'I’m still haunted after walking in on my parents having kinky sex'

It’s time once again for our weekly Sex Column, our regular series where experts advise struggling daters on navigating the sticky world of romance.

Last week, we helped a widower who wants to move on but is scared of hurting his daughters’ feelings.

This week we hear from someone who cannot un-see their parents having kinky sex after he walked in on them when he was 17.

It’s affecting their family relationship, so how does this traumatised son move on?

The problem:

‘I wish I could take a magic potion to unsee something I saw when I was 17.

I came home early from a party not feeling well and walked straight in on my parents having sex in the living room.

Worse still, they weren’t having the sort of normal sex you expect parents to have – instead, they were doing something you see in porn movies. Both of them were mortified and I left the house immediately to go to a mate’s.

‘I stayed with him for a few days but eventually had to go home and face them. It was so awkward – Dad tried to be all jokey and Mum looked like she wanted to cry.

Soon afterwards, I left home and got a flat with my girlfriend but now we have split up and I have to go home for financial reasons.

‘It’s ridiculous that this happened four years ago but it still feels like yesterday and every time we meet up it’s like the elephant in the room.

‘I used to be so close to my parents but now they just make me cringe.

What the experts say:

This is a difficult situation but one that has to be put to bed. Our experts can all see the trauma this has caused but urge you to be realistic about your parents.

‘Thinking that sex is something only young, virile people do is to deny the fact that the urge to have sex can continue throughout our lifetime,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin.

‘Your parents did not deliberately humiliate you and will be feeling as bad as you.’

Your age at the time is critical to how you feel, according to Rupert Smith. ‘The fact that this happened when you were entering young adulthood and was not “normal” sex means that it’s hit you particularly hard,’ he says.

‘Everyone in the family is now feeling mortified and given how tough it is to talk about this sort of stuff, I’d strongly recommend that you have a few sessions of family therapy, so that you can work through your emotions and reach a new understanding of each other.’

James McConnachie asks you to consider what ‘normal’ sex really is. ‘Parents do more than just adopt the missionary position in the dark,’ he says.

‘Ultimately, it’s preferable to have happy, loving, sexually adventurous parents, than buttoned-up, unfulfilled, loveless ones. Try to be more forgiving of them – they are only human, and you all need to move on.’

Rudkin is convinced that you will be able to laugh about this in years to come.

‘But first,’ she concludes, ‘you need to talk to your parents and acknowledge this episode for what it is – an embarrassing moment in time, where in truth, no one did anything wrong.’

The Experts:

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

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