Kids and sex. Two things we all have as parents and probably don’t want in the same sentence. As parents, we have to navigate our adult life in the bedroom around our family life that takes up all the rest of the house, and when we least expect it, also the bedroom. Kids barge in; kids hear things they weren’t meant to, and kids sure as heck ask questions. As parents whether poly or monogamous, all we can do is try to take it one day at a time while trying to keep an active sex life and a modicum of decency for our children.
For example, the other night we all sat down for dinner and discussed our days as we tend to do. My eldest piped up about being afraid of scary movies and turned to me and said ,
“Daddy must have showed you a scary movie, I heard you scream the other night,”
I turned six shades of crimson while Allan and I tried not to bust out laughing. What do you say to that? No honey, Daddy was just showing me a really good time? And what of the future, try to tone it down, get a hotel? As they get older, I can only imagine more questions and raised eyebrows. I recall when I was growing up we all wanted to imagine our parents only had sex as many times as their number of children. Of course we all know, or hope, we have more active sex lives than that. My kids are pretty little so as of yet there isn’t much else to do or say, except maybe wish we had a bigger house and soundproof ceilings.
I think many of us grown-ups have shadowed and purposefully half forgotten memories of walking in on our parents once or twice in our youths. You try to wait until the kids sleeping, or sneak off for a quick quickie while a movie is on, but inevitably at some point someone is going to want you while you’re trying to get some. Parents turn to door locks, and sitters for the kids while they go off for the night searching for that elusive privacy. What makes it an even stranger question is what if the person you’re naked with isn’t even the child’s mom or dad? At my house, we have not yet engaged in sex with anyone besides each other under our roof, but it’s bound to happen and raise some pretty big questions.
There are a number of poly people who would behave just as anyone else in a marriage, that sex is natural and adult and things get explained as they come up. Sex can be addressed as an intimate activity between adults and the partners involved need not be questioned if the kids weren’t instilled with a ‘one and only’ idea in the first place. I am not quite sure I’m in this camp yet, but I can see the draw. Just as we all can feel the pull to just normalize sex; people could also feel the pull to normalize relationships in general. If little Timmy runs into his mom fooling around on the couch with her buddy Scott, the adults quickly pull themselves together and he’s sat down for a ‘sex talk’. Does he question the fact that it was Scott and not Daddy? I’d like to think, that we could raise children that we could tell “there are some things adults do together that are not for children, and you’ll understand it when you’re older” and it’s not even about poly. Single parents must have lovers by at times, and I think as long as you aren’t bringing home a string of men and women with constant run ins, the kids are alright.
In theory, that’s the place I want to be. Like any parent, I want to figure out the best way to talk about sex with my children as they age. To have cool and calm answers about sights and noises and stuff I’m trying to keep behind closed doors. I want to tell my daughters they can engage in activities with boys when they are ready and old enough to handle the emotions and the same to my son and instill in him a respect for women. I want them to grow up thinking sex is lovely and natural and not to be ashamed of. The start to that is not being ashamed of my own sex life. So the little guy heard me scream, embarrassing yes, but heck his dad’s awesome. I’d rather he’s questioning something related to passion that he should not have heard than if our house was filled with screams of anger between his father and I.
Right now, I’m still a little nervous to engage in activities in the house with my two partners that are not my husband. While I want the kids to have this normalcy, this “sex is ok” outlook, I don’t really know how they’d react. They are just coming up to the cusp of knowing anything naughty is going on, but I’m starting to think maybe I just need to make it all normal like any parent whether poly, mono, or single would do. They’re little, I’ve got time. As questions come up, as we may relax and have the occasional encounter at home with a well-known partner, we can limit any exposure as anyone would and figure out what to say and do along with all the other men and women trying to be adults and parents at the same time.
(Image: Getty Images)