The baby dance, the horizontal tango, afternoon delight – whatever you call it, parents are doing it and they’re not being shy about it. A survey of almost 2,500 parents found that two-thirds have had sex while their baby has been in the room, claiming it keeps their relationship healthy.
While those who’ve indulged in rumpy-pumpy while bub takes a nap say it’s perfectly normal, there are plenty of parents who are shocked at the thought, claiming babies will be left traumatised by their parent’s lovemaking.
Slap and tickle while baby sleeps
Many of the parents who responded to the Mum’s Grapevine survey said there shouldn’t be any stigma attached to having sex while their baby sleeps in the same room.
“For a healthy relationship with the baby, he needs to sleep next to us. And for a positive successful marriage, we need to play hide the sausage. Who doesn’t?” said Carena.
Monica chimed in, “If the baby is asleep in their cot/bassinet then what is wrong with it? Sex is what created them, it’s not like we are making love in front of our wide-awake five-year-old kid!”
Mum Marie agreed, “My daughter slept in our room in her bassinet until she was four-months-old. I happen to like having sex in my bed. So yes, when she was soundly asleep, I did the horizontal tango with my husband. It’s not like she was in bed. To each their own anyway.”
But other mums labeled the practice as ‘disgusting’ and feared it could traumatise babies.
Sarah-Jean said, “I personally couldn’t do it, I can’t even do it if he is awake at the fear he might hear us. Maybe that’s my own traumatising childhood speaking.”
“I remember hearing my parents and my older sister and her husband – not altogether. I will never damage my children like that damaged me. There are lots of places in the house to have sex beside next to a baby or child,” Melissa commented.
Does having sex in the same room as your baby harm them?
According to the experts, having sex in the same room as bub won’t harm them. Psychologist Donna Cameron told Mum’s Grapevine that it’s perfectly fine, as long as the baby is in a safe place.
“Yes you can have sex in the same room as your baby, your sex life is important and your needs as an adult and as a couple do not disappear as soon as you become a parent. The only concern that we need to consider is the babies physical safety, so if you are co-sleeping with your baby make sure they are placed in their crib or off the bed when it gets hot and heavy. If the baby is in a crib next to your bed, then they are safe so get to it!”
Relationship counsellor Hailee Walker says there’s no concrete rule to follow, and it’s up to each couple to come up with their own boundaries.
“While it may be okay to have sex in the same room as a sleeping infant, it is a little bit different if the child is 18-months-old, awake and staring at you! If your child is an infant and asleep in the same room, you may feel comfortable enough to have sex, I don’t see anything wrong with this. There is no concrete rule to be followed, and it is really up to the couple and what they feel most comfortable with,” she explained to Mum’s Grapevine.
So, should we be worried that our babies will be traumatised if they hear or see their parents having sex?
“Babies need to feel loved, secure and safe,” Ms Cameron said. “They need to attach to their parents and be nurtured. If as a parent you are able to provide these needs for your baby then you are doing a great job as a parent. Babies do not know what ‘sex’ is or what ‘sex noises’ are. Trauma occurs when harm occurs, the noises are not causing them any harm to the child which means they will not be traumatised.”
The experts agree, however, that both parents need to be comfortable with the situation for it to be beneficial.
“Relationships are at their best when we take time to understand each other and respect the differences,” Ms Walker explained. “Besides, sex is most pleasurable when those involved feel comfortable and relaxed. If your partner is uncomfortable, you need to respect that and find a compromise or an alternative.
“One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a strong relationship with your partner. Sex after children requires us to be a little bit more intentional and creative to maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life.”
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