If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me that their kids were keeping them from having sex, I would have added a lot to my piggy bank. What I have found is that the kids are often a convenient excuse, but really aren’t to blame for our lack of sex. In this episode, we’re talking about 5 common reasons women give me for children interupting their sex life and the strategies to overcome them. After all, your spouse is the most important relationship you have so let’s work together to help you have a better relationship with him.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that their kids and teens made it hard to have sex, I’d be a very rich woman. The question of “my husband wants to try these new things, but we have kids, so I don’t know what he is expecting” would add to my piggy bank. We often blame the kids for disrupting our sex life, but are they really to blame or are we using them as an excuse? Today we are going to tackle the most common reasons people tell me about why sex is hard because of their kids and teens and strategies to overcome them.
1 The kids might wake up
If you are having sex at night or in the morning, or even during nap time, it is a definite possibility that your kids might wake up. But they also might not. If you have kids with unpredictable sleep schedules, it’s probably more of a possibility, but unless your kids are really little or need your immediate attention, it doesn’t have to be an issue. You can tell them to hold on, you can soothe them quickly and then get right back to it. A lot of times it’s how we manage the situation that is actually the problem, not them waking up that is. Are you a mom that has to jump to attention every time your child calls? Are you living your life at the mercy of all of your children’s wants and wishes instead of teaching them that they are important but your relationship with your spouse is the most important? I think many times as mothers we get so immersed in mothering that we forget that we are a wife first and foremost. That our identity becomes about motherhood instead of that being one of many roles that we have. So quit using the excuse that your kids might wake up to stop having sex. And don’t use it as an excuse to not try getting in the mood because it’s a possibility. Also don’t use it as an excuse to not be in the mood if you do have to stop. You can work to get back there IF it’s important to you.
2 The kids bug us during sex
Whether your kids are banging on the door or walking in on you in the middle of getting it on, this is a great time to teach your children boundaries. When my husband and I got married, we both had kids that were 3-4 years old that were used to sleeping with us when we were single. So when we got married, we set some rules to protect our time and space. We let them know that we would snuggle with them in their rooms before bed, but our room was off limits. We also make sure that we always lock our door if we were having sex. Teaching your children boundaries is a really important skill. Now some may think we are too harsh or that this limits the kind of relationship we have with our kids, and if they want to think that, it’s ok. But I don’t think it limits my relationship with my kids in any way. I think it sets us up to have a great relationship where they see that my relationship with my spouse is the most important but they are important to me too. And locks on the doors are imperative. I’ve also heard of people putting “Do not Disturb” signs on the door, which I think is a great idea as well, when your kids are a little older and can read.
3 The kids might hear us
This one is a pretty common concern for all ages. We are worried about being heard during sex and use that as an excuse not to have it. Stop making excuses. It’s ok if your kids know that you are having sex. In fact, it’s actually good for them. Do they want to hear it all? Probably not. But hearing some things isn’t going to hurt them. It’s your sexual shame that prevents this, and that is actually what needs to be worked through. In the meantime, you can also do some things to minimize the noise. I’m a big fan (no pun intended) of putting fans or white noise machines in all the rooms to cut down on noise. We have fans but we also have Amazon Alexa’s in every room and use the white noise setting on it. It works great.
4 The kids know what we are doing
Chances are, especially if you have older kids, your kids know that you are having sex. This is where more of the sexual shame comes into play. If having your kids know what you are doing is a turn off or sexual brake for you, we need to ask why. What are the root belief systems that are causing this to be a turn off for you? Again, it’s ok that they know, and it’s even a good thing they do. Sure, they don’t need to know the details, but knowing that their parents have a great sex life provides them with safety and security. You are modeling to them what a good and loving marriage is. Don’t you want the same thing for them? Or maybe better than what you have? How are they going to know that it’s ok for them unless you model it? So many of us pass on our sexual shame to our kids because of how we handle things. I’m guessing the shame you have was probably passed on to you by your own parents. Don’t do the same thing to your own kids.
5 The kids are up late
If your teenagers are anything like mine, they are up late doing homework, working, or out with friends on the weekends. This can definitely feel like an interruption to sexy time, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be. I think we have this false notion that we can only have sex right before bed, when we are exhausted, and that just isn’t true. I am a big advocate for morning sex. We tend to have less inhibitions in the morning, we aren’t as tired, and many times our kids aren’t up yet. If you can sacrifice a little bit of sleep 1-2 times per week, it can be well worth it. You can also go to “bed” early and have sex and then one or both get back up with the teenagers who are up late. I’m also a big fan of sneaking sex in wherever you can get it; nap time, right when he gets home from work, lunch breaks, etc.
6 The teenagers want to talk at night
It seems pretty common that night time is when many teenagers tend to open up. And of course we want to be available to our teenagers when that happens. We want to forge good relationships with them. But we also have to look at how we are balancing that with the relationship with our spouse, which should be first and foremost. If you know or suspect that your teenager is going to want to talk when they get home that night, have sex earlier in the evening so you are available and not interrupted. Maybe don’t plan on having sex on weekend nights if that’s when it tends to be. Maybe shift sex more to the middle of the week or mornings, like we talked about earlier. You are most likely NOT going to be bugged by a teenager wanting to talk in the morning!
A few years ago, my 15-year old daughter came home late one night after being out with her friends and she knocked on our door to let us know that she was home while we were in the middle of things. I yelled through the door that I’m glad she was home and goodnight and she said “wait…I need to talk to you.” I told her she’d have to wait and that it would be a little bit before I could come out. She literally waited right outside my door. We finished what we were doing, I put on my robe, and came out of my bedroom. She looked at me and said “so, did you have fun?” And I replied wholeheartedly, “YES I DID!”
I was willing to talk to her but wanted to make sure I was done having my fun and spending time with my husband. She knows she’s important to me, but she also knows that he is my priority. I worked for years to get over my own sexual shame, so that even when interrupted and a teenager right outside my door, I can get right back to it with no problems.
Yes, there are going to be periods of time when finding convenient times to have sex is going to be harder. During those times, our brains tend to freak out and think that things are always going to be that way, and that’s just not true. So remind yourself that! But it’s also important that you continue to make your spouse and sex a priority throughout the many phases you go through.
I’ve recently gotten a few questions from listeners and clients where their spouse doesn’t feel like they are making them and their sexual a relationship a priority because of other things that are going on in the family. When we have children struggling and an endless stream of fires that need to be put out, it can definitely take a toll on our capacity. And yes, sometimes we need to make sacrifices with our time and energy to make sure that our children are alive and have what they need and so sometimes other things, like our sexual relationship, have to move lower on the priority list. I’ve talked about in several previous episodes that stress can kill desire and literally suppresses the sexual response for the majority of people. So if you are under a tremendous amount of stress, it’s one of the stages that things might have to change for a little while and both partners need to be understanding of that.
Having said that, so much of that really depends on HOW you look at sex. As a woman, if you see sex as something you do for your husband and you don’t understand how it can be FOR YOU, then sex and your husband probably seem like one more thing on your to-do list, one more thing you have to take care of, one more thing that is pulling on your time and energy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you can start to understand how sex can be FOR YOU, it can help nourish you, strengthen you, revive you, and give you some respite from the stress you are feeling. It can give you energy and vitality to continue to put out the fires you have in other areas of your life.
With all of the things we’ve talked about today, you need to examine how much truth there is in all of them or are you using them as excuses to not engage sexually, to not grow yourself, to spend time on everything else except your husband, your marriage, and your sexual relationship. How much is shame playing a part in all of this? Self-confrontation is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your marriage. And of course, if you need help with this, I am here for you. Just a reminder, that my Embrace You! Elite Society Membership will be closing its doors at the end of the month. If you’ve been waiting, don’t wait any longer to get help!