After sharing this story with close friends, I’ve been told that I must blog about it! Okay, okay. Here’s the story (told in my fiction-writing voice):
Climax, here I come. My husband brings me to the peak of pleasure — not like Mount Everest, but more like Mount St. Helens. Heat rises through my body and I erupt in a series of delighted noises as we reach the pinnacle together. We collapse onto the sheets, panting heavily and happily. Dear God, what an amazing gift this is.
Descending back to hum-drum home life, we look at the clock and conclude that we need to clean up and go to sleep. It’s seriously late. We’d worked hard to get our kids in bed tonight. They were at least an hour past the normal bedtime and close to getting their precious necks wrung. Of course, now I picture them tucked under their hairy blankets with fluttering eyelids and cracked mouths, as innocent as cherubim.
I rise and use the bathroom, while my husband washes his hands.
My ear twitches at the sound. What was that?
The tapping repeats. “Are you okay?” A small voice seeps through the bedroom door.
Oh. My. God. Really, God — did you know our kid was awake?
“Just a minute,” I answer, a new wave of heat rising in me, this one like a lightning bolt sizzling through my nervous system. I glance at my husband with eyes wider than volcano craters. “Oh my gosh,” I whisper.
He smiles and shrugs. Men. He could probably have sex with our kid knocking on our door the whole time.
“I heard something,” the small voice continues. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes, we’re fine,” I say — thinking as I speak, sound normal, sound normal, sound normal . . .
I shimmy into my pajamas and open the door. The knob clicks as the door unlocks.
My jammied kid stands there, looking sleepy and concerned. “Maybe it was the cat, but it didn’t really sound like it.”
My stomach flutters. Thank God for pets. “Well, the cat is in here,” I say.
“Oh, I guess that’s what it was.”
“You need to head back to bed.” I pray that my tone is no more than a 2.0 on the Richter scale of anxiety. “Good night.”
My child’s perplexed expression melts into relief with my reassurance and embrace. I tuck my child into bed and scurry back to the bedroom.
My husband awaits — tucked under the covers, looking smug and satisfied. I know what he’s thinking: Who cares who heard? I made her bellow like a banshee.
I roll my eyes. Men.
There’s actually more to this story. The next day when this child described the event to an older sibling . . . well, let’s just say the older sibling was less willing to blame the cat.
I fully expect the kid who overheard the sexual interlude to one day realize what was really going on. If the child then asks for brain bleaching or therapy, my response will be, “Hey, we told you to go to bed. Maybe you should have listened.”
But all of that is okay because yes, kid, your mommy and daddy have sex.
In fact, it’s reassuring to children to know that their parents experience a loving, and even private, relationship that establishes the foundation of their family. They don’t want the details, but them knowing that you have sex is a good thing.
How do you show your children that you delight in God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage? Without revealing details that are nobody’s business?
Flirt in front of your kids. It’s no big surprise to older children that you are sexually intimate if they catch you smiling, winking, touching, and kissing in front of them. You need not have a make-out session in their presence for them to get the hint. They can see from small gestures that you desire one another, that you have chemistry and romance, that your deeper marital connection trumps the latest relationship drama at their school. As you demonstrate that romance doesn’t die when you say “I do,” you’re subtly communicating the healthy message that mommies and daddies have sex.
Carve out alone time. Let your children know that you need time to be alone as a couple. When they are very young, this may involve getting them to bed early or bartering babysitting with other couples or sending them to grandma’s once a week. As they get older, you can simply tell them, “Mom and Dad need some time alone.” Send them to their bedrooms or to watch a TV show or movie while you and your honey retire to the bedroom. Older children will probably figure out at some point what you’re actually doing in there, but they don’t want to hear about it. Most will happily get out of your way. Still, they are getting the message that dads and moms have a unique relationship apart from the kids they raise and that it’s good for husbands and wives to stay connected this way.
Don’t feel guilty. If they do hear you or — heaven forbid — walk in on you, don’t apologize. At least don’t apologize for engaging in sex with your spouse. If you forgot to lock the door, fine; be sorry for that. But treat your sex life with your spouse as a matter-of-fact reality. As in this is what moms and dads do. Sex within marriage is not something to feel guilty about. Your kids should know that this is a normal, God-designed aspect of marriage. You don’t want them to feel that sex is a guilty act . . . because it isn’t when engaged in according to God’s plan. Of course, it isn’t a public act, so do your best to keep it private between you and your spouse, but if your child does get the notion that something was going on, don’t feel like you have to explain or feel guilty. You didn’t do anything wrong. (In fact, if they overheard you, maybe you did it really, really right.)
Use euphemisms. As I’ve already stressed, that you have sex is fine for your kids to know; how you have sex is not what they should or want to know. If asked directly by your kids what was going on, a raised eyebrow might suffice. They don’t need details. They don’t want details. They will choke to death on embarrassment if they get details. Euphemisms are a lovely thing when dealing with this issue because your child can know that you were engaged in sex without it slapping him/her in the face. “We were having ‘alone time'” is a perfectly good answer. Or come up with your own euphemism.
It’s healthy for your children to know that sexual intimacy flourishes in marriage. When you and your spouse hint at a quality sex life in marriage, it protects them against societal messages that sex is for singles or that sex drives die after the wedding. Research shows otherwise, but they’ll believe what they see with their own eyes even more.
No, I don’t plan to explain the particulars to my child. Yet, I’m pretty sure my children know that their father and their mother have a physical desire for one another and that we enjoy sleeping together. How much sleeping and how much other activity goes on in our bed is a private affair.
But yes, kid, your mommy and daddy have sex.