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A Bed Built for Two

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I love sleeping without my children.

intimate couple

Diana Landen: I love snuggling up to my husband and talking about my sexual fantasies. I love having him climb into bed and stop to pin me beneath him. I love waking up and reaching out to grab him for a few moments of early morning fondling. I love having our own bed, a space for sex and sexuality.

I know many parents are able to share their beds with their children and still have active sex lives. Apparently the parents sneak off and have sex on an empty bed or floor. We never managed to do that. Sex on the floor is good for variety, but it's not really comfortable. And who has the energy to move out of bed once they become parents? We didn't need variety in our sex lives, we needed sex in our sex lives.

Nevertheless, I spent many years of my life with infants and small children in my bedroom. We had cribs beside the bed, toddlers lying in between us, and preschoolers who started the night in their own beds and joined us later on. What we didn't have was sex.

My friend Selene has a theory of maternal orgasm: the further the children's bedrooms are from yours, the better your orgasms. I ignored her words of wisdom. Somehow we adjusted and survived a sparse sex life. It wasn't until after my youngest was finally sleeping all night in her own bed that I realized what we had been missing.

Sexual desire is not something you can just turn on when opportunity knocks. Once you have children, opportunity usually knocks when you're exhausted and need sleep. More importantly, I need time to build up my desire. Time to snuggle with my husband and tease each other, time to daydream by myself. Part of an active sex life is the foreplay that goes on for days ahead of time.

It wasn't just about time and logistics, though. For me to even feel comfortable thinking about sex, I need a sense of distance from my children. Once our bed became our own again, Sleeping Mama woke up. The next thing I knew, I was shopping at adult toy stores and hunting my G-spot with my husband. Now we both grin goofily and indulge each other's faults all day long.

I could never go back to the life I had before when half of my self was shut away in a drawer somewhere. But I'm not sure I could have done things completely differently either.

There are good reasons our children were in our bedroom. Babies need to eat at night to grow and thrive, and many children continue to wake up at night for years. Sleeping with your little ones is easier. You don't have to wake up and walk to another room to feed them. You don't have to go to their bedroom and help them fall back asleep. In fact, preschoolers may have fewer nightmares in the first place.

And yet I could not do it over again. There were good reasons my children were in my bedroom, good reasons for them and good reasons for me -- but not good enough now that I remember what I was missing.

My advice for a young woman about to be a mother? Don't drift into forgetting what it's like to be free and sexual, like I did. If you find you're still not having much sex after the first six months, consider making some changes. Get more sleep, plan time alone with your husband, set up a place for sex in the living room. And if you have to, try moving your little ones out of your bedroom as soon as they are old enough.

I wish I'd understood earlier that it's okay if you need to move your children out of your bedroom. We're adults, we need sex. In fact, we deserve it. Besides, sex makes us kinder, happier, less neurotic people. It builds and strengthens our love for each other. And in the end, a love affair with your husband is a good thing for everyone.

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 30, 2009, 1:15 PM

Kids belong in their own beds. Period.

Bill October 31, 2009, 11:00 AM

From article: “Sleeping with your little ones is easier. “

Translation: Lazy parenting.

Solution: Don’t be lazy. Too many parents take the easy way, and we have too many spoiled, self-centered, ADHD kids to show for it.

Miranda October 31, 2009, 11:38 PM

Right now I live in a 1-BR, 2-bath and our situation is interesting to say the least. We have part of the great room curtained off as a nursery but the rest is kind of open, except for the master suite which is clossed off. So what we do is put our 5 month old in the portable crib in our room to fall asleep while we watch TV, do wash, etc., then we transfer him to his real crib in the living room when we go to sleep. We get night-time intimacy, but sometimes during the day/early evening we have free time to get it on on the couch, floor, etc. Because of this, I literally have condoms stashed in secret places in the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom lol.

tennmom November 1, 2009, 11:25 AM

I kept my first daughter’s crib in our bedroom for the first couple of weeks. I was glad to move her across the hall b/c that child moved (still does)ALOT at night & it would wake me up.
I kept my younger daughter in my bed (late-husband slept upstairs, had flu &pneum onia when we brought 2nd daughter home) for weeks. It was so much easier to roll over to nurse her. Stitches + sitting up=OUCH. I moved her upstairs after I healed. Inconvenient, but we all slept better. One of her first sentences was “I want my bed.”
Both girls slept with me for a few weeks after my late-husband died b/c I wanted them close.
Every once in a while my now 9 year old will join “now-husband” of 2 years in our bed. We have a king sized,plenty of room, enjoy snuggling with her. I know she will stop in a year or so, so I welcome her when she does come to our bed.

laura November 1, 2009, 2:13 PM

Bill-I am assuming then that you are the one who gets up for nursing 3 times in the middle of the night for 6 months straight-the first few weeks w/ stitches across your belly? and that you are the one who gets up with the screaming toddler in the middle of the night when it takes a good hour to calm them and put them back in their bed only to have them wake up again? All after you have taken care of everyone elses needs with no time to yourself to even go to the bathroom alone for weeks at a time! For the record, our kid has always been put in his own bed, but don’t judge mommies as LAZY until you have to walk in their very exhausted shoes!

Anonymous November 2, 2009, 6:08 AM

Disturbing article. Speaks volumes about this creepy place we call society. I feel so sorry for many of you who married the wrong ones and didn’t find a way to believe in true love enough to find a partner who never tires you or asks too much of you.

Julia November 2, 2009, 6:47 AM

EXECLLENT article. Children NEVER belong in bed with the parents. It is laziness (my co-sleeping friends totally admit that fact). You and your husband NEED separation from the children during the night.

Carl Penn November 3, 2009, 1:06 PM

The easiest way to search the G-spot is use adult sex toys

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Candy April 23, 2010, 4:17 PM

I do have to say having a “family bed” as it is sometimes called is a personal choice and not laziness in some cases. My husband and I have no problem with it or our sex lives. Our son does start in his bed but wakes up in the middle of the night and comes to get in bed with us. He did sleep with me in the begining but thats how we liked it. I have never have a problem with intimacy in my life. I am not saying there are not pros and cons for a family bed vs sleeping in their own beds but that is up to the parents for what is best for them and the child(ren).

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