May 23, 2012

Sex Education | What Kids Should Know

A couple weeks ago I tweeted about a little embarrassing situation that happened after my birthday date with my husband. We had spent the afternoon shopping, then off to a romantic dinner followed by a night out at the casino in Niagara Falls. He had planned the whole day as a continuous event – so I had to start by buying some new lingerie to wear that evening, followed by a dress, heels and accessories. Then, since we were not going home, I had to change into my date clothes “on the fly” so to speak.

Of course, this led to some challenges – all of which he knew it would – that saw me trying to change from my original dress into all of my new items, including the new bra and panties I had just purchased an hour earlier.

In order to accomplish all of this, I slipped into the back seat of our SUV and began to sort out exactly how I was to strip down to nothing but my wedding rings and into a whole new outfit. Fortunately I am still limber and creative enough for some back seat aerobics. Although, I’m pretty sure there were some people in the city bus that pulled up beside us at one point got a very interesting late afternoon display.

Dates with my husband are rarely boring or traditional.

I thought nothing of it as we continued throughout our plans and had a marvelous time, with some exceptionally intriguing and enlightening conversation – mostly around the subject of sex and fantasies.

The following day was much more “family-oriented” as my kids took me out for a birthday breakfast. On the way there, my youngest son passed over a pair of my thigh highs from the back seat – which I had obviously forgotten to put back into my travel bag during the previous day’s romp.

Anyway, I tweeted about the humourous little gaff, and my Twitter friend Paul asked how I explained the discovery to my son. I simply said that I am one of those Moms that is straight up with my children when it comes to subjects like dating, marriage and sex. I believe in being honest with them with they have important life questions, but I also believe in explaining it in a way that won’t leave them needing therapy later on.

And, as I explained that to Paul, he suggested I should write about why children should have a healthy perspective on sex and relationships.

I need to preface a lot of this with the fact that my children have a very traditional understanding of sex and marriage. There are several things that they do not know about, and I’m not sure I will ever be the one to explain it. For example, my website … and that my hubby and I have explored “friends with benefits” … and that Mommy also likes girls … and I have played around with a coworker while my hubby watched. You get the idea.

But even though I do believe in “tempering” what children know about sex and relationships, I do believe it is vitally important that they understand some aspects are very normal and healthy. Being secretive about “adult topics” leads children to being confused about their natural curiosities – and may lead them to seek that information from less-than-appropriate sources.

Sex should not be viewed as something dark and mysterious (until much later in life!). The challenge is always to explain it in a way that they can relate to; as opposed to be too coy or too scientific. And never with “lies.” Unless you have already planned for therapy sessions.

My husband grew up in a household where “sex” was only ever used as a way to determine if the next family pet was going to be a female or a male. I grew up in a household where my parents were a lot more forthcoming with the facts. But we also had farm animals and, as you can imagine, they were good for an education too.

Using that analogy, I would just rather my own children heard it from the horse’s mouth …

It doesn’t take much for any of us to look around and see where so many relationships are going wrong. And while I can’t always explain to my own children why people we know are going through a divorce, or why they argue about issues such as infidelity, what I can do is highlight the realities as to why my relationship with their father is strong. Part of that is explaining that even though we are parents, we are still lovers.

My kids already have a good idea of what the mechanics of traditional sex are all about … the birds and the bees …

What I hope more than just that is through seeing a level of affection and understanding of intimacy, my kids will recognize that a marriage involves way more than sharing a house and bank account. I like to think that we have accepted our responsibility as role models – because that is what we are – and shown them how a relationship contains mutual respect, consideration, compromise and commitment.

I like that my children get to see how my husband and I express love for each other as a couple. In a world where they see so much anger and hate already, they know that at home the emotions are more about love and caring for each other.

My children are now old enough to understand that when Mom and Dad go out on a date, it doesn’t mean grocery shopping.

So, when my children find a little trail of suggestive lingerie in the back seat of the family vehicle, I have no qualms about turning their youthful curiosity into prepubescent disgust with the knowledge that Mom might be a little tired, but she definitely had a good time!
Andee     xoxo


Jack and Jill said...

I remember getting a chuckle out of the tweet in question. Our daughter has stumbled upon things she probably shouldn't have, but she's two. As she gets older and more likely to ask questions, we'll do a better job keeping the adult items behind lock and key, but what I'd really like to do is, at some point when she's older, be able to address the issue with my child in an honest fashion.

We agree 100% that children should understand that sex is a normal, healthy part of life. We hope that by not presenting sex as something to be whispered about or ashamed of, we will foster an open communication that will lead her to have positive experiences and thus a happy life. We hope that when the time comes we will be able to address the topic with only moderate embarrassment.

Andee said...

I agree, there are certain ages where the knowledge of what a healthy sex life should be enough, as opposed to knowing exactly what kind of sex life Mom & Dad have. But I have never been the kind of person to "mislead" my children with old wives tales about storks and such. I think there is nothing with being honest with your child ... well, except with things like Santa and the Easter Bunny!

Anonymous said...

A lot of what you wrote I could have said myself. So true! I think it's healthy for the kids to know sex is happening. They don't need to know when we do it or which activities we're into, that's personal, but they do need to know that it is normal and good and a part of showing love and affection. When they're old enough they should also know that it's part of having fun together: the "pleasure" word.