Our children know which bedside table drawer not to pull open or they will find sex toys and not the Apple TV remote.
Our favorite blankets are the silk & fuzzy velvet water repellent blankets I bought from Liberator when sex moved beyond the bedroom for me and outdoor experiences were abundant (I still keep them in the minivan and if the kids ever read this they probably won’t use them anymore).
A really tough one for me in these past years, is the knowledge that they know the sounds of our lovemaking. I love sound and have often been told to be quiet by lovers, that I’m too expressive, too boisterous. No longer. Sounds, words, written or in conversation, are a super power and make all the other senses become more alive. I’m not longer screaming into a pressed palm and feeling silenced and shamed. I’m using my superpower fully.
A really important component in addition to the power of words & communication, is clear and obvious boundaries. Our children respect a locked door. They know when not to knock and when to lock their own.
Yes, they know we have sex.
And we as parents know they also need time to explore their own personal intimacy.
Six kids + a family who loves to travel = three hotel rooms. Although the Blackin children have the uncanny ability to fall asleep anywhere (Bontempo boys not so much) beds are best. Ensuring we can do more than fall asleep, means Michael & I get to have a room just for the two of us so we can enjoy our time together as adults. It’s really important, especially on family vacations. (As are baths and walking around naked in resort hotel suites.)
As a blended family with six children, they all know they were each conceived in love. They have all witnessed each of their parents fall in love and marry new partners in life. How incredible is that! How I would have loved to see my parents first fall in love.
If you know us, you know that we kiss openly and often. And if you know us really well, you know we don’t wear pajamas to bed. When goodnight hugs are given after Michael & I have tucked in, or when morning hugs arrive to wake us, Michael and I are happily naked. Knocks on our door and covers up, hugs are still protocol and abundant around here! No one goes to bed without a hug goodnight or walks out the front door without a goodbye squeeze. My favorite are the ones when we each arrive home after a time away enjoying not being together. Those embraces linger the longest.
I love the way we respect each other and talk openly about sex at meals together. With 6 penis owners in the house it’s inevitable that the conversation somehow steers its way to this topic. Julia & I have strength in our sexual ownership and often remind the boys that we have the responsibility and pleasure of the stronger & more mailable parts of anatomy.
Simply & with full disclosure, our children know that we love sex.
They know we adore each other. They know we adore them. We also get pissed off with each other. Not much happens behind closed doors around here. And if it does happen behind closed & locked doors, it usually can be heard. They see us get angry, frustrated, argue, cry. They see us kiss deeply, spank each other’s butt, nuzzle each other and cuddled up on the huge purple beanbag.
We know as a family that loving relationships take enormous effort and uncomfortable, vulnerable communication. We all survived divorce.
Then something awesome happened as a result. Our children witnessed their us as their parents – someone who unconditionally loves them – fall in love with another life partner that wasn’t their original parent.
How incredibly powerful is that!
Sean, Alex, Julia, Daniel, Will & Matthew are each curious, sensitive and adventurous. But most of all, they are living their life with eyes wide open knowing that their bodies are powerful tools capable of unlimited experiences, pleasures and adventures and that there is nothing bad about feeling good.
We believe fully that more they see pleasure expressed around them, the more respect and understanding they have for their own self love.
I share this because I feel strongly about public displays of affection. I care deeply about not hiding what you care about, about hearing the “ewwww” from the back seat when we kiss at a stop light. Of course they are looking, they’re learning. They are learning that it’s ok to be loved openly. They are learning radical self acceptance.
Please, kiss around your kids. Let them see your love. They more we hide, the more the ugliness happens behind closed doors to one another. The more we muffle our pleasure for fear it will disgust others, the more shame we promote within ourselves around feeling good. The more we negate and whisper the words penis & vagina around our children, the more boys and girls are made to feel separate from these life giving parts of themselves.
Talk about sex. Real, vulnerable, noisy, messy, happy sex. And see what that openness can bring to your relationships. It’s how we made these small humans after all. Let them know they were made in love and see them love themselves more because of it.
My hope for our next generation is that our children know more love and experience more joy than we have in our lifetime.
May we all learn to express what makes us happy more fully.
More Love – Lara