Dear Straight Talk: I'm 17 with a 12-year-old brother who I love very much. I've always been a good big sister to him and he comes to me for consolation and advice. We have to share a bedroom and seeing each other nude has never been an issue. However, with his puberty, everything has changed. I've seen Straight Talk columns from younger brothers complaining that seeing their older sisters nude causes them arousal and terrific guilt. However, I'm the one feeling the guilt because I'm finding his inadvertent arousals from seeing me a turn-on. I know that we shouldn't see each other nude anymore, but because I'm turned on, I can't bring myself to do anything about it. I tell myself there's no harm in my thoughts since I would never actually seduce him. What should I do? — Big Sister
Gregg, 22: Whoa. Even thoughts of incest are inappropriate. Hang a curtain in the middle of the room. Quickly. And, geez, get a boyfriend!
Katelyn, 19: Change in the bathroom! And find a therapist to help you end these thoughts.
Nicole, 23: Some people we just CANNOT be intimate with, such as teachers, married people, family members, etc. When I have a forbidden attraction, I tell myself, ‘no,’ and set up ways to assist myself. For instance, if a song triggers something, I stop listening to it. If I have photos, I throw them away. If I have to see the person often, I avoid one-on-one interaction. In your case, get a partition for your room. You are a young adult and deserve your privacy. The most important thing is telling yourself, ‘NO.’
Ochatre, 23: Sexual feelings between members of the opposite sex are normal. If left unchecked, however, they often result in sexual relations. My best advice is to separate your room and return to seeing your brother as a brother.
Christina, 20: Think of this not as attraction to your brother, but as attraction to his physical changes. You're both at the age where you can become sexually aroused. Thus, it is not appropriate to keep changing in front of each other. Since you share the room, set up a no-changing rule. Take the initiative and leave the room when he is changing and use the bathroom for your own.
Dear Big Sister: I'm glad you intend to control your actions. However, you are obviously naive to how thoughts create mood and transfer to others suggestively without words. This is nothing to play around with. Sibling incest happens and it causes horrendous life-long pain and damage. In this case, should you lose control, you could rightly be considered a sex offender.
I know you can get past this or you wouldn't have written. Humans are extremely vulnerable to sexual impulses and we often need more than willpower to control them. Nicole gives great examples of “exterior” assistance. For your case, I recommend a room divider. Tack a sheet to your ceiling NOW. Just tell your parents you needed your privacy. I think you can manage your thoughts from there and it’s good practice to do so (one method: when a negative mental image comes in, immediately make it small, dark, and blurry, and replace it with a big, bright positive image). If you still can’t control them, see a counselor. — Lauren
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