Discover practical tips for busy parents seeking to find time for intimacy and sex in their relationships while managing family life. Explore strategies such as communication, flexibility, creating private spaces, and scheduling date nights to prioritise connection and maintain a strong bond with your partner despite challenges with children’s bedtime routines.
Finding Time For Intimacy When The Kids Stay Up Late
Between the sleep deprivation, recovery from pregnancy and birth, hormonal changes, and lack of time to themselves, most couples find their sex life takes a hit when they become parents. You might imagine intimacy will get easier as your kids get older, and in many ways, it probably will. But if there’s one thing we know about parenting, it’s that as soon as we get confident dealing with one phase, our children – and their needs and routines – change again.
Even after all that time you spent longing for them to sleep through the night, you might find yourself missing the days when they napped in the afternoon, or were asleep earlier in the evening. You might wonder how you’re supposed to balance family life with maintaining a strong connection with your partner, especially once your kids are still awake when you want to wind down for the evening.
“[Sex after baby is] definitely different. I’m so exhausted at the end of each day, so I’m like, ‘Can this not happen at night when I’m exhausted?’ You find different times to do it.” ~ Hilary Duff
In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips for couples who want to prioritise intimacy and sex, both for themselves and as part of modelling a healthy adult relationship. With open communication, creativity, and flexibility, you can navigate this phase and keep the spark alive.
1. Prioritise Communication
The foundation of any strong relationship is communication. To maintain intimacy in your relationship, you’re going to need to work together to find creative solutions. Getting both partners on board with this starts with being open and honest about your needs and desires.
2. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine
When your babies were little, you probably created a consistent bedtime routine to signal that it’s time to sleep. Now they’re older, their bedtime routine might change to include reading or listening to music in their rooms. This can free up some time for you and your partner to connect and enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day.
3. Make the Most of Available Time
Look for opportunities to build intimacy throughout the day, making the most of quick moments together. Touch your partner, hug them, hold hands, and kiss – these small gestures mean a lot. Couples who do this have a stronger connection, and more and better sex when they get the chance.
4. Embrace Flexibility
Intimacy and sex don’t always have to happen at night! Consider other times of the day when your kids might be occupied, like during naptime, or when they’re at school, watching TV, or busy engaged in other activities.
5. Create a Private Space
Get a lock for your bedroom door, and use it regularly – it’s okay for your kids to have to wait for you to open the door sometimes! If they ask about it, you can simply explain “sometimes we like to have some privacy”. It’s healthy to normalise this idea for them as they grow up.
6. Plan Regular Date Nights
If you can, schedule regular date nights and weekends away to reconnect with your partner without the distractions of your daily lives. Babysitting can be expensive, so it might help to think of it as an investment in your future happiness together. Consider too if you can leave your kids with family, or organise a childcare swap with friends with children around the same age – all great fun for everyone!
7. Teach Your Kids Boundaries
Part of raising kids is teaching them to balance their needs with other people’s. Educate your children about the importance of privacy and personal space. Encourage them to respect closed doors and have their own space where they can play, read, and relax. As they grow up, get in the habit of knocking before you enter their rooms too.
8. Be Patient and Understanding
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still struggle to find time for intimacy, especially when your kids stay up later in the evenings. Remember this is a temporary phase, keep experimenting, and as your children grow older, it will likely become easier to find time and space to be alone together.
9. Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you and your partner continue to struggle with maintaining intimacy, it might start to impact your relationship outside the bedroom too. Consider seeking the guidance of a therapist specialising in relationships and family dynamics to support you to communicate openly and problem-solve like a team.
Finding Time For Intimacy: Keep Everyone’s Needs In Balance
Finding time for intimacy and sex when kids are still awake can definitely be challenging, but it’s an essential part of maintaining a healthy and happy relationship for most couples. I hope you’ll find that by incorporating these practical tips into your daily life, you can create opportunities for connection, prioritise your relationship, and ensure you maintain a strong bond with your partner. Remember that open communication, creativity, and flexibility are the keys to successfully navigating this phase and keeping the spark alive.
For more help prioritising your sex life after having kids, check out Back In The Sack, where you’ll find all the most useful information you need to find a way back to having regular, satisfying sex, all in one place, simply laid out.
This workbook will support you to make the changes you want to your sex life, whether you work through it on your own or with your partner.
How The Back In The Sack Workbook Can Help You Prioritise Time For Intimacy After Having Kids
Back In The Sack is the sex after kids workbook by relationships after kids expert Catherine Topham Sly. It’s packed full of crystal clear information on:
- The typical pattern that couples get into that limits physical and emotional intimacy, and how to break it
- Why going from “Mum” or “Dad” to lover feels so difficult sometimes, and what you can do to make it easier
- How to get out of your head and into your body – where pleasure happens
- Breaking the cycle of rejection that leave you both feeling awful
Plus over 30 reflection/discussion questions to help you to think and talk through:
- Why sex matters to you, and how you’ll benefit from having more of it
- What’s holding you back, and how you can overcome your blocks
- How your body has changed and your needs might have done too
- What you need to start feeling sexy and enjoying sex again, and how you can get those needs met
And finally, there’s a section on talking about sex, with plenty of tips and those crucial examples to help you to start the conversation.
Download the workbook today and discover how you can balance family life with a strong physical connection with your partner.