KMB After Dark: The Ghosts in the Bedroom and What I Hope They’ll Teach My Children

Disclaimer: the following post is written by a KMB team member about her personal experience with sex, sex and marriage, how sex changes after kids, and other topics as they relate to sex. The views and opinions in this post are purely and entirely the author’s and neither KMB nor the author claim to be an expert on the subject matter.

KMB after Dark

“You’re going to regret this one day. You’re going to be married. And in love. And you’ll regret this.”

My mother could barely look at me while we drove to the gynecologist’s office. A nurse, she was concerned about the medical effects of my deciding to sleep with my high school boyfriend, just as much as she was concerned about the social, moral, and emotional implications. At 15 I thought she was a moron. I wasn’t going to regret this. I was a cheerleader. He was the quarterback. We were a small town picture-perfect love story; at least we were in my mind.

My husband waited until he was 18 to have sex for the first time. In his mind, he too had met his true love. His decision was thought-out and planned around the fact that he was giving himself to his future wife. Only that wasn’t the case for him either.

In both our cases, once the gift was given — the sacred virginity that we couldn’t restore — it really didn’t matter what happened after that. There were one night stands, flings that should never have happened, and romances that lasted many years. Sex was the thing we gave to whomever we were seeing, serious or otherwise.

14 years later, I can write this and wholeheartedly say, my mother was right. I look at my husband and he looks at me and there is regret. This isn’t my first rodeo. Nor is it his. There is no position that is new. We have done this all before.

But not just with each other.

Sometimes I look up at him while we make love and I wish my hardest that we could take it all back. That I could be 15 on my parents’ couch in the basement and tell my high school self to slow the heck down. Or I could urge college me, the small town girl in a big fancy city, that I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody by drinking and partying everyone else under the table, while my body bore the burden to whoever found me that evening. I wish he wouldn’t have made a “list” and proceeded to check off the boxes; making his sexual encounters more of a partner scavenger hunt than an actual human experience. I wonder often if there is anything new or different about the way he kisses my neck, the way he locks his fingers into mine and puts my arms over my head; how many times has he done this before?

My kids are still very young so the sex talk is pretty distant on the horizon. But when we get there, I’m not going to fill them full of scripture, fear, or guilt as my husband and I were filled with. (Although who knows, I may supplement with one or all of those if need be.) I hope that when the time comes to explain the birds and the bees, I will somehow be able to clearly convey how precious their bodies are to them and to their future life partners; how no one wants to go to bed with ghosts. I want to tell them the actions they think make them “cool” or feel “normal” as a young adult have ramifications far beyond that night. That party. That hook up. That story to tell their friends the next day. Those actions have consequences that will follow them into every bedroom, with every partner, every time, and break their heart if they dwell on it like I sometimes do.

I share my life with a wonderful man who puts me before literally every other thing. I share moments with a man who loves and cherishes me and who looks at me like I am the most perfect thing he has ever laid eyes on. Even with all the great, it is still hard at times to shed the past and make our future.

More than anything, I don’t want my children to be haunted like I am.

Previous posts in the KMB After Dark series:

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