There are many reasons why couples tend to have less sex after they have children. Some of these reasons tend to go away as babies move into childhood. But one impediment to intimacy just gets worse as the children get older: the worry that somehow the children will know what mommy and daddy are doing.

When children are small, having sex when the children are home and awake really isn’t an option, because they can’t be left unsupervised. As kids get older and are more able to occupy themselves, parents are even less likely to try to sneak in a bit of private time while the kids are still awake. It’s pretty difficult for most people to get sexy while listening for the inevitable call of “Mommmm!”

So, how do a couple of parents maintain an active sex life in the 18-plus years before the kids eventually move out? Most wait until after the kids have gone to bed. Or, when the teens stay up all hours of the night, the parents get up earlier in the morning. A real triumph is to ship them off to grandparents or friends for the night, so that mom and dad can have some truly private time.

There is another option, however, practiced by the lucky few. Starting when the children are old enough to amuse themselves for a brief time, institute “nap time” — for the grown-ups. If it starts when they are young, the children won’t think there is anything unusual about it.

While “nap time” activities will need to be pursued somewhat quietly, having regular alone time is great for a couple.  And when the kids are old enough to figure out what is really happening when the parents are “napping,” they will be getting a valuable lesson in how to sustain a loving mature relationship.

Elaine Wilco is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of experience. She maintains a private practice in Alpharetta focused on helping those with intimacy issues. Follow her at facebook.com/IntimacyAtlanta.

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