This week’s reader question is one I get a lot. Basically, how the hell do you have an active sex life when you have young kids at home?
I had three kids in four years.
While sex was always an important part of my relationship, when the children were young, it wasn’t easy. But I can tell you, from my own experience, that you can implement strategies and find ways to still have an active sex life even when you have young kids at home.
Now, I will say that we didn’t have the sex life we have now when they were toddlers. Teenagers and adolescents are easier in that regards. But we did have sex on the regular back then, probably a minimum of one day a week, three times a week if we were lucky. Even while I was nursing and we were co-sleeping with an infant. Even when we were so exhausted, we’d want to fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
While this is completely normal, I venture to say that it’s NOT OKAY.
Rearing children is hard work. It’s stressful. It’s intimidating. And it beats the shit out of you on the daily. The least you can do to is find some release with sex.
Here are 9 ways parents can make time and space for sex!
1. Ask a friend to watch the kids.
If you’re thinking to yourself that there’s no way you can ask a friend to watch your kids, then pick a friend who’s also a parent with young kids. Ask them to watch your kids this Friday and you’ll watch theirs on Saturday. It’s a win-win for both of you!
2. Step up your home game.
If it’s just not possible to get someone to watch your children, then work together to get as much done as you can before the kids go to bed. This will help create the space many women (and men) need to decompress from one role (mother/maid) and into another (wife/lover). Use the chore time as foreplay, or what some fondly call choreplay, and start to build up the anticipation of what’s to come.
Added bonus: knowing the dishes are done and the clothes are put away before you become intimate can really help lower distractions.
3. Flirt. All the time.
Whether it’s a cute text mid-day telling your partner you’re thinking about them or it’s playing footsie while trying to keep the kids in the booth at McDonalds, remember to flirt with your lover all the time. Touch them. Kiss them. Keep the arousal levels slightly elevated and you’ll both want to get it on more, which makes it more of a priority and more likely that you’ll find a way to make it happen.
4. Woo her (or him).
Like for real. Woo her like you did when you were still trying to get in her pants! Go on dates. Bring home flowers. Write him love poems. This is perhaps the one thing parents can benefit from the most, yet so few of us do it! Date each other and strive to keep the other person interested in you, just like you did way back when.
5. Embrace shower sex.
When my oldest was a baby, my Hubby installed a second showerhead. And while neither of us were a huge fan of shower sex, we quickly found that taking a shower together gave us the opportunity to talk and connect in a way we were missing. And that it was possible to get showered and get off all within an episode of Micky Mouse Clubhouse. Plus there was no risk of waking up the baby, and we weren’t waiting until the end of the night when we were totally exhausted.
6. Seize opportunities.
Speaking of not waiting to the end of the night and Micky Mouse Clubhouse, if you want to have an active sex life when you have young kids, you must learn to recognize and seize opportunities when they arise. Don’t wait until the end of the night when you damn while know you’re doing to be exhausted (or if you have to, sneak in a mid-day nap), especially when you know little Liam is going to climb into bed at 11:37 pm, like he does every damn night.
So find opportunities and take advantage of them. Grandma and the kids just leave for a walk? You’ve got 20 minutes, you better hurry! But for this to be successful, or even a possibility for that matter, you must be doing both number three and four above. Because if you’re flirting and wooing each other, you’ll be much more ready and willing to have a quickie than if you haven’t even thought about sex and are holding some resentment because you haven’t had a night out together since before COVID.
7. Enjoy a rendezvous.
Meet after work before you pick the kids up at the sitter. Sure a hotel is great, but if you don’t have the time nor the money, don’t let that stop you! There are lots of ways to have sex outside. You can meet at a local park or an old back road and climb in the backseat together. Sure, you may not be 16, but you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.
8. Take what you can get.
I’m not a promoter of quick, rushed sex, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. If it’s a quickie, so be it. Get your own hands involved if you need some extra stimulation to get off (girl, I know it doesn’t take you no 20 minutes on your own). If you don’t have the time for penetration, that’s okay! Open up your definition of sex and enjoy a blow-job-finger-fuck combo or some jointly-satisfying mutual masturbation.
9. Be willing.
It sure is easy to say you want more sex, but if you’re not willing to make it a priority and sometimes step out of your comfort zone, then you’re likely going to struggle. But if you’re willing to make intimacy a priority (because it damn well should be) and do things you haven’t done before (like go down on her in the bed of your truck on your lunch break), then you’ll find a way. So put it on the calendar. Plan ahead (how else would you know to bring some blankets). And find some new and interesting ways to fit sex into your life!
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