The thought of one’s parents having sex is supposed to send every child into spasms of retching. But I think every kid, even if they’re grossed out, will be secretly happy that their parents actually like each other enough to still want to do that.
So we owe it to our kids to have great sex lives with our husbands! After all, let’s face it: the vast majority of messages that kids hear about sex are something like: “Don’t even think about it!” As I researched my new book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I came across woman after woman who relayed something like this:
Sex was never talked about in my home except to say “don’t do it”. I spent my whole pre-married life avoiding sex and trying so hard not to think about it. It was something bad. Then I got married and the switch was really hard to make. I’m still very embarrassed about sex in general.
Every youth rally I’ve ever been to included a talk on purity. Parents are worried about purity. Pastors are worried about purity. But if we’re not giving kids the other side of the equation–that when you do make love in a committed relationship, it is AWESOME!–then they can easily develop almost an abhorrence of sex.
How do you make sex into something positive?
1. Smooch Every Chance You Get
Kiss your hubby–in front of the kids! My daughters’ friend Kaila once confessed that she was always a little worried about walking into our kitchen in case “Mr. and Mrs. Gregoire were making out in there.” My girls laughed along, but I know they took it as a badge of honor. Their parents loved each other, and that gives them an amazing sense of security. Mom and Dad still are hot for each other. It’s great modeling. (And if you’re not really a touchy person, read this.)
2. Talk About Sex as Something Positive
Spend time with your teens talking any chance you can get. You can’t force a teen to talk, but you can create low-stress environments where conversation is more likely. Many parents find their best conversations are in the car, when you’re playing chauffeur. Or perhaps take walks after dinner, or head out to Dairy Queen.
We’ve created these opportunities to let the kids vent about mistakes they see friends making. Perhaps not surprisingly, sex does come up in conversation quite a bit. And I’ve been giving them the message, over and over, that sex in the back seat of someone’s car will never feel as wonderful as it does when you’re married, you’re committed to one another, and you’re safe and cherished.
Perhaps you’re also giving your children the message “Wait–because it’s worth it!” That’s good. That’s better than just “don’t do it!” But unless that “wait, because it’s worth it” is accompanied by actual evidence that it is worth it, your kids may start to believe the culture that tells them how great sex is now, rather than your parents who say the words but don’t walk the walk. So while talking is beneficial, it needs to be accompanied by this scary attitude shift:
3. Don’t Keep it a Secret that You Have Sex
We try to be quiet as mice. We purchase WD-40 by the case to make sure the bed doesn’t squeak. But honestly, if your child happens to know what’s going on behind that closed door, is that really such a horrible thing?
One friend confided in me about an episode one night when she and her husband were enjoying quite a vigorous time–and we’ll leave it at that. But when the action was over, and they were snuggling, they heard their daughter Vanessa’s music way too loud. Sean got his pants back on, stepped out in the hallway, and bellowed, “Vanessa, how many times do we have to tell you to keep your music down?” She bellowed back, “Dad, it’s this loud for a reason! Like, ICK!”
For many of us, that would be mortifying–to be caught by your own kids. Yet why is that? If sex is beautiful in a marriage, and is a good thing, then if the kids happen to suspect what’s going on, that should not be a cause for concern. It should just be more evidence that marriage is good–and sex can be great within marriage.
I’m certainly not saying you should advertise it to your kids. I’m not saying you should make a big production out of it–“Well, girls, Daddy and I are going upstairs now”, wink wink. But at some point kids will get to the age where they’ll start to suspect, and likely start to catch on. That doesn’t mean you have to double down and become even more secretive. It just means that you should act normally, and they may just learn the truth. And that’s okay.
I heard of one couple who told their teenage children, “On Friday nights, you probably want to be out of the house.” And then they added, “And be in your rooms by 9:30 with the door closed. It’s for your own good.” The kids got the message. And everyone was fine with it.
Nevertheless, when I was researching my book, one of my saddest findings was that about 40% of married couples make love less than once a week. Once kids come, sex goes.
Ladies, I think we have it backwards. When we’re moms, we need sex just for relaxation and to help us sleep better. We need to reconnect with our husbands. And we need to give our kids a great example that sex is something positive. So stop fretting over your kids finding out about your sex life, and start praying that they secretly may!
What do you think? Can you make that attitude shift? Or is that just too hard? Let me know!