I am trying to find a quiet spot in my house to write this blog but every room is filled with one of my children and their boyfriend or girlfriend, depending on which child it is. The house is literally overrun with people. I am not complaining. I chose to have six kids and I love the energy in the house. I woke up before everyone as usual and spent the quiet early hours working before everyone hurtled downstairs. Then I was met with four of my older kids wandering around sleepily with whichever boyfriend or girlfriend was in tow and I was asked to move from room to room so they could have some privacy!
How things have changed since I was young. Aside from the fact that my mother was mentally ill, she actually beat me up when she discovered I had gone to the doctor to get the pill when I was 18 and my boyfriend was never allowed in the house, never mind stay over. I am just glad my kids are safe under my roof because, let’s face it, they’re going to do it anyway. And they’re not kids, they’re adults now.
I’ve picked up my kids’ contraceptive prescriptions from the doctor many times while they’re at work, I’ve tidied their rooms and come across things no mother chooses to see but at the same time I am super proud that they have no hang ups over sex and we can all talk about it openly.
I had some sex toys left over from goody bags from a fashion show sponsor a couple of years ago and recently found some left over packages in a cupboard I was clearing out. My daughter handed a load out to her uni friends and the last two I gave to my sons, saying “You’re either going to think I am the most embarrassing mum on the planet or the coolest, but go knock yourselves out and have fun.”
Fortunately they think I’m cool.
It’s so important to have healthy conversations about sex, something I could never talk about with my mother. She accused me of being a slag, a whore and a prostitute all the time I was with my long term boyfriend, she tried to make me feel ashamed of something that is the most natural thing in the world and that every human craves. I still do! (Note to older women, the menopause doesn’t squish your libido)
It’s so important to talk openly about sex with your kids and not just the ones doing it. My ten year old said with a deadpan face when my son got with his girlfriend, “We all thought you were gay.” Not that it would have made any difference to any of us. We love unconditionally under my roof.
Growing up I always told them to be happy and safe and be with someone who makes them happy, regardless of gender. I want them to be able to come to me with any problem or question. Realistically they would rather talk to their siblings or friends but at least the option is there. They laugh at me and say that with my track record they don’t want my advice but I’ve been round the block a few times and despite my current shit show of a love life, I have been in long term relationships and I have experienced love. And of course I have had way more sex than them. I’m not just an expert, I used to be a sex feature writer for the Daily Star and wrote a book in my 20s entitled Caution, Slippery When Wet, which was serialised in a national newspaper about women’s sexual fantasies.
Sex is so much more available and far more explicit online than it was when I was a kid. There’s the thirst trap pics, Only Fans and don’t get me started on the dating apps which is just like trawling through a budget sex supermarket. And though I can't protect my girls from getting sent dick pics, I can talk to them about it and we can laugh about how gross they are.
I think I’ve instilled some good morals into all my kids, they’re comfortable with intimacy and happy with their partners. I’m often tripping over bunches of flowers and cards and empty present boxes left that they’ve exchanged and left lying around various rooms in the house. It’s lovely.
Being open about sex with your kids teaches them self respect and self esteem and of course consent. Talking about sex is healthy, having sex is healthy and knowing that my kids can come to me and talk about anything without any boundaries is so important to me and them.
When my son got with his gorgeous girlfriend he sent me a pic to show her off and I said, “I hope you two will be very happy and he replied, “I hope you find someone too that makes you happy, that’s all I want for you,” and my heart surged with love.
Love is definitely in the air, but not with me, ha!
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