Seriously, I want to know. I have this habit of asking traveling parents the same question: “How exactly are you keeping your love life going?” Because it’s not just having a child, it’s having a child in your hotel room, in your bed, with very little room and often a shared bathroom — and we’re living like this for months or years at a time. It’s not so much, “How do I keep the spark alive” but how do I literally find a sex position that works under these conditions! Please, just draw me a picture. I need advice. To that end, three of my favorite traveling families decided to post a little family-sex-on-the-road round up. Wow that sounds bad. Anyway, if you want even more advice from these um, experienced… travelers, go to Our Travel Lifestyle, Vagabond Kids and Travels with a Nine Year Old. Happy Valentine’s Day, Traveling Families!
Tracy from Our Travel Lifestyle:
Travelling as a family is a rewarding adventure but it also poses challenges. There’s one particular challenge that doesn’t get talked about all that often – just how do travelling parents manage to have sex while they’re travelling with kids in tow? Well to celebrate this Valentines day we’re going to talk about it! Three families are going to share their stories.
It all started…
A few months ago, Christine and Drew Gilbert (from here at almostfearless.com) were interviewing us for their upcoming documentary on location independent travellers. The interview was going to plan with all the usual questions, until suddenly out of left field Christine set us up.
“So you’ve been on the road now for 9 months, right?“
“Yes, since January 2010.”
“And you’re travelling with two little kids on a budget so you usually share the one room?”
“So how do you have sex?”
Now we haven’t seen footage yet but it would be a fairly safe bet to say when it does come out, our faces will be a shade of red that’s usually only reserved for clown’s noses. Our eventual response?
“Umm … quietly!”
Over the next few months we started talking to other travelling families and realised that everyone’s experiences are a little different depending on how you travel, the age of your children and whether you’re a single parent or a couple.
The problem for parents
Having sex while travelling is probably a pretty common and relatively uncomplicated thing for singles and couples, but for parents there is a level of complexity that probably isn’t appreciated by the average traveller. Most families who travel long term do it on a budget, which means sharing a room with your children. While you save money on accommodation by all squashing into the one room, you lose out on chances for intimacy unless you can find a way to ‘do it’ with the kids in the room.
We’ve been on the road for just over twelve months with our 3 and 5 year old children. When we first started travelling we thought it would be a big issue for us, or rather we thought it would be an issue for me. Colin happily admits to being a male who is happy to have sex anywhere, anytime provided the kids are asleep or in another room. Me, well I’m your typical married mother – I have 1,000 other things on my mind at all times and find having children asleep just a few meters more than a little distracting. “What if they wake up” “What if they see us?” “Did one of them just stir? I saw an eyelash move … crap…”
But when your on the road for such a long time, you really only have two choices – enforce a monastic life on your husband or learn to deal with having the kids near by. We chose the latter option and to be honest we’ve found that the secret is exactly what we told Christine – be quiet. Do whatever you like, as often as you like, do it as freaky as you like … just do it quietly.
The bigger challenge is maintaining any spontaneity in your relationship. Any ‘quiet’ action that you manage to have is pretty much confined to a small hostel bed with the aim to make as little noise as possible. Nights out without the kids to have some time to appreciate each other are few and far between. I really couldn’t even guess at how long it’s been since I’ve put on a pair of heels and make-up, or worn sexy underwear. If you ask Colin he’d tell you it’s been a bloody long time.
So while it might be easy to still have sex in a room when you’re travel with small children, maintaining your relationship can be a bigger challenge. When you’re travelling with two small kids it’s sometimes hard to remember that you are husband and wife not just parents.
Read Tracy and Colin’s post called, It’s Business Time for their take on the issue…
Single parent travellers draw the short straw
Of all the parent travellers, single parents perhaps have the toughest lot when it comes to sex on the road. When we cornered Theodora, a single mother travelling with her son, over beers she confessed to having a bit of a dry spell. Actually her exact words are “Nada, nish, zilcho, nothing since January last year, thank you… And, before you ask, none on the horizon, either…”
There have of course been opportunities for Theordora that haven’t quite panned out for cultural reasons or poor timing. Or how about the well educated, gorgeous local in Indonesia whose romantic overtures would have been returned if it wasn’t for the fact that he was married and in that particular tribe the wife of an adulterer is entitled to hack both tryst partners to death with a machete. Even after a twelve-month dry spell Theodora wisely chose to turn that offer down.
And of course, even if a single parent is to get an offer for a night of romance well umm who’s bedroom would they go to? The one that you’re sharing with your child, or perhaps the room of the lucky man thus leaving your child unattended in a foreign country?
Read Theodora’s post called, The S Word for even more…
Travel with your own babysitter?
Kristy and her husband Jeff have discovered the holy grail of family travel – they travel with their maid/babysitter/nanny who shares a bedroom with the children, leaving Jeff and Kristy with a room to themselves to … well do what they like, when they like.
Of course travelling with an extra person comes at a cost. An extra flight and an extra room for the children to share with their helper; all up Jeff estimates that a three night weekend away with their helper costs them an extra $1000. Given that on the first night they’ve been travelling all day so any ‘action’ is unlikely, the best case scenario is that’s $1000 for maybe two nights of fun. And lets face it when you’re over thirty and the parents of two kids who’ll want your undivided attention the next day, it’s not like your going to stay up all night making the most of your time together. When you start thinking about it, $1000 is a lot of money to pay for an hour or two of adult time.
Read Kristy and Jeff’s post called Let’s Talk about Sex Baby for their hilarious account…
Tips You Can Use
- Go stealth: kids will sleep through more than you think!
- Get help: there’s no shame in hiring help, especially if it means keeping your marriage healthy.
- Act like teenagers: The floor? The shower? Quietly on the bed? Standing up? There’s no rules, but a playful attitude helps!
- Sex isn’t always possible: I think the main idea is to stay connected, wherever you are in the world.
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Have you traveled with children? Any advice to offer? Trust me, inquiring minds want to know.