Preschooler Walked in on Parents Having Sex

Preschool boy covering face so he can't see.
What should we do about our young son walking in on us during sex?

I’m sure that our little boy isn’t the first child to ever have accidentally walked in on their parents having sex. But I’m still worried that he’ll have negative long-term effects from what he saw. We panicked and tried to cover up as best we could, but we could tell he was confused and upset. And I feel really guilty.



It’s normal to feel panicked or embarrassed when your young kids see you and your spouse having sex. But we don’t think you need to be overly worried about what your son saw. It’s natural that he might have been confused — but if he hasn’t brought it up since, we doubt that the incident has caused any lasting damage.

We also want to relieve your feelings of guilt. Sex and other intimate moments are important elements of marriage and normal parts of family life. When you’re a parent, things like this can happen from time to time. If they do, don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best to take it in stride and move on.

In fact, you can use these circumstances as a great way to start discussions about sex and sexuality with your son if you haven’t already.

The importance of sex education

When it comes to God’s design for sex and the glorious story of sexuality, you have an incredible opportunity to guide your children throughout their lives. And sex education should start early. It should be a life-long learning process, not a one-time birds-and-bees discussion that happens sometime during middle school.

For example, as a preschooler, your child is already old enough to be able to understand some basic concepts about human sexuality, provided they’re presented to him with age-appropriate language.

At the most basic level, he needs to know that sex is not something scary and shameful. Instead, it’s a wonderful gift from God, designed to be expressed between a husband and wife.

Not sure how to start the conversation with your son? Check out our online booklet The Talk as well as the other resources listed below. You can also call Focus on the Family’s Counseling department at 1-800-A-FAMILY for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our counselors would be more than happy to help in any way they can.

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