Finding private time for sex

Dear Dr. Patti:

I have a real hard time relaxing during sex. My in-laws live in the basement of my home, and my four-year-old is up and down all night. I just can't be myself when I'm alone with my husband. Any suggestions so I can enjoy my sex life again?

--iVillager "S"


Dear S:

My first inclination is to tell you to get a new place to live -- honestly! In our chat room this issue surfaces a lot. Many iVillagers are moms, and all the moms are challenged in how and where to make time for sex -- sex without the interruptions, without the embarrassment and with the joy that once was there, before baby arrived on the scene.

I suggest that you find a way to create some real boundaries to solidify your time alone with your husband. For example, hire a babysitter one night every two weeks, in-laws or no in-laws, and go out to a nice dinner. Allow yourselves the necessity (it's not a luxury) of special, shared time away from the house and kid. Next, begin to set firm rules with your son or daughter. Make sure that you do not allow your child to enter your bedroom "after hours," when you feel like being sexual together. Often, parents capitulate to their children's whims regarding sleeping with Mom and Dad, which can cause a rift in the marital bond. Sex is a very personal and private act. You and your mate once had that as a pleasurable part of your relationship. It can be regained by carving out time and space that is not broken by family of any age.

As for your in-laws, perhaps you can discover a tactful way to broach this subject with them. They probably already sense that things are not working for you two in this aspect of your marriage. They may have once been in this same boat. Ask them to give you two some time and space for being the married couple that you are. Perhaps they have even been waiting to be asked to take their grandchild to spend the night in the basement with Grandpa and Grandma. Or maybe, even better, you could ask them to take their grandchild out for McDonalds and a movie once a week, in order to give you some alone time. What grandparent or grandchild would refuse the opportunity to bond over fast food?

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