We are living during surreal times. We cook, work, play, fight, home-school, relax and have fun in the same space, day in day out. In a few weeks, we created a new way of being and relating. Some couples are using this time to re-connect and spend time together and as a family. Others found these past weeks very difficult especially if their relationship was already facing difficult times. Parents, who have kids living at home have an extra challenge on their hands as they need to manage their own roller-coaster of emotions and that of their children.
Like all other aspects of our life, this pandemic seems to affect our sex life considerably. For some couples, sex has become a way of establishing a sense of normality where not much feels normal anymore. For others this pandemic has heightened their anxiety and sense of helplessness and contributed to a complete lack of sexual intimacy.
During times of stress and lack of routine, sex will not just happen, unless it is planned for. Most sex therapists recommend scheduling sex even in times without quarantine, especially when one or both partners are going through a period of being tired, stressed and overwhelmed. As parents of one, two, three kids living, working, eating and playing in the same space we need to understand that if sex is not planned most probably it will not happen. Other matters will take priority.
Practical tips for having sex when kids are at home:
- Communicate: Sit down and decide on the frequency of sex, if it helps block time in your respective calendars.
- Be innovative and creative: Make use of sex toys (if you are both comfortable with it) and create an atmosphere that is intimate.
- Lock the bedroom door: If the door has no lock put a piece of furniture behind it that will prevent kids from simply walking in. Also make sure the kids are distracted and occupied with an activity that absorbs them. Put on some music. If asked you can always say that you are going to have a nap
- Single parents or those who are currently away from their partner can use online means of having sex like sexting and facetime. Obviously, it is important consider online safety measures when using these platforms.
- Be flexible: If on the day planned you are too tired or overwhelmed to have sex then use this time to check in with one another, see a movie and have a cuddle before bed.
Most importantly these unprecedented times are giving us an opportunity to be gentle with ourselves and one another, to re-connect in different ways and to reach out. Hopefully we will look back at this time and see that we rose up to the challenge to grow and touch base with those we love.
Anna Catania M.Couns.(Melit). PG(Dip). Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy (Lond). is a warranted counsellor specialised in the area of sex and relationships. She provides counselling to individuals and couples who are having difficulties with sexuality, relationships and intimacy.