We all love reading about sex, thinking about sex, and looking forward to sex when we are in the “grown up, but not quite married” stage of life. If most people were honest, they would say that they spend considerable time pondering the idea before getting married. For as much as we naturally like to think about sex, we probably don’t like to think about teaching our kids about sex someday. (Did you just cringe? Or is that so far in the future you can’t even imagine it yet? Either way, the day could be coming, so it’s not a bad idea to think about it. ~smile~)
How did your parents teach you about sex? Did they give you a booklet to read? Did they depend on the school system to educate you? Did they assume you’d figure it out? Did they guard you from anything which might make you wonder about sex? Or, did they sit you down (one or both of them) and tell you the facts of life?
Even though many of us learned about the mechanics of sex from outside influences and friends, our parents or caregivers had a significant role to play in the development of our feelings about sex, and they did a lot to shape our expectation of what is “normal.”
The Cosby Show is one of my favorite shows of all time. Their parenting skills were top notch, but they had a script and so did their children. But, let’s pretend for a moment that Cliff and Claire Huxtable were as perfect as their characters were, and let’s glean from their example. Though the show was never graphic or inappropriate, we all knew that Cliff and Claire had a great affection for each other and an abundant sex life. Their kids knew it too. Why? Not because they talked about it with them, or because the kids saw anything they were not supposed to see. They knew because their parents showed generous amounts of affection to each other. They weren’t embarrassed to kiss in front of the kids, giggle, and tickle each other in the “public” areas of their home – and as Theo put it, “they were all over each other.”
One episode which I always go back to in my mind was when Theo got in trouble with the law for riding in a car with a friend who did not have a driver’s license. As Cliff and Claire were trying to deal with their anger towards Theo, they ended up in an argument that lasted all night and much of the next day. Even though Theo was anxiously awaiting his fate, he and the other children were concerned about their parents’ unnatural coolness towards each other. Thankfully, the fight did not last long and they made up by the time Claire got home from work the next day. As Theo walked into the house, he witnessed his mom and dad cuddling and kissing on the couch; and, even though this meant he was finally going to get his long awaited punishment, he still looked happy and relieved to see his parents back in fellowship with each other (ref: The Cosby Show, Season 4, Episode 6 – “That’s Not What I Said”).
Children, even if they yell “ewwwww” when Mom and Dad kiss, do feel secure when they know their mommy and daddy love each other.
Have you ever thought about how you will influence your children about marital sex without actually talking to them about it? It is important to have a good, solid talk with your children when they start asking questions, or when their friends start talking about it. You and your spouse can decide who will do the talking, although the less awkward way usually involves the same sex parent doing the hard core explaining. When I was a young teenager, I asked my dad a rather embarrassing sex question while he was driving down the highway. It wasn’t my best timing, and I’m just thankful he didn’t swerve!
After the initial “talk,” what will you and your spouse do to instill positive, healthy ideas in their little minds about sex? Here are a few thoughts as I am thinking this through myself! ~smile~
- Show affection towards each other daily. How you treat each other day in and day out will have a profound effect on your children’s view of sex. If it seems like a normal part of your marriage, they probably won’t feel uncomfortable with it when they get married. Not only that, but showing affection daily will teach them how to treat a spouse, and fill them with a greater sense of ease. Your connection with your spouse will not only impact you, but it will greatly impact your children’s views on love, marriage, and sex. They will see and understand more than you realize!
- Don’t cringe when the topic of sex comes up. If you act awkward and uncomfortable every time the topic arises, your kids will probably also find it uncomfortable – and intriguing… and will find other sources for sexual information. Would you not rather them come to you for the truth than to read lies in teen magazines or hear wildly exaggerated tales from a friend? If you calmly answer their questions, they will feel more comfortable asking you future questions. Whatever you do, make sex seem normal, good, and blessed in the right context. You want your children going into marriage with a healthy view of sex – not spending years trying to “feel right” about having it and enjoying it. So many couples struggle because one or both parties have been taught unhealthy sexual attitudes.
- When a scene comes on the television, don’t freak out in front of your kids. Just turn off the TV (or leave the theater) and let your kids know that while sex is healthy between a husband and wife, it is not okay to watch other people engage in it. Depending on their ages, this may be a great segue into talking about the dangers of pornography. If you screech and act like a crazed lunatic whenever a “romantic” scene comes on the screen, it will immediately paint a negative emotion towards sex in your children’s minds (and potentially create an obsessive curiosity – our nature is drawn to what’s taboo). You should immediately turn it off, but do your best to remain composed. I honestly believe it will make a positive difference.
Is it not terrific to have one more reason to snuggle up to your future spouse? “Sorry kids! We are hugging and snuggling for you! It’s a cross we must bear.” ~smile~
As you look forward to a sexual relationship with your spouse-to-be, also take some time and brainstorm ways you and your sweetie can paint a positive picture of marital sex to future generations!
What sexual attitudes have you learned from your parents, grandparents, or guardians? Are they healthy or unhealthy?