What’s Wrong With You: In-Laws, Gratitude, And Sex On Thanksgiving

Dear Judith,

My in-laws are coming for a full week this Thanksgiving. What are the rules for newlyweds having sex with a set of their parents in the house?

A Week is a Long Time

Dear A Week,

Your in-laws are coming to town, and this is what you’re worried about? They don’t complain or criticize or badger you about having kids? (It wouldn’t mean they wanted you to conceive in their presence, but more on that in a bit.) They don’t make your husband cranky? If I’m wrong about your gender or orientation: they don’t turn your wife into an amorphous, self-doubting wreck? Since we’re all supposed to be feeling gratitude this week in preparation for a month of shopping, please take a moment to appreciate that your biggest concern right now isn’t boundary transgressions or button-pushing, it’s seven days of inconvenience surrounding sex. While people all over the world are starving—hmm, while people who live alone or with young children wonder if they’ll ever know sex again.

Your parents have kept their intimate rhythms from you, presumably, for years; for a single week you can accord them the same respect. Worst case scenario is 164 hours of abstinence that pay off orgasmically at the end, right? You’ll probably find time for a quickie while your forbears are out somewhere, though, or take a quiet ride while they’re sleeping, if you’re sure you can manage your soundtrack. Oh, to be a teenager again. The only rule when opportunity arises is that you both should be comfortable with it—if Mom and Dad on the mind is a libido killer for either of you, that person wins. Because if Mom and Dad on the (conscious) mind is a turn-on, take it to a therapist.

Now back to gratitude: as a frequent kvetcher, I’d be a hypocrite to preach thankfulness without expressing some myself. Of course I’m grateful for my patient, supportive husband, my brilliant, beautiful daughters, the rest of my family and friends, the food in my fridge, the roof over my head…. but that’s too easy. I asked you to consider the positive angle of a gripe—let’s see:

  • Vh-FUNNY-TURKEY-POSTER-TOFUI’m always cold in northern California…. but it’s not snowing!
  • I will never finish my novel…. but I don’t believe in any afterlife where I’ll care.
  • Although life often sucks, it is always finite.
  • Depression makes me interesting.
  • ADHD prevents me from wasting hours watching TV.
  • Marijuana is an easier prescription to fill here in the Bay Area than is Ritalin (I appreciate the ridiculous absence of irony).
  • I can call myself an advice columnist, however tenuous that claim may be.
  • I don’t have to put up a Christmas tree next month or buy anybody presents besides my kids.
  • The puppy is housebroken (mostly).
  • I’m not a turkey.

That’s ten! Not bad for a New Yorker who moved to the land where giant compost bins share driveways with hybrid SUV’s only a few months ago. I’ve gotta go whip up a batch of granola to accompany the tofurkey, so happy Thanksgiving, and remember: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are for amateurs—the real sales start December 26th.


What do you think?

About The Author

Judith Basya

Judith Basya is Heeb's Literary Editor. She writes an advice column (and an advice blog: www.asktinymom.com) so her psychology degree doesn't go to waste. If your problem can be solved in <140 characters, she's on Twitter. If it's complicated, please email Judith @ Heebmagazine.com.

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