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What to Do When Your Child Catches You Having Sex

As a parent, you’re not alone, if you find yourself having sex with one ear open whilst regularly monitoring the door for child-like intruders!

Children do wake up in the middle of the night, and the chances of them walking in on you whilst having sex, are high.

Getting caught can be pretty embarrassing, but knowing how to respond, before it happens, means that both you and child will survive the trauma!

What to do 

So what do you do when you see your child standing by the side of your bed?

  • Stop what you are doing 

Yes, you heard me, stop whatever it is that you happen to be doing, and throw some clothes on (unless your child is used to seeing you naked).

  • Return your child to their bedroom 

Return your child to their room quietly. Don’t think about saying anything immediately – you’ll either say too much or even the wrong thing!

  • Find out what they want & reassure them if scared 

If you want, you can ask your child what they want eg a drink.

If they ask a question about what you were doing, just say that you were both having some private /special /mummy & daddy time together.

If they look scared, reassure them that you weren’t hurting each other (sex to a child can sound like mummy is being hurt). If they ask questions, keep your answers short and sweet.

  • Talk about it the next day 


If they are under fiveyou can be quite vague when talking about what happened. Casually say something like ‘I remember you coming into our bedroom last night’ and see what response you get.

If they remember, ask them what they think was happening. This way you can find out what they saw before you respond with an explanation. Just talk about how sometimes mums and dads like to do private things together and that if they felt scared, that there was no need to be scared.

If they don’t remember a thing, you can just leave it at that – it is up to you!

If they are over five, your child will need further information. You can start the conversation with something like ‘Do you remember coming into our bedroom last night?’.

If they remember, ask them what they think was happening. This way you can find out what they saw and how much they already know about sex. Let them know that they did nothing wrong and explain to them that you were having sex, which is something that mums and dads like to do.

If they don’t remember, you should still explain what happened. Your child may be unsure about how to respond to your question.

And if you haven’t yet spoken with your child about sex, then it is a great time to start!

How to prevent it 

There are a few things that you can do to prevent ‘getting sprung’! You can:

  • Install a lock on your door (and use it)
  • Talk to your kids about knocking before entering private spaces ie your bedroom, bathroom
  • Model respectful behaviour by respecting your child’s privacy by knocking on their bedroom door before entering (you can start this with a 3 year old – tap on the door or call out ‘knock knock’ as you come in)
  • Use soft lighting in the room so that your child won’t see as much
  • Play soft music in the background or turn on the television to soften the sounds that you may make during sex (the television may even distract your child’s attention from what else is happening – what child isn’t distracted by the television on entering a room!)

Life goes on

Yes, it can be pretty embarrassing when your child catches you having sex, but it isn’t the end of the world! See it as an opportunity to start talking to your child about sex.

My Child Magazine readers can download a one page cheat sheet on what to do, from


Cath Hakanson is a mother, sex educator and founder of Sex Ed Rescue.  Bringing her 20+ years clinical knowledge, a practical down-to-earth approach, and passion for helping families, Cath inspires parents to talk to their kids about sex so that kids can talk to their parents about anything! Sex Ed Rescue arms parents with the tools, advice and tips to make sex education a normal part of everyday life.

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