"Ask Dr. Tracy"

6/8/97 Advice Column

Parents Too Sexy for their Kid?
"The Rules" will make you crazy,
A Husband in Name Only

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 19 years old and have recently discovered a very disturbing fact about my parents. They have been having multiple affairs and sexual partners. My mom has been involved with our former church minister and my dad's best friend. I need some help in coping with this, because I fear for the stability of the friend's new marriage.

I have been scolded for saying the word "fuck" in their presence, yet, I hear it through the walls at night. They read pornography and subscribe to dirty catalogs advertising S & M and B & D equipment as well, while I am punished for downloading pictures and looking at several sex sites on the web.

Why are they so open about anti-christian sexual activity and how can they return to holy ground every Sunday without a guilty conscience? (They claim to be devoutly conservative christians.)

By the way, my mom confessed all of her affairs to my dad and he wishes he could have been there to watch!! Who are these people and where are my REAL parents?

Sincerely Seeking Coping Mechanisms,

Maybe Not My Father's Daughter

Dear Maybe Not,

This is really a switch -- kids complaining about their parent's sexual activities.

In any case, what your parents do as consenting adults has nothing to do with what you do. Your parents want to be sexually liberated and obviously feel that being sexually free doesn't mean they're not Christians. Apparently they don't feel guilty, so why should you be so upset? It's their lives, not yours.

Many adults enjoy multiple sex partners, or have open marriages where they enjoy multiple sex partners together. Usually, they have rules that the affairs are never to intrude on their love for each other.

You, on the other hand, are not an adult, are living under your parents roof, and have to live by the rules they set for you. When you live on your own, you can download pictures and surf sexy sites to your heart's content.

Your parents have very sophisticated sexual tastes, not for the faint of heart or the under-aged. I hope you grow up to have as much fun as they're having. It sounds to me like your parents have a super sex life, and if you're lucky, you'll inherit their zest for pleasure. Some people are hot, some are not. Relax. Let them enjoy themselves and mind your own business. What youre parents do in bed really shouldn't be your concern.

Wishing you hot sex of your own someday,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

What does Dr. Tracy think about the book, "The Rules?"

Dear Anonymous,

The main problem with "The Rules" is that the same rules don't work for everyone. For instance, the rules for a 16 year old virgin are definitely different than the rules for a 42 year old divorcee. The rules for a widower who wants a new wife are different from the rules for a young college guy who wants to fool around. Not to mention the fact that every human being is different in their life experiences and the way they react to certain kinds of treatment.

What well-meaning person would treat a shy, withdrawing lover the same way they'd treat a sophisticated party type? The Rules leave too little room for individual sensitivity.

The best way to treat someone is to emphasize empathy and the things that make you similar, not different. Instead of creating wars between men and women, treating each other with kindness can make everyone happy and lead to lifelong relationships.

The Rules actually went out somewhere between hoop skirts and birth control. Since The Pill, there haven't been any rules at all. I broke The Rules by sleeping with my husband on our first date and then living together, yet we've been happily married for fifteen years. In the 90's you're expected to make your own rules, not blindly follow others. As the famous Indian philosopher Krishnamurti said, "Question authority, even mine."

Wishing you a life without Rules,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am not really sure how to put this, but I am not happy with my husband. We haven't been married for a year and we have had so many problems it is unreal.

We got married on Sept. 29 and my daughter was born on Oct. 4. In the beginning of December we moved to South Dakota without any notice. We left everything behind and we didn't decide to do it until the day we moved. In South Dakota everything went wrong and on January 25th I came home alone back down to Texas and a month and a half later we got back together.

Now things are almost as bad if not worse as they were before he left. He will not get a combined account. I pay the rent and the baby-sitter and everything else. Now the phone got turned off because he wouldn't pay it and after I reminded him to he didn't call them. He thinks that I don't always need to know where he is and that his money is his because he made it.

Please help I am desperate.


Dear Jennifer,

In a good marriage, the people trust each other, care for each other, support each other and agree to share their lives and their assets. If your husband refuses to pay any bills, won't get a joint checking account and doesn't tell you where he goes, he's a roommate, not a husband.

What do you think he's going to do? Turn into Prince Charming? I think not. If you had read "When To Get Out" in my Library, you'd already know the answer.

Start to plan a way out immediately. Join a woman's group for support. Talk to your family and friends and see who would be willing to help you find a way out of this terrible marriage. See a divorce attorney and find out what steps to take to protect you and your daughter. You'd be better off if you were no longer married to this man. At least then he'd have to pay child support, and you'd have a chance to find someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

Wishing you a real marriage,

Dr. Tracy

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