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31st Jan 2022

We decided to tell our kids when we’re having sex – and here is what happened

Trine Jensen-Burke

mum tells kids when she and her husband are having sex

Finding time – and space – to be a couple is hard when you have young kids in the house.

And yes, while you might say that there is always nighttime when the kiddos are in bed, the reality is that for many parents, they don’t even get those few precious hours to themselves, as in many families, bedtime can be a real battle.

Or the kids end up in your bed during the night. Or you have to go into their room to chase monsters away or fetch them drink after drink – and before you know it, you have once again run out of time in the day to be romantic with your spouse.


However, one US mum recently raised some eyebrows when she revealed her rather controversial – and straight–forward approach – to the whole sex thing.

“If I close the door and turn on the fan in the hall, please leave me and Dad alone. We’re having sex,” Jamie Beth Cohen found herself telling her kids last year.

After months of lockdown, the American writer and mum-of-two had realised that if she and her husband were going to have a sex life at all during a global pandemic,  they needed to be upfront about it. And, while it might raise some eyebrows, their unexpected approach actually seemed to work.

“They giggled. They squirmed. And then they left us alone,” Cohen wrote in an article for HuffPost.

“‘Have fun and make good choices!’ our eight-year-old son calls through a fit of laughter as I usher him into his bedroom. ‘Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!’ our 11-year-old daughter calls from her room across the landing, also laughing so hard she’s having trouble getting the words out. I’m laughing, too.”

“Prior to the pandemic, I preferred to have sex with my husband when the kids were out of the house”

As it happens, before the Covid-19 pandemic started, Cohen reveals never really felt comfortable having sex with her husband when their kids were in the house, and preferred doing the deed when they were out of the house.”

“That’s not to say that’s the only time we had sex, but it was the only time I could relax enough to truly enjoy it,” she writes.

“When the kids were at a friend’s house or at school, I felt like we could take our time. Enjoy each other’s company. Luxuriate in the afterglow. Those moments reminded me of our garden apartment in Brooklyn and the days we shared there in our 20s after we first moved in together. We would have sex, take a nap and have sex again (or maybe just take a really long nap and then get takeout). I love my kids, but I miss those days.”

Isolating at home changed everything

But having sex when the kids are not at home is one thing when the world is normal and people have plans and school and training and play dates. Not so much when there is a global pandemic and everyone is forced to stay at home 24/7.

“A few months into our self-imposed quarantine, a few months in which I felt like having sex with my husband was akin to sneaking around ― and not in the good way, like when you’re 16 and riding on the back of the “bad boy’s” motorcycle ― I decided to tell the kids exactly when we were having sex,” Cohen admits.

“I just couldn’t hide it anymore. It felt too much like lying, and while I know we were under no obligation to tell them, we didn’t have a good reason not to.”

In a surprising twist of events, Cohen reveals their honest approach has been such a success that she and her husband have continued to tell their kids when they need some alone time.

And it works – with the kids steering clear of the bedroom, giving the couple some much needed time to connect.

“If we want to watch a TV show naked after sex – we do. If we want to talk for an hour before we take our clothes off – we do. Our time together is now about connection,” Cohen writes.

“It is my hope this will also have a positive effect on how our kids approach sex as they get older. We’ve talked to them for years about consent. We model it for them and with them. We’ve talked to them about anatomy and birth control and disease prevention. We’ve talked to them about feelings and intimacy, and why people would want to have sex even if they’re not “trying to make a baby.” Now we’re modelling that for them, too.”