Since becoming parents almost nine years ago, my husband and I have always had a child (or two) in our bed, camped out on the floor, or on an extra mattress smushed up against ours. Basically, my husband and I have given up all bedroom privacy since kids entered the picture. I’m not going to lie and say it’s all sunshine and roses, but it’s what we do, and everyone (including my husband) is happy with the arrangement. I totally get that not everyone wants to share a bed or a bedroom with their kids, and it goes without saying that every family should do what works for them.
But anytime someone mentions co-sleeping, there is always a lot of chatter about how it will supposedly destroy your sex life (almost always coming from someone who has never co-slept). Again, if you don’t want to share a bed with your kids, don’t do it. But I want to make one thing clear about those of us who co-sleep: We still have as much sex as we damn well please.
I mean, it’s not that my husband and I are getting it on every night (how many exhausted, busy parents are?). There are a million reasons why sex becomes more challenging once you have kids, but co-sleeping is not going to stop you from having sex. If you want it, you’ll make it happen.
1. Have sex somewhere else. I mean, duh. Why do people think their bed is the only place for sex? Frankly, that can get boring. For the first seven years of being parents, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. If we wanted sex after the kids went to sleep, we closed the door to our bedroom and hooked up somewhere else: the couch, the floor, the shower, the hallway, wherever. Now that we have extra bedrooms (none of which our kids sleep in), there are endless choices.
2. Sex doesn’t have to happen at night. Nighttime is actually my least favorite time to have sex. Getting our kids to sleep is a tour through fiery hell. Once they’ve finally hit the sack, I might have a quarter-ounce of libido left—but probably not. After I’ve brushed my teeth, put on my PJ’s, and slid under the covers, I’m done. So we slip in a little hook-up during afternoon “rest time” at our house (i.e., the little kid is napping and the big kid is playing video games). We get a room, lock the door… you get the picture.
3. Date nights. Well, for us, we usually do a date DAY because we can’t keep our eyes open past 8 p.m. We’ve gone to the movies a few times, but usually at least part of our date is spent at home, frolicking in bed. Oh, and it’s marvelous to do it in a totally empty house!
4. Think outside the box (I mean, the bed). There are a million other ways you might slip in a little sex. Meet your significant other for a rendezvous during a lunch break. Go on a vacation together, or book an afternoon at a hotel. Drop off the kids at grandma’s to go “grocery shopping.” Sex becomes a lot like teenage sex—you sneak around. Sex happens in quick, passionate, secret trysts. I think it’s pretty thrilling.
Sure, there is the rare night when I am not dying of exhaustion, and I want sex after the lights go out. Then we’ll go to a different room for a bit and have some fun. But usually our eyes close before we can make any moves. Sure, I sometimes wish our bed were entirely ours, as it once was, but I understand that these years of bed-sharing are a blip in time. I am certain that in few years we’ll be less exhausted, and our little ones will be tucked into beds in their own rooms.
For now, my husband and I find ways, and are both wholly satisfied with our sex life. Most importantly, we get to fall asleep to the sweet sound of our children’s breathing. We are right there if they wake up from a nightmare, or just need reassurance. If we’re lucky, we’ll only get kicked in the head a few times in the middle of the night. And if we’re really lucky, we’ll wake up getting covered in crazy kid cuddles.