Sex and the family

I am on the board for a soon-to-be non-profit called Blossom Family Center. Blossom currently has a number of programs, including a parent-child class for very young children, a delightful and informative series of workshops, and is working to start up a care-taker training program. All of this is set within the context of Rudolf Steiner’s theories on Anthroposophy and the young child. There is no website currently, but will be forthcoming in a month or two. If you want more information before that, please feel free to e-mail me.

But back to my story:

Last night after a board meeting, I spoke briefly with Laura Olson, who runs many of Blossom’s programs. We were talking about the possibility of expanding Blossom’s workshop offerings to include something about sexuality in the family. We both immediately arrived at the same discussion point: There are really two topics that are prescient for parents of young children. In no particular order:

  • Supporting parents to re-claim or re-build their sexual relationship after the overwhelming physical changes the woman has been through. This is a toughie, and many relationships falter during the years of the young child for many reasons, some of which include differences in sex drive, limited sleep, and the mother’s exhaustion from close physical contact with the baby (particularly if she is breastfeeding).
  • Educating parents about the sexuality that lives within each and every one of us – even babies and toddlers and children! It is helpful for parents to know what is normal body exploration for babies and young children and how to react and appropriate guide young ones towards healthy life-long sexuality.

These are such separate topics, I think they each deserve their own workshop topic. On this blog, in my parenting classes, and in my individual consultations, I generally focus on the second of the above two areas. And while it is well known – almost a one-liner joke – that parents of young children don’t have sex very often, I wonder about parents of teenagers.

What are the difficulties inherent for a parent to maintain a healthy adult sex life with a teenager in the house? How is it different for a single parent than for partnered parents? Is this something parents of teenagers (or younger children) are even interested in talking about? Has there been any research on this topic? I’d love your input! Please let me know what you think and what your personal experiences have been in the comments section!

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.

1 Comment

  1. As the parent of a young child, I can attest to the truth of the one-liner joke. I am curious about what it will be like when she is a teenager: perhaps it will be less that she needs our attention all the time and more that she’ll be awake, hanging out in the next room and grossed out by the sound of mattress springs?

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