Recently, my wife and I were having some vigorous, louder than normal sex. Our kids are heavy sleepers and our bedroom door is always closed as a precaution so we were letting loose. My wife was moaning loudly while cumming, and I heard our 8-year old son in the hall outside our bedroom crying for me. I quickly threw on some clothes and went out to him. He was sobbing and kept saying “I heard Mommy.” I took him back to bed, calmed him down, and got him to talk more. He thought he was hearing his mom making scary, pain-related noises. I told him, “Sometimes when Mommy starts to fall asleep she has dreams where she makes noises,” which is true, though those noises aren’t ever guttural sex moans. However he was pacified by this and went back to sleep.

Sex was never discussed when I was a kid so I grew up believing it was something secretive and shameful. My wife and I want to be sex-positive parents. However, my lie about what my son heard didn’t feel very sex-positive. It felt like I was treating her experience as something secretive and shameful. What would have been the sex-positive, age appropriate way to explain the noises my son heard that night?

Need Other Ideas, Sex-positive Explanations

"Mom and dad were doing it."

Or something close to it, NOISE, perhaps something more age-appropriate-y, as they say in the sexedbiz. And, yes, "your mother and I were having sex" is something you should be able to say to an eight-year old. By age eight, a kid really should have a basic understanding of sex and puberty — many kids experience puberty themselves by age ten, most kids have watched other/older kids enter puberty — and that basic understanding should (would have to!) include a rough outline/discussion of the mechanics of sexual intercourse. It's also never too soon to talk about consent, with jibes pretty well with a young kid's either intuitive or quickly learned sense of fairness. If you haven't had the basic talk yet — if your kid never asked you where babies come from and/or how he got into mommy's tummy uterus — the night he heard his mommy loudly coming was a good (and missed) opportunity.

Talking with your kid about sex is always awkward, NOISE — hell, I whiffed an important part of the talk with my own kid. More than one part, in fact, and more than once. (Those screw ups got their own chapter in American Savage.) So I know it's hard. I also know that an appropriate, i.e. non-paralyzing, amount of awkwardness is impossible to avoid. And I know that parents tend to panic in the clutch — really, of all the things you could've told your kid, NOISE, "sometimes Mommy makes loud [moaning] noises when she falls asleep" isn't bad. But it was, again, a missed opportunity.

So create a new opportunity. Sit the kid down — you and the wife together — and explain the noises he overheard. Yes, it'll be awkward. But awkward can't be avoided, NOISE, only plowed through. He's old enough to know that adults have intercourse with other consenting adults and that it's pleasurable in a very particular way and just like he might cry out in delight on, say, a roller coaster, adults sometimes make fun and excited noises when they have intercourse. If he's eight and you aren't raising him in a Skinner box in the basement, he's seen sex and/or sexy scenes in movies or on television. He's old enough to know mom and dad are doing it too.

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