Ethical Slut, in her October 7, 2011 blog raised the question of how much of our “lifestyle” we should share with our children. This is a topic I struggle with as well. I am also an honest and ethical swinger. I don't like to live my life with lies. But in the lifestyle, lies are necessary due to judgment of others. A big reason that we protect our identities so well is that we never want someone to say, “we will not permit our children to come to your house because of your sexual habits.” Or see our kid get shunned from a birthday party or other activity because of our actions. Until our children are almost adults themselves, we have to keep secrets from them to ensure they won't tell their friends, who might tell their parents, and so on. So as much as we want to be sex positive, we would need to teach our kids to lie if they knew more about our life.
I like the attitude taken by many swingers that we can be open and encouraging that sex is a wonderful thing, and assure our children that we have healthy and happy sexual relationships, but we do not need to provide details, as we wouldn't if we were monogamous either. Kids don't want to know the details of our sex life. They want to know what sex is and if we are happy, I think. Or as a friend says to her children, “If it is important to you to know that information, I will explain it to you. But first you need to ask yourself if it is really something that you want to know.” We have to be careful in providing more details than kids are ready for.
I do worry as my children are entering their tween and teenage years what they will notice about our friends, our entertaining habits, etc. But I think the rules from above still apply – I think most of all they want to know that we are happy and solid in our relationship. And I will stress that love and happiness occur in many different structures and there is not one right way. Their interest in sex and what it is tends to be is more about them than about us, so I'll talk about sex on their terms, not mine. I think we can be sex positive but private about our own relations – and doing so is not contradictory.