It's no secret that children bring joy, love, and wonder into your world. But they're also really good at sucking down your energy, patience, and, in particular, sex life. Being a
parent and trying to have sex means getting creative and making plans on how to have sex with kids in the house. It's not always easy, especially when you have a kid who refuses to nap or cries every time you leave the room — but it's not completely hopeless.
In fact, depending on the ages of your kids, it may be easier than you think — especially if you throw out your rules on
screen time and making sure your child is engaged with you at every moment possible. Oh, and remember it might take some creativity to make it happen: You may have to give up always having sex in your bed in order to keep your sex life existent. There are plenty of places in your home where you can get it on without your children noticing, and it might even make your sex hotter than usual (an added bonus). With this age-by-age guide, you're sure to find a way to meet your needs (and your partner's) without ruining your kid's childhood — because no one wants to see their parents doing it on the couch. Newborn: First, make sure they’re safe
This is likely the least complicated time when it comes to
balancing intimacy and having a kid in the house. Put that baby somewhere safe, such as their crib or the swing, and get busy. Your kid has no idea what you're doing, you don't have to worry about them walking in and asking a million questions, and you know they aren't going anywhere while you're otherwise engaged. Age 1: Put them down for the night
Things get a little more complicated when your kid hits the age of 1, but it's not impossible. Because a 1-year-old may not be as happy as a newborn chilling in their crib, you'll have to hit the sheets every time they do settle down. Whether they're taking a nap or down for the night, make use of that time and get intimate with your partner.
One of the most effective ways to have sex while a kid is in the house is to simply
schedule sexual activity and plan around it. In fact, according to Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D., LCSW, a psychotherapist who works with couples, scheduling sex is actually a wonderful way to build more connection with your partner. “It’s perfectly normal and sometimes it works better than spontaneous sex because everyone is so busy, and there are children and all kinds of distractions involved,” Smerling previously told Romper. “It’s a scheduled time for connection when we all neglect connection in our busy lives. Making time for that is a wise idea, and fun!” Age 2: Call in some backup
Now your toddler is straight-up refusing to nap, and you're utterly exhausted by the time they're down for the night. But if you're not going to do it while they're sleeping, you may have to call in some backup. Have grandma hang out with your sweet pea while you and your partner "nap" or pay for a babysitter to keep your child safe while you and your SO get some "work done.” Your little one won’t know the difference between you going out to dinner on a date night or doing something a bit more than eating a meal.
Age 3: Try non-bedroom locations
Your child sleeps now, but only if it's in your bed because there are monsters in their room. Now's the time when sex has to get creative. Once your kid is settled in your bed, hit up the kitchen, the bathroom, or even the living room couch for some hot and steamy sex. This might even be an excuse to try something spicy and new with your partner.
“It can be sexy and fun and a little clandestine, like a rendezvous at noon when the kids aren’t around,” Smerling said. “You might go to a hotel to have sex in a place you’ve never been before. Have sex on the living room floor. Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve been doing before. It’s a way to play and do something different.”
Age 4: Give them a distraction
One answer: iPad. Just give them the iPad, Nintendo Switch, or maybe even a fresh coloring book so you can have fifteen minutes of
Paw Patrol-induced peace. Though it may feel like you’re selfishly putting your own needs in front of your kid’s, it’s still important to give yourself time and space to be and feel sexual if that’s what you want. Like anything, if you let sexual energy build up by not allowing yourself some time apart from your kid, you won’t feel happy. “ Parents need timeouts as much as children!” licensed therapist and family counselor Katie Lear previously told Romper. “Taking a break helps everyone to get their feelings under control so they can make better choices, and not say or do something they'll regret later.” Age 5: Make some rules
At five, naps aren't as guaranteed as they were just a year ago. But you know what you can insist on? Quiet time. Send your 5-year-old to their room with a coloring book, a movie, some LEGOs, whatever will keep them occupied and quiet. They can properly
understand rules and consequences at 5. "A child can understand the idea of a consequence for their behavior in very concrete terms at a fairly early age,” Darby Fox, a child and adolescent family therapist practicing in New York, previously told Romper. "Around age 4, a child can start to understand the future loss of a privilege as punishment." So set some boundaries for you kid, such as a rule that if anyone leaves their room before quiet time is over, they don't get any dessert. Age 6: Use little excuses
Time to lie to your sweet little cherub. Of course, it’s never good to build a relationship on lies, especially with your kids, but this harmless fib truly doesn’t mean anything to them when they are this young. "I'll be folding clothes in the laundry room" is a great choice or "I have to fix a leak in the basement." Make sure your kid knows that if they interrupt, they'll be made to help. Now it's time for a quickie.
Age 7: Secretly bribe them with snacks
What 7-year-old doesn't love a bowl of ice cream or some Oreos and milk? Set them up with their favorite snack and sneak off to the bedroom. If you know your kiddo gets snacky at a certain time of day and is perfectly content munching on their food while watching an episode of something on Netflix, designate that time for sex on days you and your partner are feeling it.
If you and your partner don’t take these opportunities, you both might feel over time that your
sexual needs aren’t being met and carry resentment. “Likely, if there is no plan, sex will fall by the wayside and one partner will not get their needs met,” Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist at Vibrant, previously told Romper. “So, planning sex is an excellent idea. While kids add another layer to a healthy sex life, they don’t have to kill the spontaneity — it just needs to be recreated in other ways.” Age 8: Give them a task
Things are starting to get a little tricky the older your kids get. But you can make it happen! At 8, your kids probably have a few chores they're responsible for in the house. Send them off to do one of them on their own. Whether it's cleaning their rooms, giving the dog a bath, or picking up toys in the backyard, it's sure to keep them busy long enough for you and your partner to find somewhere to go.
Age 9: Give them the slip
Send those children outside to play, or let yourself slip outside while they're occupied in the house. At 9, your kid is pretty safe at home, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of your backyard, especially at nighttime, and have a little outdoor romp. In general, the more you prioritize and
incorporate sex into your life, even after you have kids, the more normalized and effortless it will become. “Sometimes it can pay big dividends to jump into sex without over-thinking it,” Alexis Taylor, Ph.D., a relationship and sex expert, tells Romper. “The more often you do have sex, the less of a big deal it becomes.” It will just be another part of being an adult raising children — except maybe a bit more exciting than other parts. Age 10 & up: tell them you need alone time
It's time to just tell your kids that you two need some alone time. Tell them you're going in your room and they aren't to disturb you unless it's an emergency. Turn up some music or your television, lock the door, and enjoy. You don’t have to explain everything to your kid — trust, they
don’t want that. That being said, having an open view of sex with your kid is a good thing in the long run. When you do that, though, is totally up to you as a parent.
Overall, having children in the house doesn’t have to ruin your sex life. If anything, it might give you an excuse to make sexual activity more exciting and intimate with your partner as you plan when to get it on or sneak away into the bathroom for a midday quickie.
Experts: Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D., LCSW, psychotherapist who works with couples Katie Lear, licensed therapist and family counselor Darby Fox, child and adolescent family therapist Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist at Vibrant Alexis Taylor, Ph.D., relationship and sex expert
This article was originally published on
April 25, 2016