Physical intimacy remains a tricky issue to discuss when you have a teenage daughter. Most times, parents and guardians wait until something prompts them to discuss intimacy. This should not be the case, we often wonder, what is the appropriate age to start discussing this topic with our daughter? Specialists say it is never too early to start the discussion, I say do not wait until it is too late.

While doing my daily rounds, I came across this question on Troubleshooter, an advice column that appears in the Japan News, and I felt it would be right to share this with parents, who may have been in this situation or find themselves edging towards the same.

The question reads: ‘I saw my teenage daughter in bed with her boyfriend, what should I do?’

I’m a company employee in my 40s with a daughter who’s a first-year student at a college-oriented high school. I saw her in her room in bed with her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend is in the same class as her, and they’ve been dating for half a year. He comes to our house several times a month.

When I happened to be passing by her bedroom, the door wasn’t completely closed so I saw the two of them through the gap. It was all so sudden that I didn’t know what to do, so I pretended like I hadn’t seen anything. I haven’t told my wife about it.

He is an honor student with top marks in his year, and he hopes to become a doctor. He always greets us properly and lives with his mother since his father died. Seeing him work so hard in such a situation reminds me of myself in my younger days, and I really want to support such a good kid. That is precisely why I am so confused about what to do.

Should I tell my daughter and wife what I witnessed? -R

And here is the response, from Masami Ohinata, a professor of developmental psychology at Keisen University’s graduate school in Tokyo.

Dear Mr. R:

I’m sure what you saw would’ve been a shock for any father of a daughter.

Physical intimacy is not something to find embarrassing, and it is a fundamental part of living, but it’s hard for parents to speak frankly to their children about something like this.

However, I think in this case you need to talk to the two teenagers as soon as possible. I know that your daughter and this boy are wonderful kids, but their ability to make sound decisions is still immature, and they are in adolescence where their interest in physical intimacy is still budding.

Why not start off by telling them you hope they will carefully cultivate their relationship? Tell them calmly but firmly that even though a teenage girl and boy might have intimacy if they’re in the same room with the door closed, it’s only natural for a father to worry about his daughter and the future of her and her boyfriend.

If you condemn them and keep an overly watchful eye on them, they will probably just hide what they’re doing even more and see each other outside your home. Instead, I think you should tell them that you welcome them into your home and hope to have some nice conversations over tea.

I think if you talk to them like this, this boy without a father may see you as a possible replacement father figure in his life. -Masami Ohinata, professor

We should all learn from this, if you have a teenage daughter or ward, whom you have trusted enough to allow visits from her boyfriends, then you should trust them enough to engage them in a discussion about intimacy issues and its effects.

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