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Watching R-Rated Movies . . . With the Kids

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One of the great things about your kids growing up is that they are finally interested in the same movies and TV shows as you are. I'm happy I don't have to pay $10.50 to take a nap during the latest Pokémon movie or pretend I care why Carly is sad on iCarly. Now I can sit with my daughters and together we can take in the joys and wonders of all that's unfolding on the screen in front of us. Why, just the other day I was watching a TV show with my older daughter and we had this conversation about the scene we were watching:

"Oh."

"Whoa."

"Damn."

No, it wasn't a heartrending moment from one of the foreign movies she's fond of, or an action sequence from our fifth watching of The Avengers.

We were watching HBO's Girls and there were two totally naked people having really loud, sweaty doggie-style sex on a four-poster bed with the lights on. And it went on for around five hours.

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In the annals of parenting (no pun intended) watching a sex scene on screen with your kid next to you has got to be one of the most uncomfortable things ever. It's not something you intentionally set out to do—one minute you're watching a hip show about twenty-something girls living in New York City and the next thing you know the screen is filled with butts and boobs and hairy parts and amplified noises that sound like a pig choking.

I've been fast-forwarding through them while yelling a half-hearted, "Close your eyes children!"

One of my favorite things to do (my kids will attest to this) is yell out, "Inappropriate!" a few times just to voice my disapproval of their innocent eyes having to take in a 32-inch widescreen shot of Channing Tatum's bare ass (although they're usually drowning me out with their chants of, "I LIKE WHAT I SEE.") Lately—as in the case of those seem-to-go-on-forever scenes in Girls—I've been fast-forwarding through them while yelling a half-hearted, "Close your eyes children!" As you can imagine, this goes over really well.

To be honest, I'm not sure that discomfort will ever go away no matter how old they are. I remember squirming when my mom told me she had gone to see Brokeback Mountain with a group of her friends and that she "really liked that cowboy movie." Even though I wasn't there, I cringe when I imagine her watching Jake Gyllenhall and Heath Ledger in action, as she silently eats her popcorn and swigs her Ensure.

I'm not a prude, and I'm well aware of the fact that my teens already know exactly what's taking place in these scenes we're watching together. All I'm asking is a little warning of what’s coming up. Maybe a three-second countdown so I have time to send the girls out of the room and then call them back in when the deed is done:

I don't think there's any way to avoid these moments altogether, unless we limit our joint viewing experiences to G- or PG-Rated shows and movies, and that's just not going to happen. At some point—my oldest is about to turn 17 in a few weeks and can go see pretty much any movie she wants on her own—they'll do most of their viewing without us. And while that makes me sad it also means less uncomfortable, squirming moments when we're both wishing the couch would open up and swallow us whole.

And soon enough, I'll be going to see "a cowboy movie" and calling them with the details.

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