Sunday, June 8, 2008
Every June (ok, so this is only the second one, but I'm feeling hopeful about the years to come), Newspeak! publishes their Sex Issue. I wrote a little feature for it. So for all of you who don't live 'round these parts and can't pick up the paper, here 'tis......
When I read the sex stories from last year’s Newspeak! June issue, I remember thinking to myself, “Yeah, yeah, all well and good and I remember some of those similarly insane moments from my life”, but none of them came close to revealing the beautiful complexity that is…… SEX AFTER MARRIAGE AND KIDS. So I figured I’d have to write it myself. I know for a fact there are other Newspeak! readers out there who are married/partnered, have kids, and have sex. This one’s for you.
It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. But it really isn’t that hard, either. It was harder when they were younger, and woke up three or four times in the middle of the night, and I was so tired from feeding, cleaning, changing diapers, and nursing (I won’t even go into the whole “these boobs are mine and the baby’s so don’t you even think about touching them right now” stage), that sex was absolutely the last thing on my mind when collapsing into bed at the end of the day. And then, if you choose to have your babies sleep in bed with you (known as “attachment parenting”), as we did, it becomes even a bit more complicated. I’m pretty sure, even though the memory from the infant/toddler years is rather hazy, that we didn’t have sex IN OUR OWN BED for about two years! There was the living room floor, the bedroom floor, the couch, the shower, the tent.
You know, it just seems to me that people who worry about a loss of sex life if they let their kids sleep in their bed with them simply lack imagination!
I can’t even begin to count the number of times we would just get started, and from the baby monitor would come the little cry of an infant waking up. Or a scared toddler who had just woken up from a nightmare screaming, “Mommmmmy!” Because, truly, once you have kids, the only time you can possibly have sex is when they’re asleep. That, or while they’re watching Saturday morning cartoons. You do all know why Saturday morning cartoons were invented, do you not!? And enforced nap times. Very important. I remember several Sunday afternoons of frantically trying to get the boys to nap at the same time because we wanted to have sex so desperately!
Now that they’re older (seven and nine), and sleep through the night in their own beds, the bedroom has become our own Chamber of Secrets once again. Until a few weeks ago, anyway……
My husband John and I have a master bedroom upstairs, for which there is no locking door. Hell, there’s not even a door, just an opening from the top of the stairs. This lack of a door has never been a problem for us until the other night, when a little visitor came to call.
It was during that post-orgasmic-still-connected-and-slightly-moaning stage, when from the foot of the bed, our 9-year-old son held up his right hand, waved, and said, “Hi guys!” Those were his only two words, but in his impish smile and tone of voice I heard this: “This is so cool-my mommy and daddy are mating just like the animals on all those nature shows I watch and this has got to be IT!”
It was the shock of hearing him before we saw him that made the moment so memorable. I still wonder to this day exactly how long he had been standing there before he uttered those words. Like he had been waiting until it was all over to declare his presence.
There was a brief moment of panic as we immediately tried to issue him downstairs, my husband looking over his shoulder and me trying to sit up, both of us frantically searching for the covers to hide our butt nakedness. Just then the sudden realization of the absurdness of it all sunk in, and the only thing left to do was laugh. Hysterically. John rolled off to my left, we pulled the duvet up over us, and invited our little visitor to come up onto the bed.
He lay down on my right, on top of the covers, and rested his head on my shoulder. I had my husband’s head on my left, my son’s on my right, my arms around both of them, all snuggled together in our King size bed, in which we had all slept together for so many, many years as the boys were growing up.
We lay like that for a few seconds, and then John spoke. “So, I guess you know now how your mommy and daddy made you, huh?” That smile again, so all-knowing and like some great secret had just been revealed. “Uh-huh”. We talked some more about sex, (he already knew the details, so it wasn’t anything new), laughed, snuggled, and then I finally walked him back downstairs to his room.
When I came back upstairs, John and I laughed and laughed and laughed some more before we finally fell asleep. I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but I like to believe that by our actions, we gave our son a gift: a memory of the goodness, the naturalness, the laughingness of sex. Only time will tell.