Q&A: I’m Nervous. What If the Kids Can *Hear Us* Making Love?

Q&A: I'm Nervous. What if the Kids Can *Hear Us* Making Love? // jessconnell.com

Today’s Q&A is a really practical, common concern for many women:

WHAT IF the kids can hear us making love? 

It’s something almost all couples have to work through. Here’s the question I received:

Q: I just read your post about “make love – let him hear you”.  In the post you reference letting your husband hear your pleasure with no shame.

My question is that I have 4 kids at home ranging in age from 16 to 5.  My husband and I have been struggling with out intimacy because we live in a modest smaller size home.  It is an older cottage style home, but the walls are very thin, wood floors, etc.  I am so fearful of the kids hearing us make love and I am noticing that I am finding excuses to avoid it. 

My husband could care less if the kids hear or not.  I know we could find a babysitter or send the kids out for ice cream, but as a protective momma that does not work for me.  How would you handle this situation?  My husband suggested tv or music but honestly the tv is a distraction to me when trying to achieve an orgasm and music would have to be kept low as to not wake the kids, which would not help mask our sounds…or i guess my sounds mainly (hubby is fairly quiet).

I have been praying about how to fix this ongoing issue which seems to have worsened as the kids have gotten older.  When they were young I did not worry about it as much because I knew the kids would not “know” what the sounds were but now that they are getting older, especially the 16 and 14 year olds, it can get harder to “cover up” what we are actually doing.

My husband has suggested doing it on the floor to avoid “bed noise” but I don’t know about you, I am 41 and just dont see the idea of sex on the floor as a comfortable thing.  The other issue other than the bed is ‘Me”.  I can be loud when I am enjoying myself and can not seem to get to a place of comfort in regards to my children possibly over hearing MY sounds.  I am so very private and this is such a personal private act that I find it so hard to let go and just be in the moment without worry or distraction.  Hope this makes sense.  I know I need to resolve this because I understand the importance of regular sex in marriage and I do have needs as well but right now my fear is winning.

Any advice you can give is so appreciated. Love your blog!

 

A: AWESOME.

I love this question. So practical, so real, and so much potential benefit.

A few practical ideas, first:

  • Turn on any/all bathroom fans & over-stove fans.
  • Turn on a large box fan in your room. Point it away from you if you are already cold.
  • Stuff a blanket or towel under the door, to muffle sound if there is an open space there
  • Turn on the TV or radio in the living room, to act as a secondary noise to distract the kiddos/sound like normal.
  • Turn your mouth toward/into a pillow toward the end or at parts of lovemaking when you would otherwise be super-loud
  • Adjust furniture, rugs, and wall hangings and strategically use closets and dressers to give additional sound barriers
  • Have all the kids start sleeping with fans on in their rooms.
  • Supply earplugs to the older kids

And a few big-picture thoughts:

  1. The basic facts of sex & family togetherness lead me to the conclusion that God must not see it as THAT big a deal if kids occasionally hear something. If sex is, biblically, meant to be regularly enjoyed by a married couple (and it is– see 1 Corinthians 7), and God has built us in such a way that noises go along with that (and He did), and He made families in such a way that we live in close proximity to our children, especially at night (and He did), then logically, I have to trust that our Sovereign God– good, powerful, and fully able to have done things differently if He meant to– has a reason for putting us in this situation, and therefore, I can freely live in this area of life, without fear
  2. The average American couple isn’t typically super-concerned about their kids hearing them argue, be annoyed with each other, sigh heavily about a disagreement, stress out over finances, talk badly about someone at church who annoys them, or whatever. Maybe them hearing muffled sounds of their mom and dad talking, laughing, sighing happily, ___(whatever sounds you make)___, and then chatting or giggling, as they drift off to sleep, isn’t such a terrible thing. Maybe it would actually give them a teeny-tiny understanding that there’s more to mom and dad’s relationship than only what is seen.
  3. I would spend time really thinking through house sizes over the millennia … things like Indian teepees, 1st-century Jewish mud-brick houses, raised bamboo huts with no insulation in Thailand, Kazakh yurts, one-room log cabins on the American prairie, and on and on… and try not to think so much about it as a negative thing, but as a really NORMAL thing (over the eons) for kids to hear/know that SOMETHING is happening and that their parents like and love and enjoy each other. I don’t mean we should SEEK to be LOUD about it, but a little bit of noise seeping through a wall every now and then maybe isn’t as big as we make it out to be in America. Humans have the tendency to think that what we think of as normal *now* has always been normal, but that’s simply not the case here. [Interesting factoid: Inuit eskimos apparently referred to sex as “laughing time” — I wonder if it’s partly because of a society-wide awareness that something else was happening “just over there” in the igloo? :)]

FINALLY, think about it by asking:

“WHAT’S THE WORST/BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?” 

What’s the worst that could happen if they hear us? (really… make yourself list it out)

  • they’ll think “EW” “GROSS!”
  • or they’ll wonder if you’re OK.
  • or they’ll wonder what’s happening.
  • Or they’ll know what’s happening, and have to make a decision about how to handle it: put in earplugs, roll over and go to bed, put a pillow over their head, ignore it, etc.

What’s the BEST thing that could happen if they hear us?

  • We’ll be having a good time, and on a trajectory of joy and delight in our intimacy together.
  • We’ll be connecting regularly, growing in oneness, and will have more relational “glue” to get us through the challenges of life.
  • We won’t be fading into a sex-is-rare, or potentially sexless, marriage.
  • We won’t waste these years together because of fear.
  • They’ll know we’re still happy and in love.

What’s the WORST thing that could happen if we reduce our frequency, and/or reduce our enjoyment of it (by not pursuing pleasure for her), and they don’t hear us?

Well.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:5 says Satan can tempt us to sin because of our lack of self-control in not coming together frequently.
  • Our husbands will be discouraged, disappointed, and possibly tempted toward sin.
  • We will be discouraged, disappointed, and possibly tempted toward sin.
  • We will each be less satisfied in our marriages.
  • We will probably fight more and feel more irritable toward one another.
  • We won’t have as many times of connection and fun together.
  • We will have less relational “glue” holding us together through the hard times of marriage.
  • We will be on a decline toward frustration in our marriages.

And what’s the BEST that can happen if we choose this option?

  • They won’t hear us.

That’s pretty much the only benefit I can see.

So… for me, the benefits are clearly on the side of doing it anyway. We can’t live our lives shrinking back from what we know is right and good, because of fear.

 

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT MEAN “BE CARELESS”

*** I want to be clear that I am not in any way advocating for a shout-from-the-rooftops, unrestrained, rip-roaringly crazy-loud approach. We shouldn’t SEEK to be loud and obnoxious about it.***

But what I am saying is… once you’ve done all you can do, practically, to give yourselves whatever measures of privacy are available to you, you can take the wise counsel of 1 Corinthians 7: 3-5:

The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him. Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control.

… set your heart at ease, and enjoy the delights of marital intimacy without shame or inhibition.

God made your body for this!

He made marriage for this!

Sex in marriage is good and right.

Kids have lived in close proximity to sexually-active parents for millennia. Your kids will not be eternally scarred for having witnessed a loving, interactive, Christ-honoring marriage in their home… on the contrary!

Our kids will be FAR better off for having parents who intimately connect with one another regularly, than they would be for having parents that never/rarely connect intimately because of fear of being heard.

 

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:

  • Has this been a struggle you’ve hit in your marriage?
  • How have you worked through this? Any other encouragement you’d share with a woman who is thinking about these things?

 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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6 Responses

  1. Katrina says:

    Thank you for another practical post with wise advice on a topic we all think about as moms one time or another, but don’t always discuss! I liked your point at what has been normal over millenia- families close together at night!
    I think that it may not be the worst thing in the world for our kids to hear us sometime, although it is kind of awkward. This culture makes what is NOT right seem so hot and exciting. It may be really good for a teen’s perspective on sex and marriage to realize Dad and Mom still have FUN together :) Whether that is accidentally overhearing noises, or the winks and love pats Dad and Mom give each other, I think it definitely can be a good thing.
    Also makes me think of the “Christy” novel, when Christy is wincing over Ruby’s marriage consumation overhead, and Doc notices her discomfit. He says it’s an accepted part of life and basically there is no shame. In our modern day, the porn culture has made sex something secretive, and shameful. Maybe in past times adults, and kids, realized it was part of life and didn’t make a big deal out of sex’s existence. It was just a fact. And maybe kids didn’t seek secret knowledge as much, because Dad and Mom were open about it (not brazenly of course.)

  2. Laura says:

    I love this post. I’ve been fearing the same thing lately but this sets my mind at ease.

  3. Ah, I love how you face socially awkward things with boldness and God-directing truth. I loved your point about how it was in the past and, probably, kids didn’t care too much then because they saw it everywhere {the animals on the farm etc}. It really is our culture and us that turns it into something secretive and awkward. It probably started with our grandparents post-war with their new suburban homes because I am sure during pre-war eras {think the Depression} western countries were thrown back to living like people have for generations. And I loved your comment about the Eskimoes – I am totally using that phrase in the future, “laughing time”. Oneday, our children won’t be around and it will just be me and my man again. It’s not forever and this time, I’m learning, is so important to dig deeper with him even though it’s hard with littles.

  4. Jesse says:

    We have a big house and younger children(8 and under) but I must admit this has been a huge fear of mine. I never knew or heard about my parents sex life and it’s subsequently very hard for me to imagine my children hearing us. I am a huge reader so I’ve already come to the conclusion that through the ages families slept very close with their children. I think finding a balance must be important. Thanks for being so helpful about the tough stuff

  1. November 30, 2016

    […] Q&A: I’m NERVOUS– What if the Kids Can ***HEAR US*** Making Love?— It’s a really practical, common concern for many women, and something almost all couples have to work through. […]

  2. January 9, 2017

    […] the lights are on, if your kids made you angry earlier in the day, if it just happened last night, if you’re afraid the kids might hear you, if it hasn’t happened in a long time and breaching the subject is awkward, if you feel […]

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