Yes, It’s Possible To Co-Sleep With Your Child And Still Have a Sex Life

But you have to be creative, proactive, and patient.
Yes, It’s Possible To Co-Sleep With Your Child And Still Have a Sex Life

There are a lot of potential benefits to co-sleeping with your child. It helps you bond. It makes nursing easier. It can reduce nighttime crying and decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). I’m a proponent of the parenting approach myself: Our son has been sleeping with my wife and me since he was just a few weeks old.

But I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Co-sleeping is not going to do any favors for your sexual relationship with your partner. In fact, having a baby in the bed could totally destroy your love life, unless you are creative, proactive, and patient.

Once you begin having sex after the pregnancy, which can be a fraught process for any number of reasons, it’s initially easiest  when the child hasn’t started crawling yet and still spends most of their time catching zees. I suggest you think outside of the bedroom. I personally don’t like the idea of having sex while the baby sleeps in the bed with you (and I’m even more horrified by the idea of my son one day asking me, “Hey, did you and mom do it on next to me when I was a baby?”) but if you’re comfortable with that approach, then go for it.

Regardless, there are usually still plenty of other places to have sex where you’re still close by and can get to the baby quickly if it needs attention. A home office, the bathroom, or the living couch will all suffice. If need be, use the dining room table, as long as you make sure to clean it afterward. It may not be a king-sized bed in a suite at the Ritz, but you have to work with what’s available.

When it happens can be equally unorthodox. Embrace spontaneity and take any opportunity that presents itself. In the beginning, this will usually be when the baby is sleeping, though if a friend has your little one over for a playdate with their kid or a relative has a hankering to take your child to the zoo to see the pandas, carpe the heck out of that diem and get to it while you have the time. Don’t be fussy or overthink things. Just do it.

Or you may have to plan sex, which sounds passionless and almost clinical. Now is a good time to start a shared digital calendar. When you become comfortable with leaving the child with a caregiver for longer periods of time, regularly schedule getaways for just the two. That might be a weekend out of town, a staycation for a night, or a couple of hours at a no-tell motel.

There’s an old saying that anticipation is the best aphrodisiac, so do everything you can to stoke your partner’s ardor when you’re not between the sheets (or having a wild shag on the dining room table). I’ve found that provocative text messages and surprise floral arrangements go a long way, but do whatever works best to get your partner steamed up.

Above all, you need to adapt, be resourceful, and stay focused. The rewards are more than worth the effort, so get on with getting it on.

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Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of seven books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, the travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their four-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.