It's a bootyfull day in the neighborhood
My male neighbor came over to have dinner with me and my kids. After I put the kids to bed, we started watching a movie and ended up in the bedroom. I've taught my kids to always knock, but right in the middle of a naked foreplay session, my 10-year-old son walked in on us. I'm a divorced single mother and am entitled to a healthy sex life, but what do I say to my kid? Should I have the sex talk with him now? I don't think I should apologize. I've taught my son that you apologize when you've done something wrong, and I don't want him interpreting sex as wrong. — Caught
According to Random House, What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know is stuff like long division and where Spain is on the map, not the fact that your neighbor has a birthmark in the shape of Lebanon — well below the equator. (That's in the as-of-yet unpublished What Your Fifth Grader Doesn't Need to Know.)
Freudian analysts, sans evidence, predicted a laundry list of awful outcomes for children who witness their parents getting it on — including mania, depression, character disorders, learning disturbances, delinquency and even asthma. Dr. Paul Okami actually investigated — following 200 kids for 18 years in a UCLA study — and found that "no empirical evidence links such experiences with subsequent psychological harm." Unfortunately, nobody seems to have studied whether there's a difference in seeing Mommy and Daddy and seeing Mommy doing the neighbor. If the naked people are the kid's parents, they can at least launch into the old "When two people love each other very much..." That doesn't quite fly with "When there's a reasonably attractive semi-stranger next door, and Mommy hasn't gotten her rocks off in the longest time ..."
Your kid's already had his stability rocked by divorce; the last thing he needs is to be wondering who this guy is to you and having any dreams of his parents getting back together crushed in such an upsetting and even threatening way. Sure, you're divorced, not dead, but first and foremost, you're somebody's mommy — somebody who shouldn't be under the impression he'll soon be recording a new voicemail message: "Mommy can't come to the phone right now. I think she's making a sex tape with the UPS man." So, yes, an apology is in order — not for having sex, but for turning your bedroom into a peep show for your 10-year-old. But, wait — he should've knocked! Right. How unbelievable, a 10-year-old failing to follow directions.
Because kids mature at different rates, child-rearing experts suggest waiting for a kid to show he's ready to hear about sex, which he'll indicate by asking questions. Monitor your son for changes in mood or behavior and ask if there's anything on his mind about what he saw. If so, be truthful — say that men and women sometimes do stuff to make each other feel good and that's what you two were doing.
In the future, always use protection — a latex condom and a day-planner (to schedule your romps when the kids have a sleepover at Granny's). You'll do your part to prevent accidental pregnancies and updated song lyrics: "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, but you'll never believe what I saw her doing to the Easter Bunny."
Going whole hug
I went on four dates with this woman — each ending in no more than a hug and a kiss on her cheek. She seemed to have fun, yet stopped returning my calls. This isn't the first time something seemingly good fizzled on me. — Flummoxed
The woman you go out with four times and only kiss on the cheek and hug goodbye is the woman you call Mom. There's an epidemic of men who need to get the message you do: "Testicles! They're not just for decoration anymore!"
It isn't entirely men's fault. Feminist academia pushed a message that caught on wide — that men should feel ashamed for being male and that male sexuality is basically rape lite. This led some men to hold off on making moves on a woman, thinking it was the nice, polite thing to do. Some other men realized it's also a great way to spin acting wimpy as a form of respect.
Now, it's possible this woman wasn't that into you, but maybe she might've been — a few dates back — but found you as sexually aggressive as a couch cushion. If things are going well on a first date, state your intentions by trying to kiss the woman. She can say no, and you should respect that, but by trying, you've told her something important: that your interest goes beyond financing her appletinis and sitting by your phone waiting for her to never call you again.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners into Impolite Society.