Lesbianing With AE: Her Sister Walked In On You Having Sex, So Now What?

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Dear Lindsey,

I feel so awkward, I don’t know what to do. My fiancé invited me on a long weekend trip with her family, which was the first time I was away with them. Things were going well up until her sister walked in on us while we were in the shower together getting it on. I know her sister saw us, because she talked to my partner about it after the fact kind of shaming us for having sex on a family trip — which I don’t feel like I need to apologize for. I’m seeing her family again for Thanksgiving and she’s kind of nervous about how it’s going to go, and it’s manifesting by her saying that we need to be mindful of PDAs while we are there while shutting down my suggestion that we get a hotel room where we can relax and be ourselves. I really don’t feel bad for what happened. We were clearly in the shower, which you could hear outside the room, and I’m not apologizing for having sex with my future wife. Nor do I want to set a precedent at family gatherings where I’m holding in my affection for my partner to make straight people feel comfortable. My fiancé and I are really at odds at how to approach this one.

– Not Sorry

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Dear Not Sorry,

Let’s flip the focus here. You’re caught up in thinking about how your fiancé’s sister feels, and how you feel. No one wins a marriage by being right, so your best bet is to think about your partner: why is she so upset, what would make her feel better, and how you can two set a precedent at Thanksgiving for being your authentic selves together?

For better or worse you’re marrying into her family, which means inheriting her family dynamics.  Her response to getting walked in on during shower sex is directly informed by these family dynamics.

Maybe your girlfriend was raised religious with all of that sex shaming toxic messaging. Or maybe she had to fight a lot of internalized homophobia to come out as a lesbian, and getting caught by her sister taps into that. You’ve got a new window into your partner’s soul where you can find out more about what makes her tick, so see the opportunity in your current discord for what it is — a challenge that will bring you closer as a couple.

You’ve got a new window into your partner’s soul where you can find out more about what makes her tick, so see the opportunity in your current discord for what it is — a challenge that will bring you closer as a couple.

You are right that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and your suggestion of the hotel room is a good one. Your partner might be resisting it out of fear that it’s calling more attention to what happened: like it sends the message that the two of you need to get your own room because you’re going to be working off all that turkey with a marathon sexcapade rather than, you know, you having a pantsless nap together then watching cheesy television.

She might be nervous about telling her folks that you two won’t be staying with them, and hurting their feelings. Or not wanting to spend the money when you’ve got her childhood bedroom to stay in (and if that’s not a libido killer, what is?).

Whatever is going on for her, step up and listen. Have an open talk about what happened where you drop the defensiveness and actually listen to your partner talk about how she feels and what would make her feel comfortable.

Where you feel mildly uncomfortable but not all that bad about what happened, she obviously feels some kind of shame. You’ve got to allow her to feel her way through that rather than just expect in the name of sex positivity that she not feel her authentic feelings.

Where you feel mildly uncomfortable but not all that bad about what happened, she obviously feels some kind of shame. You’ve got to allow her to feel her way through that rather than just expect in the name of sex positivity that she not feel her authentic feelings.

Talking about it can get you two back on the same page, which is essential to survive a family holiday with her folks. It will also help you to be more empathetic with where she is coming from and to decide, together, how you’ll show up as an engaged (and then married) couple at family events. What level of PDA does each of you feel comfortable with? What’s on the table and what’s not? If she doesn’t want you to kiss her in front of her relatives, how does she compromise and give you quality time and hands-on affection while you’re visiting the relatives?  I’m all for sex while visiting the folks, but only when you can both be enthusiastically joyful in the moment, so discuss what that would look like for you two.

When approached with the right mindset, it can be super sexy to have to sneak around while under her folks’ roof or steal out for a late-night hookup while pretending you’re meeting some of her high school friends who are home for the holidays. Again: see it as an opportunity, not a barrier.

This is a great test case for the sorts of compromises you’ll need to make when you’re married, so go into the conversation knowing that no one’s right or wrong here, and it’s really about finding a system that works for you both when visiting her family.

If you haven’t apologized to her sister yet, do it before Thanksgiving. It’s basic decency for you to apologize, and for her to accept the apology and then put the incident behind her. You’re all adults so all you need to do is extend a simple apology that she had to see that, then say that it won’t happen again. Be simple, clear, and get it out of the way.

And it won’t happen again because from now on, you will lock the door if you’re having sex in a shared house or else take to the great outdoors for car sex, sex in the woods, sex in the bathroom stall of the closest gay bar, and so on.

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