The other night, my son walked in on us. Like, you know, WALKED IN. While my husband and I were…otherwise engaged. We don’t have a lock on our bedroom door, but since my son usually falls into a deep sleep pretty quickly (at night, I often put laundry away in his room with the light on!), we didn’t think twice about it. That is, until the door flew open unexpectedly and we scrambled for cover. He looked a bit confused at first, and we tried to play it cool. “Mommy, why aren’t you wearing any clothes?” I told him I was getting ready to take a shower. “But why are you in bed then?” I responded that I had gotten cold and decided to warm up in bed. “Uhhh…but why is Daddy with you?” he continued. Oh, well, of course, Daddy was being nice and trying to warm me up. “But WHY is Daddy naked too??” Man, that kid asks a lot of questions. My last answer to him was so ridiculous I couldn’t believe that it was coming out of my mouth: well Gabriel, sometimes Daddy and I take showers together, to save water. And he bought it. Or it could be that he decided he was tired of asking questions. Either way, he headed back to bed after that. But I was left wondering why I felt so compelled to lie in that situation. After all, I tend to be a pretty honest person, even with my kids. So why lie about sex? It is a natural part of life; why should I hide it? Won’t that give my kids a complex later in life?
I grew up in a fairly modest household. We didn’t walk around the house naked. We didn’t really talk about sex. I went to church on Sundays, and Catholic school during the week. The only times I heard about sex were when I was being told not to do it. It was something that happened behind closed doors, between a husband and a wife, and if you did it before you were married, you were a bad person. And while I turned out fine and am a fairly well-adjusted adult, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to grow up not associating sex with feelings of guilt and shame.
So perhaps that is why I felt a twinge of guilt for lying to my son when he caught us in the act the other night. Because it is something that I don’t necessarily want to lie about. But how do you come up with an age-appropriate explanation of sex for a 7-year-old? And if I do try to explain it to him, will THAT scar him for life? Maybe there’s some “how-to-not-give-your-kid-a-complex-about-sex-when-he-walks-in-on-you” expert out there that I could consult. Or maybe I should just get a lock for our door. It is certainly less expensive than sending my kid to therapy down the line.