you have a heart of gold and it's obvious that you have nothing but love towards your son."
"I can't tell you how many painfully awkward conversations my mom had with me about my sexuality. She even tried giving me the lesbian sex talk, which made me want to crawl in a hole and die."
"But underneath all of that discomfort, I could tell how much she loved and accepted me. Even if the kids at school bullied me, I knew for a fact that she was in my corner each and every time."
"That feeling of security you will give your boy is worth all of the awkwardness in the world. I hope you know just how much that will mean to a young gay man in this world." – QueenMoogle
While having these types of discussions are potentially awkward, showing your teenage kids your support will mean the world to them in the long run.
The book Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child is available here.