By Guest Blogger Gray Moulton, LMFT, PLLC
It’s a question I have been asked numerous times over the last six months, “How do we manage sex during Covid 19 quarantining with the kids?”
Now some of you might be thinking, “Sex?!? Are you serious? My partner is driving me absolutely crazy at this point.” Or “I’m not having sex while my kids are constantly at home!”
No matter which you’ve thought, believe me, you are not alone. Even the healthiest of couples are finding themselves under a lot of stress and strain right now. While stay-at-home orders may provide a wonderful time to connect with each other, being confined day in and day out with your family has managed to produce a decline in many sexual relationships when there are kids already involved.
Most couples go through a period of change within their intimate lives when they shift from being a couple to a couple with kid(s). This is actually a common problem.
However, living life while under quarantine has compounded this problem 10 times over for most. Loss of privacy, inability to go to the gym to work off stress, loss of date nights out, higher than normal demands on family life and constantly being around someone else certainly can lead to communication breakdowns across the board.
I tell my clients often that healthy relationships start with healthy amounts of intimacy, therefore, the need to keep that intimacy around is incredibly important. Covid or not, as human beings, physical touch and intimacy is important. Not only do our physical beings need it, but intimacy helps with our emotional states as well. We can’t let Covid take this away from us.
If you are finding that loss of intimacy is affecting you, take some time right now to make a few notes about your concerns to later discuss with your partner. Ask your partner to do the same and schedule a time, in private, where you can share these thoughts together. Remember, it is important to listen and respect what they say while also being sensitive to each other’s needs.
Your partner may not understand your fears of being heard during intimacy, for example. They may not grasp your needs either. Communicating, now more than ever, is immensely important. Come up with different ways, ideas, times and places that may make for easier lovemaking. Kids really don’t want to go into the laundry room because they know they will be put to work. Be creative about how you can make the laundry room into a quick sneak away spot. Older kids can be told that when you are in your room and the door is closed, it’s adult time and they need not bother you unless there is an emergency. Discuss what reasonable needs look like now that you are at home together all of the time. Agree that more screen time sometimes provides more quality private time for the two of you, and this is ok for a bit. Consider different means of making privacy happen such as putting hotel locks on the doors or using music or white noise to mask sounds. Maybe make pallets on the floor so as not to have that squeaky bed making too much noise. Pull out the old baby monitors if you feel you need to keep an ear open. Take time to come up with a mutually agreed upon response should the kids by chance happen upon you. If your children are used to seeing you kissing and holding hands, they will be used to seeing you touch. You could simply say something like, “Even though we’ve been together for a very long time, we still enjoy spending time together and love each other very much. That includes taking a rest together.”
Once you’ve both had time to share, it’s time to pull out the calendars and schedule sexy time. Yes, I know, this is such a drag and it isn’t spontaneous at all. I totally agree, but I also agree that unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions.
Scheduling something will let you both know that every Thursday late afternoon for example, is YOU time. The kids can be taught this too. For them, it becomes choose your own movie afternoon. They are allowed to choose a movie and eat popcorn, while you are allowed to spend quality time together, alone, without them. Scheduling may not be your first choice, no, but think about it this way: knowing that every Thursday is YOU time, it gives you something to look forward to.
Fantasize about what you’d like to do. Look up that new position you read about or determine if now is the time to add a bit more kink to the bedroom. Scheduling gives you an entire week to set the stage. Sexting has become very popular during this time of not getting out. Flirt! Send a sexy pic right out of the shower with your towel still wrapped around you. Share a few ideas of what you’d like to do when you get to your YOU time. Scheduling also helps to keep track of the days of the week, considering every day seems to blur together with no end in sight right now. It will also help to allow for more connectedness during a time when everyone is in crisis mode. After all, sex and intimacy are usually normal parts of couple’s lives. Nothing seems normal right now, but, having a plan on when to be intimate can help you.
Now before you start coming up with a bunch of grand excuses, keep in mind that this is for your health, both physical and emotional. Yes, the smaller your home, the more challenging you may find it to sneak away right now. If you really want to add that intimacy back into your lives, nothing is impossible with a bit of creative thinking and simple kid distraction. Sneaking around could also make those folks prone to anxiety become overly anxious. Reframe that anxiety!! Remember back when sneaking around and trying to figure out how to have a quicky was so much fun?!?! Remember how it added an extra thrill to your life? That’s all you would be doing now!! You never know, this could even help you reconnect to your inner playful self and remind you of the younger, super adventurous person you once were.
Lastly, so you’re staying in your pajamas all day and no longer feel sexy anymore. I get it! I also remember how fun it used to be to want to get clean and prepare for a date. Make that time fun too!! Use your lotions you’ve been saving for special occasions. Create the spa day at home leading up to your YOU time. It’s ok to pamper yourself some now. We all need it.
In closing, sex and intimacy are just as important now as they were pre-Covid 19. Times are different for sure and kids always home is definitely hard. Right now, it’s key to communicate and schedule. Visualize how you’d like your time to be spent. Share your thoughts. Don’t make it about having to have an orgasm every time. Instead, make it about enjoying the moment and having fun with your partner. Keep your mind on the moment too.
“Whether you’re trying to reach a climax before the baby wakes or before the pot roast comes out of the oven, or trying to maximize on shower time before your toddler comes banging on the door, a quickie is a great exercise in the power of concentration,” says relationship coach Denise J. Charles, author of “How To Have Mind-Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain.” If you want to play hard at sex in record time, then it will involve every enthusiastic fiber of your being; no holds barred!” Be sure to tighten the bolts on the bed frame and throw an old pair of socks between it and the wall if you are worried about the noise. Lock your door and turn the music up some. Make this YOU time about you to keep that connection between you and your partner alive.
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