June 22, 2011 -- Patty Skudlarek strives to be a responsible parent. That's why she says she told her 18-year-old son that if he wants to have sex, not only is she okay with it, but she'd prefer that he do it in the family home.
"I'd rather he … do it here than somewhere else," Skudlarek told "Good Morning America." "With the kids having sex at home, it's a safer environment, because, you know, it's clean … and usually the place they keep the condoms are in their bedroom.
"So then they're close by. And it's just ... an environment they're familiar with, as opposed to a motel, a car or a park, or wherever they're doing it, these days."
Skudlarek isn't alone. The Internet message boards are abuzz, telling the story of a small but growing number of parents who are allowing their teenagers to have sex at home.
Heather Blackmore is aware of the chatter. An article she posted this month about a woman who allows her teenage son to have sex with his girlfriend in his bedroom set off a firestorm, with some accusing the mother of running a "cheap motel."
Blackmore says that was not the woman's intent.
"I think … it was more of the attitude, 'Well, kids are going to do it anyway. Why not make it so that it-- it's in a comfortable, safer environment,' as opposed to in a woods," she said.
Some parents – like Chloe Foreht – say allowing teens to have sex at home ensures they have somewhere to run if anything goes wrong. She allowed her 17-year-old daughter to engage in a sexual relationship with her longtime boyfriend in the family home.
"I was okay with her having sex in my home because of the relationship she was in, because of the teenager that she is … her boyfriend would sleep over probably once a week. And I was comfortable with that," Foreht said.
She joined three other parents of teens to discuss the issue with "Good Morning America" contributor Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Ritchie Steinmann, the father of two teens, was against the idea.
"I draw the assimilation between sex in the home and drinking … You don't drink in my home. You know, you don't bring home a girl or a boy, you know, and close the door and run around in my home. You know, it's the decency and sanctity of what we call home," he said.
" I think that they're really completely different issues. And I think that, you know, my daughter … does have respect for our home."
She also said she believed that hidden sex could be more risky.
"If they're having it outside the home … who knows who they're having it with? You know, it's -- there's a bigger chance, I think, of less safe sex, maybe more different partners. You know, not understanding that it is something that is okay if you're doing it with somebody you really care about and you want to do it and, you know, you're not all drunk at a party."
Some of the panelists seemed to long for earlier times when teens would steal away to have sex in the back seat of cars.
"I'm not sure that I personally would feel comfortable being at home knowing that my teenager is having sex in the next room," Carolyn Meyer-Wartels, who has two teens, said, laughing. "And I think that parents do need to create boundaries in the home and say things like, 'I don't think you're ready to be doing this. I don't think you're ready to be doing this here or anywhere, for that matter. '"
Steinmann worried other about consequences.
Stained for Life?
"My biggest fear for other parents who would permit it would be that that young boy, young girl is pretty much stained for life as, you know, a slut."
"GMA" also talked with a panel of teens and they were both intrigued and horrified at the idea of being permitted to have sex at home.
"I feel like sex should just be kind of a thing that just happens. Not like, 'Oh, if you do it you have to do there or there," Robert Jutkiewicz, 15, said.
Jutkiewicz said he thought it would be "strange" to have parents there and the experience wouldn't be as special. "If the parents' up there and, like, you're just going to be thinking about it the whole time," he said.
Tatiana Flowers, 19, said she would find it "awkward" to have sex in her home, even if her mother allowed it.
The female teen panelists also said that having parents who said 'yes' to sex in the home would make it more difficult to say 'no' to eager boyfriends.
"If your boyfriend knows or whoever knows that there is a perfectly open available house I think that takes away one of your big excuses," Kelly Lund, 17, said.
"Yeah," Grace McVey, 17, added. "Like, how do you say no? Like, a lot of times if they're saying, 'Let's do it. Let's do it.' Like, 'It's time,' whatever you blame it on your parents. You're like, 'No, I can't. My parents would kill me.' But if that whole thing is gone, like, what do you say?"
Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child psychiatrist, said as long as the teens involved are of legal age, he finds nothing wrong with the idea of them having sex at home.
"At first it sounds shocking but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense … they're going to be having sex somewhere but why not at home … chances are the sexual experience will be safer and will not be done in secrecy and guilt," he said.
As for Skudlarek, she says she's given the matter a lot of thought and that she's made the right decision for her family.
"With my son having sex in my house, I'm comfortable with it … Maybe he does want to, maybe he doesn't. But at least he has that option. He knows he can be here to have the sex, and be safer that way," she said.