Tonight’s the night. You tucked your children into bed. You made sure they had everything they could possibly need. You shut the doors, and thought “Finally!”
Finding time for sex is already a big accomplishment when you’re a busy parent. But what if with all your precautions, your child catches you doing it?
Most of the time, parents aren’t prepared to talk about the birds and the bees with their young children. And don’t worry, when it comes to your little ones, you probably don’t have to go there just yet.
Instead, here’s what you can do when your child catches you having sex.
Remove Negative Emotions from Your Reactions
Sex with your partner is intimate and private, and if we get caught doing it, it’s embarrassing and super awkward for all parties involved. This might be because we continue to associate shame with both our bodies and sex.
Maybe sex was a taboo subject for you growing up, and your parents never talked about it with you. That might be why you continue to feel negative emotions like shame, embarrassment, and even anger, when your sexuality is exposed.
Do you want to pass on these same negative associations to your child?
Think about it. If your child – who doesn’t even know what sex is yet – see you having sex, and then sees you reacting with a slew of negative emotions, they will naturally come to perceive sex as shameful, and as something to keep hidden and secretive.
To prevent such an early, negative sexual mentality, try not to punish your child or react negatively.
Don’t Ignore the Situation
The easiest thing to do is to just ignore the awkward incident, and to put your kids back to bed and hope they forget about it.
But by ignoring this, you can make it seem like it’s something wrong. Your actions may also imply that your child doesn’t deserve an explanation for something she’s probably never seen before.
We’ll talk about how you can talk about it with them below. But for now, just remember to not ignore it!
You probably don’t think you owe your child an apology. After all, they’re the one who found you. Even though they’re your children, they’re still little individuals who deserve love and respect, too.
So, Maureen Clancy, LCSW and the author of The Super Soothing Companion, suggests that you let them know that even though they saw what was meant to be something special for just you and your partner, they didn’t do anything wrong by seeing you together.
Let Your Child Know That No One Was Getting Hurt
For an ignorant child, it might be very confusing to see two naked bodies together making love, not to mention to hear the sounds of sex.
So, it’s important to allow your child to ask any questions or share his or her confusion about the situation. Try to let them know that you and your partner were not hurting each other, and that it is a safe way for adults to show that they love each other.
How Honest is Too Honest When It Comes to Sex Conversations?
If your child is very young, you probably don’t want to go into the whole birds and bee’s discussion. The good news is that you probably don’t have to either.
One way to manage a conversation with your toddler or preschooler is to simply ask them what they thought you were up to. This can help you navigate your conversation and base your discussion on their level of understanding.
Dr. Richard Horowitz, a parenting coach and the author of Family Centered Parenting, suggests that you tell your children that when mommy and daddy are physical together, it’s one way for adults to show how much they love each other.
The key word here should be “adults”, because children could easily think that if they love someone, too, they could roll around in the hay just like mommy and daddy did.
So, try to place loving sex within the context of a loving relationship between two adult people.
Keep It Short and Sweet
We know it’s not a good idea to ignore the situation, or to fill the conversation with negativity. But it’s also important to remember to keep your shame-free conversation to the point.
Then, move on. And pour yourself a well-deserved cocktail.
Love Your Child Like Crazy
You may feel embarrassed, angry, ashamed, silly or frustrated with your child. But these emotions won’t get you – or him / her – anywhere, will it?
Instead, work to mindfully show them love and acceptance. The best way to do this is to first show that very love and acceptance to yourself.
Sure, you got caught. Yes, it was embarrassing. But it’s done, so look back on the whole thing with a wise smile, and be smart about it the next time you and your husband want to make love.
When you love and accept who you are – along with all your sexuality – it’s so much easier to scoop them up in your arms and let them know that they’re loved, safe and welcome in your life.
Be Smart About Your Next Sex Session
Getting caught having sex might put a damper on your libido, but setting up some boundaries might help you try it again.
Here are some top tips:
- Lock your door. If your child needs you, they’ll let you know, and you can make yourself look presentable before you help them.
- Make an effort and just be quiet!
- This may be wishful thinking, but if you don’t feel right about locking your door (especially if your child is young), create a household rule that says you should knock on any closed door before going into the room.
- Invest in a white noise machine that can help cover any love-making sounds.
- Have sex when they’re not at home. Maybe this means when they’re at school, or at grandma’s or a friend’s house.
- Learn to have quick sex. The shorter the deed, the less chance you’ll get caught.
- When we try to hide something, what happens? Your kids always find out. It doesn’t matter if it’s chocolate, ice cream or potato chips. They always find you!
The same goes for sex. So, why not tell your kids you and your partner are doing something “fun” in the bedroom, like cleaning. They’re probably not going to be so interested in walking in on that.
No matter what you do, the chances of your kids catching you having sex are pretty high. So, be prepared to talk about it and move on. Because at the end of the day (or night!), that’s what everyone wants.