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How Can We Have Sex When Our Kids Are Home?

It had been a long time. Not as long as, say, reading the Old Testament. But perhaps, as long as the 48 chapters of Ezekiel, since my husband and I’d had sex.

I lay the blame directly at the feet of our offspring. Now that they’re 10 and 12 they really don’t fall asleep much before 10 p.m.



We try. Oh how we try to get them into bed, lights out in a full REM cycle by 9 p.m. but invariably we’re thwarted. One of them has a stomach ache, the other one is having trouble falling asleep because she’s been reading The Hunger Games and President Snow certainly lurks in her closet. Then there are curtain calls for the bathroom, food and water. You’d think we’d dropped them in the desert biosphere on Naked and Afraid. 

By the time we can be entirely certain both girls are soundly asleep it’s close to midnight and we have one shared wall with the 10-year old who sleeps as lightly as the men of the Night Watch who are dedicated to holding The Wall against the Wildlings on Game of Thrones. 

All of this to say we try to stay awake long enough to make love like silent film stars. Vewwy vewwy quietly.

Cut to: Last night. Midnight. Exhausted as we were, we were not going down (so to speak) without a fight. We’d just begun certain preliminary gestures toward one another. Clothes were shucked, body parts beginning to mingle like awkward teenagers at an after-school dance when the distinct sound of padding feet made us freeze.

I imagine in my mind’s eye the fresco we might have made had we been captured thusly, my hands cupping his bottom, his hands grasping my breasts, both our eyes bulging and mouths hanging open.


We leapt away from one another as if we’d been electrocuted the instant we heard a firm KNOCK on our door. “No!” I yelled in mild hysteria. Then we lay there, silent as the tomb, as we listened to the now-dejected sound of those very same feet padding back from whence they came.

Henry was still eager to continue, but I just couldn’t, in good conscience, let those dejected feet lie. Sighing I kissed my husband, then rolled out of bed off to my 12-year old’s room to discover what was bothering her.

At first I was annoyed when I saw the tears flowing down my daughter’s face. But then that whole maternal empathy kicked in and I fell asleep holding my girl instead of my man.

So I ask, how do you set boundaries with your older children when it comes to marital privacy? Are there rules that work where you don’t have to actually tell your children that you are trying to have sex?? Help!


Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Shannon Bradley-Colleary blogs at The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful. She's also a contributing blogger on The Huffington Post. Her posts have landed her on The Today Show, NPR, CNN, Raising America with Kyra Phillips, Fox11News and more. She's been published in The DailyMail Online, Babble, Blogher and MomsLA. Her book, Into The Child: 40 Weeks in the Gestational Wilderness was named one of the Top 100 Indie Books of 2012 by the Kirkus Review. Her book, Smash, Crash and Burn: Tales From The Edge Of Celebrity, details her life as an L.A. Wacktress (waiter/actress) in the early 90s; including her relationship with Brandon Bruce Lee and a her tête-à-tête with David Schwimmer. She kisses and tells. Shannon is thrilled to be a monthly columnist on Midlife Boulevard.

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Friday 7th of November 2014

It can get worse, I have 2 college age daughters who still live with us and one has Aspergers and only leaves the house to go to class. So she is always home and knows exactly what is going on all the time.


Thursday 6th of November 2014

My kid is four. You aren't seriously saying that it gets even more difficult for parents to get action as they get older, are you? Aarrgghh!!

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Wednesday 5th of November 2014

I know Dana! The walls definitely have ears now!


Wednesday 5th of November 2014

I'm impressed that you can go at it at midnight - I'm snoozing by then. I usually can't stay up later than my teens, so we wait until we are home alone. Religious school is a good time, or after the kids leave for school if my husband can go into work a little late. It's tough to even attempt when they are home, because they totally know what's going on if the door is locked. And that creeps me out a little, and them even more.

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