Pure Intimacy: God's Design for Sex


What if a child sees his parents having sexual intercourse?

from a letter to Pure Intimacy

by Joann Condie, LPC, NCC, RN, MS

Question:It hasn't happened, and hopefully will never, but with three (soon to be four) children in our home, what should we as Christian parents do if our child sees us having sexual intercourse?

Answer:Your question baffles (and haunts) many parents, so congratulations on having enough courage to ask! My response will be: Plan "A" for prevention, and Plan "B" after the mishap.

A) "Be Prepared" is good for scouts and parents alike. The obvious precaution is locking your bedroom door and training your children to knock before entering. One wise couple reinforced this rule by saying, "Mommy and daddy need a few minutes for special time alone. Please do not interrupt us by knocking unless it’s very important." In most instances, the parents were simply unwinding, sharing a funny story or discussing a problem that arose during the day. A lingering kiss and reaffirmation of their love set the stage before joining their children again. This simple practice helps kids respect parent’s privacy and it reinforces the status of the bedroom as a sanctuary for mom and dad. Whether you are talking, dressing or making love, your children comprehend there’s enjoyment in the bedroom. What a contrast from other homes where the same room represents a parental-fighting war zone!

Preparation also involves winsome, biblical, age-appropriate sex educationfor your children. Don’t assume what worked years ago works today. Living in our sexualized culture means kids need more guidance, provided sooner, than most people anticipate. By the ages of two to three, teach modesty, "good touch/ bad touch," and respect for other’s privacy. These are lessons you are already teaching your children, so it should help prevent mishaps in the bedroom as well.

B) After the mishap responses depend on the child’s development and understanding. A three year old girl unexpectedly walked in on her parents and asked, "Are you having fun in the dark?" The mother smiled and said, "Yes! Climb into your bed; I’ll be right there."

An older child needs more explanation (from both parents) after you are dressed. Acknowledge that it’s enjoyable, yet private, "just like we talked about." Affirm how God blesses the loving act if the intimacy is exclusively between a husband and wife. Express interest in talking more in the morning, and make sure you keep your promise!

Teens might cover their shock by acting macho or cracking a joke. They know more about sex than they’re willing to admit, but you can generally assume it’s inaccurate. Acknowledging that it was an awkward surprise for all three of you, helps breaks the ice. Use the experience as a teachable opportunity with your teen, rather than keeping everyone stuck in embarrassment. Express your commitment to greater discretion in the future and then don’t forget to use an ounce of prevention by engaging that lock.

Copyright © 2009 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

About the author

Joann Condie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor and Registered Nurse who counsels individuals, couples, and families on a number of issues, including sexual addiction and sexual dysfunction. In addition to training professional counselors, physicians, and church leaders, Joann works at Focus on the Family and maintains a private practice in Colorado Springs, CO. www.renewingintimacy.com