In a new episode of Jessica Alba’s YouTube show Getting Honest, she and her husband Cash Warren got super honest about one of the “worst” moments they’ve ever had with one of their kids. No, it wasn’t a trip to the ER or a bullying incident. It was when their 9-year-old daughter Haven walked in on the couple having sex.
Of course, the celebrity couple is being somewhat dramatic describing the embarrassing married sex moment, but based on how they related the story to fellow parents Rachel Zoe and her husband Rodger Berman during the YouTube show (according to People, as the ep isn’t live yet), Alba and Warren were perhaps more scarred by the experience than their daughter.
“It was the worst,” Warren says. “We spent five minutes in our bedroom laughing. And being like, ‘I can’t believe we just ruined our daughter, we just ruined her.’”
Alba admits that she “started crying,” she was so worried about how they had traumatized their daughter. She then called Warren’s sister, Koa, because she’s “so good at helping us through challenges,” Alba says, but even Koa had no advice for them.
“I think by the time we called Koa, Haven had already texted her,” added Alba, who also shares daughter Honor, 12, and son Hayes, 3, with Warren. “She went right in and told everyone.”
Once Warren collected himself, he went downstairs to talk to Haven.
“We just have to own this one,” he said of his thoughts at the time. “We can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”
“I went downstairs and said, ‘Haven, I bet that’s the last time you walk into our room without knocking,’” Warren says he told his daughter, somewhat sarcastically. “Now she knocks, it was like she learned her lesson.”
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While Alba and Warren didn’t say how old Haven was when this ruinous experience occurred, it’s doubtful that seeing one’s parents having sex actually scars kids for life.
“Witnessing it accidentally is not going to traumatize them, as there are many cultures where the whole family lives in one room, so it is not uncommon for children to hear or see their parents having sex, and it is not overtly traumatizing,” Dr. Lea Lis, a.k.a. the Shameless Psychiatrist, author of No Shame: Real Talk With Your Kids About Sex, Self-Confidence, and Healthy Relationships, told SheKnows last year.
Dr. Lis completely understands why we might be horrified by the prospect of our children witnessing this intimate moment, though, because we internalize feelings of shame about sex. But we don’t want to pass that shame along to our kids, which is why we shouldn’t avoid talking to our kids about what they just saw if they do accidentally walk in on us.
So, what should parents do if their kids walk in on them having sex?
“An open and honest conversation with your kids about sex is a great thing, and don’t lie and say you were ‘wrestling’ or ‘doing yoga,’” Dr. Lis advised.
And what Warren said about always knocking on doors before entering is a good rule, as making sure you have a bedroom door with a working lock.
“Parents should have their privacy to have sex,” Dr. Lis said. “Exposure to eroticism is not appropriate for children, and they should not be brought into it in any way that is inappropriate.”
In other words, there is a difference between knowing that adults have sex and seeing how they have sex, so do all you can to avoid the latter. But if it happens accidentally, you and your kids will get over it. Eventually.
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