Sex LifeHacks for Parents

Recently, on the Grounded Parents backchannel, we got to discussing sex. And how much we have it. How parenting makes sex near impossible… and I happened to drop in, a little concerned that maybe I’m parenting wrong because I have a TON of sex. Average more than once a day… usually at least 2-3 times and sometimes with people who aren’t even my husband.

Other bloggers stared at their email, mouths agape, wondering how this is even possible to do while also being a parent. And they asked me to write an article about it. So here I am, in TMI land, about to tell you everything I know about sluttin’ it up when you got kids. (For skeptic- and feminist-based parenting articles not involving my vagina, check out Grounded Parents! #plug.)

Hack 1: Promise to have one date night every week.

The date can be anywhere. When I was pregnant with our first, my husband and I made this promise to each other. We understood how hard it was going to be to find time, so we had to put the time aside and promise each other that this was ours to spend alone together. 99% of the time, date night is on the couch. But it’s phones-off, laptops shut, wine open. AND NO DISCUSSING KIDS. You can talk about anything, but not the kids. On date night, you are not parents. You are two people who like to bone each other.

Date night is not required to end in sex, but it’s a date… so try to squeeze in some advanced-level affection.

My husband and I still do one date night a week, even almost 7 years later. Now it’s less about the sex (because we’re having that all the time anyway) and more about spending time together and not being parents.

Hack 2: Seize the moment

You’ve got a few minutes alone? How long does a quickie take? 5 minutes TOPS? You’ve got 5 minutes. GO FOR IT.

True story: our second child was conceived on the hood of my car. In my garage. We got home, our son was alseep in the car and we had THAT MOMENT to do it. We could bring him in the house, put him to bed and hope we still had that moment in a few minutes and nothing goes wrong… or we can leave our son in his carseat, sleeping, facing the other way and DO THIS THING RIGHT NOW.

So we did. And it was as good as rushed garage sex can be. But sometimes, it’s just about making sure you don’t forget how to do it. Because even rushed garage sex, even when it’s not great, is still really fucking great.

If you’re looking to kill a couple of minutes, ask yourself: could we?

Hack 3: If you find yourself saying ‘no’ a lot, ask yourself why

This one is a tricky one to navigate. In no way am I saying that you should have sex when you don’t want to, but examining why you don’t want to is important.

If the answer is, “I’m in a really bad place right now and I don’t want to be touched because it’s awful.” Then by all means, hand your partner some lotion and their laptop for some alone time.

If the answer is something less pressing, maybe you’re tired or can’t stop thinking about doing the dishes or you really hated that commercial you just watched, think about how you feel about the fact that you are cockblocking yourself. You could. You kinda want to. Your partner definitely wants to. But you’d rather think about anything else? Once you get started, you’ll be glad you did. I mean, would you really rather be mopping the kitchen than getting nailed in your arm chair? Really?

Not being in the mood and not being able to get into the mood are two very different things. Remember that. Powering through your ambivalence might prove to be fun. And sometimes giving in a little now keeps things rolling for the future. Sometimes you scratch your partner’s back. Sometimes they scratch yours. Literally or metaphorically. Whatever you’re into.

This does NOT mean that if you or your partner is refusing to consent that pressure from the outside is ever in order. The question is one only you get to pose to yourself. No one else gets to ask you why. If you decide that yes, you really would rather do the dishes than have a romp in the laundry room, then by all means have at your dishes.

(Note: Powering through ambivalence is a hack for people in healthy relationships who want to have more sex but aren’t. I don’t think there are good sex life hacks for people in abusive relationships where partners are blurring lines of consent.)

Hack 4: Beyonce

Because really, this is what life SHOULD be like after you have your baby and you’re still in love with your partner.

Hack 5: More Beyonce

Book a damn limo.

Hack 6: Talk about sex

Seriously. Are you talking to your partner about sex? Ever? Like beyond “wanna?” and “no, go away.”

You can talk about whether you are having enough sex. You can talk about whether they’re asking you too much. You can talk about whether they’re not asking you enough. You can ask if there’s anything you can do to frequent shit up. You can talk about what you want them to do. You can talk about your likes. You can talk about who you find attractive. You can talk about sexy dreams… or daydreams. Just talk about it. Bring it up

Talk about sex. You can do this. I know you can. Talking about this might be awkward, but so is having a naked person’s genitals inside yours… so… we can have this talk.

Hack 7: Flirt

Flirt with each other. Make each other feel wanted and loved and attractive.

Smile. Wink. Send texts with inside jokes. Remind each other that just because you’re not diving faces first into each other’s laps right this second, it doesn’t mean that you don’t plan to again. Remind your partner, in small ways, that you still want them in big ways.

Hack 8: Touch

This feels obvious. But even if you’re not banging in the bathroom three times a week, you still need to be affectionate. If you’re walking by your partner, brush them with your hand as you pass by. Physical affection is sexy.

Remember that “sex” doesn’t have to mean penis-in-vagina. Maybe that’s off the table right now. Maybe that’s off the table always. Who knows? But you can still touch each other, and call it sex, without it being intercourse.


Just lock it. If it’s locked, the kids aren’t coming in. They can knock and you can decide whether you want to finish or respond. You know what you do? You power through that shit and enjoy yourself.

Hack 10: Maintenance sex

Sometimes you’re just going through the motions. But having sex with your partner just for the sake of having sex with them is no small thing. Stay familiar with each other. Schedule sex. It’s weird. It’s awkward. Then you get over it and get it on and get it off. Seriously.

Hack 11: Get dressed and take a shower

I know. Sometimes this shit is hard. You’ve had a long day. A long week. You’re exhausted. You’re fed up with work. The kids have fucking yogurt smeared all over the walls and carpet. You’re done. Just done. You’re ready to just get drunk under the bathroom sink for the next 4 days.

Take your drink into the shower. Drink it there. While you clean up and relax. Then get dressed. Dressed up dressed. Put on a new sexy outfit. Even if you’re not going anywhere. Remind your partner that YOU ARE HOT.

Hack 12: See ya! I gotta get me mine!

Let’s stop pretending that all parents are monogamous. Maybe you’re not really able to navigate around your kids… sometimes it’s okay to be like “Hey, [partner], can you watch the kids? I gotta get my freak on tonight. I’m going out.” And you know, that is fine if that works for you. It’s also fine if it doesn’t. But seriously, it’s a good hack. It’s a complicated hack. It’s not for everyone.

But I was asked to speak about my own experiences and what my husband and I have done to make our relationship work in the bedroom. Separating parenting and bedroom duties and being able to take them on as partners. We have some clearly set boundaries. Occasionally we have not-so-clear boundaries. Once in a while someone gets hurt. But in the end, we’re pretty satisfied with the way it works for us.

Hack 14: Remember, Beyonce went through some rough affection times, too.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I have nothing to add to this, seeing as I am neither married nor a parent, but!


    1. I have younger siblings. My parents sent us to my uncle or my aunt or my grandparents fairly often. Which makes this somewhat of a catch 22: Your parents had to find some way to bone, so you can load your kids off on some sibling so you can bone.

  2. #3 is good for me. I few months ago, I realized that I was letting myself get distracted in late evening by reading/tv/games/etc. and declining propositions from my wife, and I decided not to do that anymore. I still drop the ball sometimes, but being open to the moments when they present has increased my connection with my wife.

  3. Thanks, Elyse. The date night advise will be helpful I think. I have heard that recommendation before, but given how busy we are along with our kids (practice schedules), it always seemed impractical to try to find a night to get a babysitter and go out. But perhaps I am thinking about a “date” too formally, and there are easier ways to slip out of parent mode and into affectionate lover mode. Good tip.

  4. #3 for me too. My libido does not match my hubby’s and when we talked about it, I had to make the point that instead of just wanting me to agree to sex more often, maybe he should be working on helping me *want* to have sex more often. Big difference there.

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