After my son was born, he had problems regulating his body temperature, and my doctor insisted I co-sleep with my son, skin-to-skin, in order to help him maintain a level body temperature. The first night of my son's night was spent by my side, and I realized that we would be co-sleeping for the foreseeable future. Of course, I was afraid that co-sleeping would negatively affect my intimate relationship with my partner but, it turns out, there are so many reasons why co-sleeping doesn't mean the end of your sex life. In fact, all it really means is that you have to get a little more creative.
At first, sex and co-sleeping weren't an issue because I wasn't physically able or mentally ready to have sex again. However, when I got the clear from the doctor and I felt like sex was something I wanted to experience with my partner, we both realized that co-sleeping hadn't ruined our chances of getting it on. In fact, in so many ways, co-sleeping actually helped us maintain an active sex life, if only because we were getting more sleep because, well, our son slept better when he was in bed with us.
There's always that kind of funny, kind of sad trope about "new parents never having sex again," but that just isn't the case, especially if you don't want it to be. Like anything else in either parenting or in a romantic relationship, it might take some extra effort and a little ingenuity, but here are a few reasons why co-sleeping doesn't mean your sex life has died:
There Are Other Places You Can Have Sex
Just because your bed is currently housing another, tiny human, doesn't mean that sex is completely off the table. Sure, you probably can't have it in your own bed, but that doesn't mean you can't have it in your living room or kitchen or your laundry room or on the floor or, well, you get the idea. The sky is literally the limit, and the need to re-locate in order to get your sex on, could end up being a catalyst for some of the the best sex you've ever had.
Your Kid Doesn't Have To Co-Sleep During The Day...
Just because you co-sleep at night, doesn't mean you have to co-sleep during the day. For me, personally, I could get my son down for a nap and sleeping on his own, as long as it wasn't "bed time." So, if sex was off the table at night, my partner and I just made it part of our day.
...So "Hello" Afternoon Delight
I mean, you can even sing the song afterwards, if you really feel like celebrating.
You Can Always Have Sex With Yourself...
If your partner isn't around during the day (or you don't have a parenting partner at all) you can always try and find the time to spend some one-on-one time with yourself. If the kid is sleeping or taking a nap and you're able to have some moments to yourself, enjoy them. I mean, really enjoy them.
And Let Babysitters/Family Members Step In So You Can Get A Break From The Baby
If co-sleeping is really getting in the way of your sex life, call on some help and let family members and/or a babysitter take over. Of course, this doesn't mean they have to co-sleep with your kid (I don't know how comfortable I would feel with a babysitter sleeping next to my son, but my mother? Yeah, that's not a big deal.) but you can ask them to come around for a few hours so you can either go on a date or spend time alone or go out with your partner and break in your car like you did when you were a teenager. No? Just me? Well, you get the idea.
You Might Get More Sleep Because You're Co-Sleeping...
Co-sleeping was, for me, an absolute saving grace and the reason why I was able to sleep as often as I did right after I birthed another human being. I didn't have to get up or out of bed to breastfeed, my son slept better and for longer, and it was just an all around more restful (although obviously not the same as eight straight hours of sleep) experience.
...So When You Can Have Sex, You'll Actually Have The Energy To
Which is why, when my partner and I were feeling in the mood and wanted to have sex, I actually felt like I could. I was still exhausted the majority of the time, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't completely drained to the point that I didn't have the energy to get down when I wanted to.
You Won't Co-Sleep Forever...
It might seem like you'll end up co-sleeping for the rest of your life, but you really won't. Of course, how long a parent decides to co-sleep is entirely up to them and different time spans work better for different families, but eventually your kid will sleep in their own bed and you'll get to reclaim your bedroom as the sex palace it once was.
...And You Might Just Find Yourself Feeling Closer To Your Partner, Because Of It
After co-sleeping with our son for over a year, and learning how to navigate around our new sleeping situation in order to maintain our sex life, I found myself closer to my partner. Are we having sex as often as we used to before we became parents? No. But are we still having sex and is that sex still great? You're damn right we are and you're damn right it is.