When your kids catch you having sex

You’ve been caught in the act – so what now?
When your kids catch you having sex

My kids walked in on my husband and I having sex a few weeks ago. I tried not to panic. I mean, kids walk in on their parents having sex all the time, right?

I’m sure we’ll all look back on this moment and laugh. The tale will come out at boozy Christmas lunches when they have grown, and brought their partners to meet the family. Oh, the guffaws that will ensue!


What were they doing out of bed anyway? It was 10pm on a Saturday night, for crying out loud. Apparently they heard a scary noise (er, that would be their very happy mother).

When it first happened, I was trying to work out how much they had seen, and how much therapy would be required. I’m figuring I have the seasons on my side – I’m lucky it’s winter. The trauma level could have been much higher in the throes of a blanket-free summer.

But as the dust has settled, I’ve come up with a plan of how to deal with this incredibly awkward situation.

Go light on the details.

Obviously this will depend on the age of your kids, but if they’re old enough to know exactly what you’re doing, they will be too busy gouging out their own eyes to be asking you for details.

The two kids that walked into my room that night are younger and – you’ve gotta love them – incredibly curious. But this is not an opportunity to go into the gory details of procreation, and especially not the nuances of recreational love making.

Talk to the kids about it.

So many stories I’ve heard about this type of event involve parents making up some crazy story on the spot. Recent examples include, “Mummy and Daddy were playing horsey” (which of course incited the children to launch themselves onto the bed and insist on playing too) and “Mummy and Daddy were doing their taxes” which would stink even to a three year old who still believes in unicorns.

On the flipside you could never speak of it again. As much as I’d like to grab onto this strategy with both hands, I think this approach makes the whole thing scary for the kids, and a taboo that should never be mentioned.

I brought it up the next day while making breakfast. I asked them why they got out of bed, and told them that their father and I were having some special Mum and Dad time. They asked me if they could have jam on their toast.

Be cool in the face of questions.

This can last a few days, or even a few weeks. Something occurred to my five-year-old son two weeks after the incident in question, and he piped up at dinner with, “But why were you jumping on Daddy?”

I told him we were playing an adult game. Which is sort of true. I have been very open and honest with our older, pubescent daughter about sex, so I’m not going to skirt the issue forever, but I do think five and three is a bit young to be worrying about this. And I also think the dinner table should be reserved for more pedestrian conversation like what we might do on the weekend, or how our day was.

Especially when your in-laws are over for a Sunday roast.

Install a lock on the door.

The horse may have already bolted at my house, but I’m optimistic that some day I may live to ride again. And when that happens, I’ll be prepared with a secure perimeter.

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