Do you ever think about the mixed message that we send to our kids regarding sex? Movies, television shows and magazines all prominently feature provocative story lines and offer a myriad of sexual advice. “Friends with Benefits”, a movie about a couple with no emotional ties that have agreed to be involved sexually is about to be released at the theaters. “It’s important to explore your sexuality while you are young before you decide to commit to a single partner and get married” seems to be the mantra of our times. Sex is simply everywhere.
Well… almost everywhere. While our culture bombards us with these sexual messages, sex seems to be absent from our marriages. Even today, young adults feel that their parents only had sex to procreate. We don’t talk about sex with our kids. We don’t flirt with our spouses in front of them. What is the inevitable take-away that they get? Get plenty now, because there’s no sex after marriage.
That’s sad, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As a couple we’ve always been very open about sex around our kids. The older ones now seem to appreciate that, and the younger ones are just starting to get creeped out by it. I’m not suggesting indecent behavior in front of the family. But my kids have always known that their mother and I are both friends and lovers at the same time.
For some warped reason, we (as Americans) seem far more willing to argue in front of our children than to kiss in front of them. God forbid they realize we’re in love. Intentionally or not, we are modeling behaviors that our kids will one day mimic. I never doubted that my dad loved my mom. I remember I would be at the kitchen table as he would walk by her at the sink and he would always give her a little slap on the behind. She’d grouse about it, and he would wink at me and mouth “She loves when I do that”. The message that I took away was that my parents were playful and loving. I never questioned their feelings for each other as a child. My parents are now in their 90s and have been married almost 68 years. My dad still gives my mom the occasional swat, and he still winks at me if I’m watching. I love that.
This story recently came full circle. I came home from work one day and walked behind my wife as she was working at the stove. Without thinking twice, I slapped her on the bottom and said “Hey Babe” (my usual greeting upon arriving home). Unexpectedly she turned to me and said “That’s where he got it” and started laughing. It turns out she had gotten a call from school that day. Our 8-year old son had walked behind his teacher and done the same thing. The school was appalled. In a way, I was quite proud.