Very embarrassed to discuss this issue, but simply, I have reason to believe my father has a slight sexual attraction to me and my sister. Growing up he was very touchy feely and he still is until this day. He will touch our butt and make comments about our breast. He always says it in a joking manner, even in front of our mother, and she doesn’t think much of it. It has become more of a problem for me as I have gotten older and I do not want that kind of attention from my father. It makes me very uncomfortable. This behavior isn’t incessant, but I still do not find it normal. I still have a good relationship with my dad, however, and go to him for emotional support. I just think his treatment toward my sister and I, no matter how casual it is, is normal to me at this point.

However, last night, he, my sister and I were making crank calls to our family members (out of boredom). He made up several names for the calls like one would naturally do. By the end of the night, he was already a little drunk and came into my room while I was in bed and laid down next to me and sort of spooned me. I asked him why he was doing that and he said “you don’t want to make love to [insert name here]?”

I have no idea if I am blowing this out of proportion. Perhaps my father does not see me sexually and is just more comfortable with joking about sex than I am. Perhaps subconsciously I have been taught by society to fear all men. Thank you for your time. (From the USA)

A:  It is important not to let this go — don’t minimize it. There are several things that aren’t okay, like your father touching your butt, talking about your breasts, and spooning you after drinking. None of these behaviors are acceptable, and the fact that you list your age as 23, and have been concerned about this for some time, means it is time to say something.

Talk to your father directly about this. Let him know it bothers you and needs to end. At this point, you setting the boundaries is important. I’d also encourage you to talk to your sister and tell her to do the same. Start here and continue to reinforce this boundary with him. If it continues please talk to a therapist. The find help tab at the top of this page will help you find someone in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral