I grew up in a very politically and religiously conservative environment. When I was a kid, sex was a “bad” word that we didn’t talk about. It was so bad, that many of the marriages that failed were due to porn addiction, affairs, and/or lack of sex. I can’t help but think that some of those marriages might have been saved if the topic wasn’t so taboo.
When my wife and I first got married, we were an instant family because my wife already had 2 kids. Even though we had both mostly escaped that ultra-conservative upbringing, my tendency was still to hide anything sexual from them. I was very protective of them online and part of that was a reaction to my own porn addiction and failures as a husband.
Fast-forward to today and we are now raising 2 teenagers and a 10-year old that is going on 18. Needless to say, our house can be a little chaotic at times. However, one of the most important things to my wife and I is to have open communication with our kids about everything. We do not want sex to be a taboo topic, so we answer their questions and make sure they are age-appropriately informed.
As an example, my son was recently hanging out in our room when my wife and I were trying to have some alone time. He didn’t want to go to bed and he didn’t want to leave our room. So I told him, “Son, it’s intimacy Tuesday, so you need to get out.” As you can imagine, his reaction was a little shocked and horrified, but it worked and he left the room. We had a new inside joke and we use it often. Including the fact that any day could be Intimacy Tuesday (just like Taco Tuesday and they both make me happy!), and he needed to let us have our alone time. The oldest has no problem with leaving us alone and wanted no part in our gross joke, but we still use it.
Let me be clear, we do not announce to our kids when we have sex. It is an inside joke that helps us open those channels of communication, plus it’s really fun to say.
It is our responsibility as parents to raise our kids so they are functioning, responsible adults. We will make mistakes. We will screw them up, at least a little, but we should still try our best. After all, we brought them into the world and it is our responsibility to make sure they know the difference between right and wrong. Don’t let your fear of the talk keep you from being open with them. They need to understand it, how it works, and the dangers of it as well. They need to understand that their parents should have sex and that loving each other is a beautiful thing. Don’t hide it, or they will find out on their own and their source(s) will likely not be healthy or safe.