We’re not talking about circus sex theater in front of the kids, but the fact remains there is no proof that intimacy in front of children will scar them for life.
Our modern puritanism continues to feed off a Victorian sensibility that the display of nudity and sex around children will confuse them and turn them against God. Let us not forget that the Victorians, because of their misguided repressions, created a backlash by inventing the type of pornography that not even Ron Jeremy could imagine.
By hiding love from our children and telling yarns of storks and the dangers of nudity, we risk instilling certain insecurities around body issues and the illicitness of love. Love does not have to be a dirty act hidden from our kids. Instead, we have an opportunity to demonstrate that there is no place in marriage for exploitation, ugliness and insecurities in a loving relationship.
According to Doctor Ian Kerner, “No studies have shown that a child who sees his or her parents having sex is going to be psychologically damaged. Interestingly, children who are raised in homes with parents who are comfortable with nudity – those who change clothes and bathe in front of the kids – are found to be more sexually healthy.”
Our American generation was raised with the idea we need divisions in life to make for a happy family. Our houses reflect this attitude in architecture – living room, home office, dining room, family room, basement, attic, kitchen and bedrooms. By constantly separating and sequestering our shared family lives, we teach embarrassment and insecurity when these divisions are compromised. It is good for parents to teach children that your love transcends secrecy. By eating dinners in front of the television, doing office work in the family room or making love in the middle of the day (even in the kitchen!), children learn that openness and honesty can be shared everywhere.
To make this point clearer we can reference the fact that many generations grew up in one-room cabins exposing children to the intimacies of parents. While growing up in one room cabins, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sisters saw it and Abraham Lincoln saw it. Martina Kuhnert wrote a heart-warming history about raising two children in a one room cabin:
What about our love life? It’s still going strong. We’ve just gotten creative. Unless you prefer your love bedridden, your sleeping quarters are not the only appropriate place to enjoy romance.
The sacredness of sex is important to instill, and a ceremonial shutting of the bedroom door will demonstrate to a child that parents are participating in an act of love. Children do not need to see all the hot and steamy details of a good romp, but getting busted by a three year old for having sex under the sheets is a perfect opportunity for teaching the sacredness of “mommy and daddy time.”