The Co-Sleeping Challenge

Attaching to baby often means distancing from your spouse. Here’s how to stay connected as a couple.

CoSleeping Challenge

by Michael Ansaldo

photo courtesy of Jesse Weinberg

filed under Advice, Sex

Once a couple become parents, having any kind of sex life, let alone a fulfilling one, can feel nearly impossible. The exhaustion, stress, and hormonal changes experienced by both moms and dads do plenty to dampen desire. Add co-sleeping with your child to the mix and the problem becomes massive.

But bringing your baby or young child into your bed doesn’t mean you must resign yourself to a sex-starved relationship. It just requires a little creativity. Here are a few ideas for keeping the spark alive when you share your sleeping space.

Move the Children

It’s easy to take the idea of attachment parenting too literally. But there’s nothing in the philosophy that forbids creating a little personal space now and then. Even popular AP proponent Dr. William Sears suggests moving the baby when the mood hits. Just place the little one in their bassinet or co-sleeper in another room, then bring them back into bed when your private time is over.

If you have older children, set them up to safely watch a movie while you and your partner slip away to the bedroom for a quick tête-à-tête. And don’t forget to lock the door.

Romp in Another Room

While your kids are asleep in your bed, go take a tumble in theirs. Turnabout is fair play, after all. But if the thought of doing it in front of Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends creeps you out, there are plenty of other options.

Try the bathroom (steamy shower sex could be just the thing to break you out of your post-partum doldrums), the kitchen (food is a noted aphrodisiac), or the living room (the couch will do; just don’t tell company).

Get a Sitter

No one said date night has to be dinner and a movie. Schedule a sitter and reserve a room at a local hotel; you don’t have to stay the night. If that’s not in the budget, drop the kids at their grandparents—your mom and dad have been wanting to spend more time with them, right?—then head back home for a couple of hours of re-connecting.

Embrace Quickies

Stealing moments for sex leaves little time for scented candles and rose petals on the bed. Rather than lamenting the loss of those elaborate lovemaking sessions, practice the art of the quickie. Sex on-the-fly provides all the benefits of its unabbreviated form, including increased intimacy, stress relief, and the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin.

You don’t have to go “all the way,” either. Indulging in what your grandparents called “heavy petting” can get the job done and even spice up your love life by evoking the clandestine trysts of your youth.

Connection with your little one is important, but so is intimacy with the person who created the little one with you in the first place. It’s not impossible to have both.


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