An anonymous user opened the debate on the question and answer site Quora, saying: ‘Is it wrong for me (a mother) to sleep naked with my 16 year old son?’
Her query met with a resounding ‘yes’ from everyone who replied, with several warning that her actions could be interpreted as child abuse.
More than 500,000 people have viewed the question, the authenticity of which can’t be verified.
Gautham Pinnamareddy was one of those who stepped in to advise the woman, saying she was blurring the boundaries of the mother and son relationship.
‘This is a most awkward thing to do,’ he warned. ‘I don’t understand your intention behind sleeping with your son, naked.
But, once son reaches his teens, he gets strong feelings towards girls. Some times he may forget you as a mother.
‘This could leads to serious consequences which make you guilty later. Please avoid sleeping naked along with your son.’
Shannon Giles said that it may be viewed differently in other cultures, but in American society it’s ‘f***** up’.
‘If your son were to casually mention to someone (friend, teacher, relative) that you and he share a bed and that you also are naked this person could potentially cause a LOT of legal issues for you, at least here in the US.
‘The Child Protection Agency wouldn’t think it was harmless, nor would a judge, nor any psychiatrist.
‘You could possibly be arrested for child indecency and put into prison and be forced to register as a sex offender.
‘Even if it’s not a sexual act, optics in this case would matter. Is it really worth all that? Just put some damn jammies on or sleep in separate rooms.’
She added that the mother should take her son’s feelings into consideration.
Cautioning that she risks scarring him for life, she added that he could end up with issues surrounding boundaries, forming relationships and carry a lot of ‘shame, embarrassment, and guilt’.
Chic Mendoza said that she was around nine years too late asking the question as it becomes inappropriate once a child reaches school age.
‘This is because while you may choose to raise your family in a certain way, at school age he starts to interact with other members of society, other than just his family,’ she said.
‘Therefore, he must act within the boundaries set by society. Sleeping NAKED with your pre-teen or teenage son is inappropriate in our society.’
However, she actually thanked the mother for asking the question and admitting her uncertainties about boundaries.
‘Even if you are uncomforatble sleeping with your clothes on, it is an adjustment you have to make to accept that you already have a young man in your household,’ she added.
‘I hope he grows up to be a fine young man! Don’t distort his values!… Please put clothes on.’
Christopher Richards wondered if there was perhaps more to the story than the woman had revealed.
‘The initial reaction is, WHY do you need to sleep in the same bed with your 16 year old son in YOUR home, does he have medical issues?’ he asked.
‘Do you only have one bedroom in the apartment? If that is the case then you should be in single beds, albeit it the same room.’
He said that even if her son has a problem such as severe asthma or epilepsy that requires a rapid response, she could wire up a baby monitor or two way microphone .
‘You can hear if he is in difficulties or he buzz you if he needs help,’ she said.
He continued: ‘As for the nudity element,why are you not wearing night attire? I do not think that it is appropriate for either of you to be naked in the same bed.
‘Certainly it does appear to have over-tones of incest.’
Matthew Kuzma declared there was no problem with sleeping naked – providing you’re not sharing a bed with a teenager.
‘I’m a strong proponent of the notion that nudity is not the same as sex, but at that age, both of you should want some space apart,’ he said.
‘Even if you don’t, it might be best to pretend for the sake of social expectations.’
Roy Martin thought the practice was so beyond the norm, he questioned whether the woman was really sincere.
‘I rise to the bait anyway because I find it so fascinating how issues like this can seem so vastly different from culture to culture,’ he said.
‘Among nudists, for instance, nakedness would be seen as no big deal.
Clearly, in our culture this is a really poor choice. I’ve no idea how it would show up in a culture where nudity weren’t so closely tied to sexuality.
‘But for better or worse in our culture the two are inextricably interwoven. I cannot imagine how traumatic it would be for a teen boy or girl to see a parent through a sexual lens.’