Sex and parenting. One usually causes the other but it’s a topic sure to create a bit of discomfort, for everyone involved.
The idea of parents having sex in the house while children are there is often very secretive. Of course, mum and dad are “doin’ it” but it’s usually late at night when the kids are fast asleep, with the lights off and a muted soundtrack. It’s nothing like the days of old but it’s how it has to happen now that you have children. God forbid they know you still have sex!
But why? What would happen if we treated sex differently and raised our children thinking it just another normal part of the parent’s relationship? Sex is a natural way for two people to express their love for one another.
Should we raise our children to know that their parents are in love and they want to show it? Does raising children in an open, honest environment make them more comfortable with themselves and their own sex lives as they grow older? We all want our children to learn about trusting, respectful, consenting relationships so should we remove the cloak (so to speak) and just ask them for privacy because we’re doing it? Let them see that it’s normal, that it’s important and that it’s just another aspect of a loving relationship?
Does raising children in an open, honest environment make them more comfortable with themselves and their own sex lives as they grow older?
We all want our children to learn about trusting, respectful, consenting relationships so should we remove the cloak (so to speak) and just ask them for privacy because we're doing it? Should we let them see that it's normal, that it's important, and that it's just another aspect of a loving relationship? Of course, you wouldn't have your children in the room while you're going for it but should you just be more honest about what you're actually doing in there on a Sunday morning with the door closed?
When everything happens behind closed doors, their learning has to come from somewhere else. As a society, we are facing huge issues because of the impact that young people's exposure to porn is having. Girls see women in porn and believe they have to act in the same manner and boys expect girls to do things that they see on the screen. The relationship between the actors is not normal, nor is it an accurate portrayal of what does, and should go on in a loving relationship.
Stephanie DeBree, a Sydney-based relationships counsellor, says that often it's our own hang ups which prevent us from being open with our children about sex.
"Sex is one of those things that a lot of us [parents] just don't know how to handle when it comes to our children," she says.
"I would suggest that rather than being openly vocal about the fact that you're having sex, you instead show your children a loving, intimate relationship in action in other ways."
DeBree says that this should be done from an early age and suggests openly hugging and kissing your partner in front of the children.
"The issue of asking for privacy is obviously one for each individual family but as children get older you can ask for some boundaries and respect while they are at home. If supervision isn't so much of an issue for older children, sure, have some time in your room with your partner and ask the children to entertain themselves."
"As they get older, they can draw their own conclusions about what goes on in there without you having to spell it out to them."
In doing so, DeBree says you can create a situation where your children know that you're having sex but the need is not there for an open declaration every time you do it.
"You also need to respect your children's feelings about sex and as they grow and develop they will be going through their own awkward phase of learning. Parents need to appreciate that too," she says.
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