Inspired by this article by Alice Dreger, which I also shared to Facebook and Twitter. See my FB post for the funniest response ever, mostly because it’s from Dan.
About once or twice a week, Dan and I slip away on a weekend afternoon. We lock the bedroom door and get busy.
And, yes, that’s a euphemism. We’re not cleaning our room or changing the sheets. We’re “changing the sheets.”
Sometimes we time it just right, and the children are otherwise distracted enough to not knock at the door for the duration. More often though, we will hear little feet coming up the stairs — it’s usually Michael at this point — a jiggle of the door handle, then a knock. “Is Mommy in dere?”
We usually claim that we are talking or getting dressed. We ask for about five minutes. (It takes longer than five minutes.) The need on our child’s part is usually not urgent enough to warrant a cessation of activity on our part.
Dan comments sometimes, afterwards, that we are only going to be able to “get away” with this for so long. Flora is already 9. At some point, she and her sister are going to figure out what we are actually doing in there.
To which I say, “So what?”
I was probably 12 when I figured out that *gasp* my parents still had sex with each other! And not to have babies! I felt a little weird about it, sure. It’s weird to think about your parents having sex divorced from procreation. I’m sure Flora, Kate, and Michael are going to feel weird about it, too.
And while while my sex life is none of my children’s business, I think it’s important to communicate that sexual intimacy is important in long-term, loving relationships. And that sex is supposed to feel good, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. The best sex I’ve ever had has been with Dan, and not just the old in-and-out part (although that feels damn good, too). One of the reasons we take the time to go to our bedroom and lock the door is not just so we can make each other feel good. It’s to renew our emotional bonds as well, to acknowledge that we are partners in more than child-rearing and bill paying.
I am fine with my children learning the basics from sex ed and health ed classes. I am not shy about answering their questions about their bodies in age-appropriate ways. I will be sure to communicate to them about why the Catholic church urges its adherents to save sex for marriage.
Sex is a big deal. But it’s not such a big deal that we should scare our children about it, or make it into something embarrassing or dirty. It’s a big deal, and we should make sure our children understand that it’s a big responsibility. That feeling good is okay — it’s great! — it’s something to strive for within our relationships. Feeling good and making your partner feel good is a big deal. It’s not something to take lightly, and it’s not something to be terrified of.
And while it is private, it’s not something to hide. I am glad that Dan and I are still attracted to one another, that we still value each other’s needs and bodies enough to be intimate. We made each other promises on the day we married:
“With this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee worship; with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.”
And we will keep those promises until death do us part.
Why do we hesitate to tell our children about the good parts of sex?