Q&A with J: Avoiding Sex Because the Kids Can Hear

Today’s question is about lovemaking sounds and the children who might hear them.

My husband and I are both believers but we are struggling in our intimate life. Night after night I sit in avoidance of having sex with my husband. We live in a very small and modest home, think old cottage style, the walls are paper thin and the wood floors do nothing to mask sound. I am avoiding sex with my husband for fear of the kids hearing us make love, i.e. bed squeaking, moaning, etc. My husband has no problem or worry if the kids overhear our love making but it bothers me greatly . . .

I enjoy sex with my husband very much but it has become a huge road block in our marriage since our children have gotten older. When they were small I did not worry as much because I knew if they heard us they would not understand what we were doing. Now that I have a teen and a preteen in the home along with a 6 year old it makes things awkward. I have tried fans in the room to create some white noise and the tv for me is a distraction from achieving orgasm, I just cant do it with the news or a sitcom in the background. I suppose maybe some music but even this has to be kept low as to not keep anyone awake since sound travels so easy in our home. Any advice is so much appreciated.

First, a word to the residential construction industry: Just how hard would it be for master bedrooms to be sound-proofed? If you could get on that right away, your married home buyers would thank you.

Q&A with J: Avoiding Sex Because the Kids Can Hear

For those of us without studio-level soundproofing for our bedrooms (99.999% of us), here are a few things to consider.

Be creative about when you make love. At night when everyone else is trying to go to sleep may not be the best time for you and your husband to have sex. With older kids in my house, we’ve become far more likely to make love during the day than at night — taking advantage of those times when both kids are gone to youth group events, when they’re plugged into their headphones or watching a movie, when they’re sleeping in on a Saturday morning.

If you’re sharing thin walls with your children, look for times when they’re not in the bedroom. Even plan for it! Good parenting could involve ordering up pizza for the kids, plopping them in front of a Disney movie, and then retiring to your bedroom for marital intimacy. Sometimes we worry so much about covering the noise in our bedroom when the best answer is to put some noise in our kids’ ears so they can’t hear what we’re doing!

You might even consider introducing sound makers into their bedrooms. Many children sleep better with white noise machines or a fan running. We bought one of my kids a bluetooth speaker, and while his phone recharges in another room overnight, it also plays sleep-timed music on the speaker for him to fall asleep.

One last thought here: Consider bartering with other couples for child care. My church hosted a babysitting co-op that was marvelous! We would have anywhere from 4 to 12 couples participate, and we’d trade turns taking care of the kids while the other couples had date night. Which sometimes might be going back home, eating dinner, and making love. If it was four couples, we’d babysit once and have three date nights. When it was up to 12, two couples could take the duty and you’d get even more date nights. Couples can also simply barter back and forth to get this alone time.

Teach your kids to respect your privacy. Your older kids will likely get this more than the youngest, because tweens and teens will want their own privacy, like in the bathroom or when they’re changing in the bedroom. (And no, I’m not saying they get the privacy of locking you out of their bedroom whenever they want — you paid for that bedroom and they’re a minor! But I digress.)

Let your children know that your bedroom is a private space, and when the door is closed, that could mean that someone is changing clothes or doing intimate things husbands and wives do. If you don’t want to reference sex, you can simply say “hugging and kissing.” I guarantee you those teens do not want to see their parents “making out.”

Also, let them know when you’re retiring to the bedroom for alone time, and you are not to be disturbed. You might ask them to stay in the living areas of your home for a while, so they aren’t privy to the sounds of your bedroom antics. I’ve actually said to my kids before, “Interrupt us only if someone is vomiting, bleeding, or unconscious. And the vomit and blood better be a lot.”

Some might cringe at that. Yet I’ve come to believe that many of us married folks need to take back our homes. Our children are not the center of the universe and can learn to wait their turn. Besides, you bought the house, you pay the mortgage, you own the space they’re in. So they don’t get to determine what happens in every room and when — especially your bedroom. When I personally made this mental shift, it freed me up to protect my own space in my home and to put my kids first when I needed to, but not every time. In the long run, I think it’s a good lesson for children to know that others have needs they need to respect.

What’s the worst that could happen? I relaxed quite a bit when I imagined what would happen if our children heard us making love — with all the noises that might go along with that. Could I handle that experience? Was I prepared to have that conversation with my kids?

Let me assure you: You got this. If your children did hear your intimate noises and worried what was happening / felt enormous embarrassment / questioned you about your bedroom activities . . . you can explain it in terms they’ll understand that respects your marital privacy. The 6 year old would likely need assurance that everyone’s okay, while the 14 year old may need to understand that lovemaking is a verbal activity.

Having just ridden another roller coaster this weekend (love them!), I might explain it like this: “You know how people make noises on amusement park rides that might sound frightening if you didn’t know what they were doing. But once you know they’re expressing excitement and emotion, it makes sense. Lovemaking as God intended, pleasurable and in a covenant marriage, involves expressing excitement and emotion, and sometimes that means noise. We’re just having a good time.”

At the point that your children are teenagers, they should know that good marriages include sexual intimacy. So if younger children are asleep, but the older chooses to stay awake long after you told them to go bed . . . then it’s too bad if they hear something they didn’t want to. I didn’t start out feeling this way, but over time I decided that’s the way it had to be. If we told a teen four times to go to bed by 11:30, and they were awake and heard us getting busy at midnight? Well, kid, I TOLD you to go to bed for a reason. Now do you believe me?

Here are a couple of other posts that might help: Yes, Kid, Your Mommy and Daddy Have Sex and Making Love When You Have Teens in the Home.

38 thoughts on “Q&A with J: Avoiding Sex Because the Kids Can Hear

  1. Prov5:18-19

    I spent Saturday night at a friend’s house on a regular basis. His parents would shower together every Saturday night to “save water” according to them. I think we know better now.

    I recently saw an article on chair positions. That may be less squeaky than the bed.

    Reply
  2. Lynn

    Ha, very funny! We have no kids in the home except the occasional grandchild sleepover, during which we abstain. But we went family visiting earlier this summer, and we thought we’d be having a dry spell during the whole trip. However, we did do ‘it’ in someone’s guest room – trying to be silent, but the outcome was the same. My husband gets quite loud normally, and I’m sure the neighbors and passers-by have heard him, but maybe they think he’s playing an exciting video game.

    Reply
  3. G

    We just tell them “What you heard last night is called the Reverse Cowgirl.”
    That tends to shut down any conversation about the subject.

    (Kidding…)

    Reply
    1. Todd Dickinson

      Literally shot Dr.Pepper from both nostrils, simultaneously!!!

      Best laugh I’ve had in a long time!! (Even though the carbonation is a wee bit painful!😂)

      Reply
  4. WifeySaxy

    I just found your blog today through The Unveiled Wife, and I’m so thankful I did! I love your humor, practical advice and that it’s backed by scripture and intricately woven by God’s design for sexual intimacy within the marriage. We’ve been married 9 years with now a 2 year old and 4 year old, and I pray our desire for each other will never fade! Thank you for being so straight forward and encouraging women everywhere, especially the younger generation learning from a Proverbs 31 women! 🙂
    I haven’t read enough to know if you’ve touched this topic, but I’d love to know what you have to say regarding long hours of a stay at home mom making me so dang tired at night to get busy. Also possibly advice regarding someone who has many chronic pain issues, esp. ones that affect the equipment in which it all relies on! Thankfully I have a very understandung husband, but I still wish he wasn’t fearful that I’m hurting yet wanting to please him so I push tgrough it or that I will likely hurt more afterwards (but we do have awesome communication and honesty already). Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      So glad you found Hot, Holy & Humorous! Thanks.

      I’ve talked about getting past the exhaustion in several posts. You might start with this one: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Exhausted. I need to do some thinking about the chronic pain issues. Thanks for the questions! Blessings.

      Reply
      1. A

        While I don’t have pain issues myself, I have found that positioning cushions can greatly relieve fatigue and I have heard they can alleviate pain for the same reasons. I personally own the Liberator Ramp/Wedge combo and find that it really makes things more comfortable than a flat bed or a few squishy normal pillows (Liberator cushions are made of dense foam and have washable covers).

        Please be aware that these are sold on Amazon.com, but if you go to the Liberator website, it has areas that are quite explicit.

        Reply
  5. M

    Sound machines!!!! Get them for your room too!!! It’s the only way I felt comfortable when my mom or siblings stayed the night at our house haha.

    Reply
  6. JAMES WITTER

    I love this information… It is so good to be free in our love making and pleasing each other. We have had 2 of our children hear us and the oldest one said it did not bother her because she knew what was going on. the other girl said when she heard the bumping and some noise she know it was time to put in the earbuds and turn up the music.

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      That’s delightful that your children could talk about it – you must be doing an awe-inspiring job raising them!

      Reply
    2. Dunce Scholar

      I seriously doubt your children would be keeping many “secrets” in your home. Thumbs Up.
      Our children feel free to ask questions about ANYTHING and I have noticed this has headed off Satan at the pass. (If the question is too intimate about my wife and I of course we tell them, that’s personal.)

      Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I recommend sleeping on a memory foam mattress. Make sure the headboard is attached to the wall and not to the bed frame! To cover for any moans/groans, use a white noise sound device. You should good to go now.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Ooh, I love our memory foam mattress! I hadn’t thought about the absence of those box springs making for a more quiet experience…

      Reply
  8. alchemist

    Haha. My mom did the blood or unconscious thing. On Saterday and Sunday mornings we weren’t allowed to wake them before a certain time. We could watch TV. That was the only time we were allowed TV, so obviously we left them alone. I remember my sister cut my hand one Sunday morning and we actually debated whether there was enough blood to merit a trip to mommy’s room.

    They also took a lot of naps. So we closed the 4 doors between the front of the house where we were watching TV/ playing video games and their bedroom. We were trying to make sure *our* noise wouldn’t bother *them*. Sleeping is serious business in our house. It actually just occurred to me that they not have been sleeping…. Smart parents.

    Reply
    1. laura

      On Saturdays my husband and I told the kid’s we were going to go lay down. It worked for a year, then my oldest got jealous of us just laying together for an hour or two with out them. I had been a single mom for a long time. Once I told him we weren’t just napping the day away and when we say we are going to rest or lay down, we are doing husband and wife things and spending intimate time together to strengthen our marriage he was shocked but pleased. He was relieved we weren’t just wanting to separate ourselves from them, and they thought it would help increase the chance of getting a sister. 😉. I even had to clear things with the neighbors. They thought I was pregnant because the kids would go out and play and say I was resting.

      Reply
  9. Todd Dickinson

    The sound machine suggestion is one I can vouch for, and recommend wholeheartedly! Makes the whole issue a moot point…
    Do it loud, and do it proud!!!😜

    Reply
  10. Amanda

    I always love your posts, but I’d love to see some Christian marriage blogs that also address the issues of having special needs kids, because a lot of the tips given sometimes don’t work so well for our family, or other families like ours. With a kid with severe autism, his being left alone for any period of time usually spells some sort of disaster! And his sleeping pattern can be very erratic. Like 4 hours of sleep in 3 days erratic. It’s a little better now that our youngest is getting older and able to help keep an eye on him(he’s always been a great helper with his brother, but being young, there’s only so much he can do, of course), but he’s still only 9 and can’t exactly solely take care of an intensive needs brother for long periods of time. And the tiredness?? Oh, the tiredness! It’s a tiredness that extends waaaaaaaaaaayyyy past tired. 🙂

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh, my heart goes out to those with special needs kids. The care required for these kids can be relentless and challenging. This is a great topic, and I will add it to my growing list. Many blessings to you! You are showing the love of Christ as you care for your child.

      Reply
  11. Jen

    We lived in a 5th wheel trailer. That’s only 40 feet in total! With two kids. Almost teenagers. Guess what they know what we were doing and I think it was a good thing. Not that I’m inviting them to watch but any action shakes the whole place and sex is important in marriage so my kids learned to put on earphones and distract themselves when necessary. They will grow up knowing that sex is ok, and important in marriage. That’s a good thing!

    Reply
  12. SJ

    Our new house has drywall (old one was plaster), and it’s crazy what we can hear between our room and our boys’ room. Not so bad now, with the boys 1 and 8 years…but in a few years?? We’re thinking of putting up some kind of boards on their wall adjacent to our room to serve as both decoration and insulation. My husband also wondered about going into the attic and spraying something down between the studs. Does anyone know if this is possible?

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      If you can stand to lose a couple of inches from the room, try putting up cork tiles so the boys can ‘decorate’ their room – use two layers!

      Reply
    2. Eric

      To SJ,
      Spraying between the studs from the attic is possibly possible, but it would be difficult. Sorry. The studs are nailed in place, top and bottom. At the top is a header, which at the least is a 2 X 4, and it it’s a load-bearing wall, there will be two 2 X 4s stacked one on top of the other at the very least; often more, such as a couple of 2 X 8s on edge. So you’d have to drill holes through the headers.

      Your best bet would be to try sound deadener on the walls themselves–maybe both sides. Or try one of the tricks that others on this loop have mentioned.

      If you have space to spare, you might put in a second wall, with a bit of gap between.

      Eric

      Reply
  13. Eric

    Jim Witter’s comment reminds me of a comment I once heard from the mouth of a 16-year-old girl. I was one day the substitute teacher in an all-girls’ Spanish language class, and as often happens, the regular teacher didn’t leave enough for them to do. So I just let them chat for the last ten minutes.

    One girl remarked that she heard her grandparents having sex last weekend. She had spent the weekend with them, and she slept on the back porch, just outside their bedroom–and they’d left the window open. There were a lot of giggles, and she said, “Well, I think it’s really cool that my grandparents still make love.”

    Evidently many teens take things like this in stride. So lock the door. Make sure you’re not seen. But being heard isn’t always as traumatic as many feel.

    Here’s a soundproofing tip if anyone is remodeling a bedroom, and you need to build a new wall. I’ve worked in construction, and It’s rather simple and inexpensive. The main reason sound travels through most walls so well is that wallboard acts like the diaphram in a loud speaker, since the wallboard in the next room is nailed to the same studs. Carpenters building a hotel or motel use staggered studding. That is, they use standard 2 X 4 studs, but nail them onto a plate made of a 2 X 6 plank on the floor, and another 2 X 6 on the ceiling. They use double the usual number of studs, offset so that the wallboard in one room is not attached to the same studs as in the next room. That’s why most noise does not travel through motel or hotel walls.
    Eric

    Reply
  14. Dunce Scholar

    Some very good home truths in this blog.

    Kids today take almost a position as some holy shrine in many homes where the needs of the parents take a back seat in everything. (We have all done this in one way or another.)
    A weak marriage means uncertainly for the children (even one that may appear weak). No one is doing them any favours by putting themselves and their spouse last.
    My wife and I have had the talk with my 12 yr old boy and 10 year old girl and this has allowed us to discuss the whole gamut of issues so much so that now they can actually understand the Biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph and Potiphers wife. etc because until then they could not understand why my wife and I were against same sex marriage or what adultery was or what fornication was. The Bible is now starting to make sense to them.

    Now their teachers at school can’t sell them a false bill of goods and they know Mum and Dad are sexually intimate. Something only intended for marriage. They also can understand the lies being fed them in sex ed and can speak up and put things right or at least correct their friends.
    They are learning that everything has its right time and place.

    I think about 3rd world countries where the whole family lives in one room.
    Husband and Wife still have sex in that same room. It can be done and the children grow up with sex as a normal part of life.
    In a country farm setting sex is also a norm for children growing up who would see animals mating and having their offspring.
    It is more a sanitized city life that breeds false ideas about what damages a child’s psyche and in the end and such sanitizing actually does damage the childs psyche as a result, creating false expectations, allowing unhealthy mystery where false notions are allowed to develop, fed by rumours of friends, social engineering experimentation in the classroom and by the media which we may not even know they have access to (friends etc).
    These matters need to be headed off at the pass by having some awareness of the normality of their parents sexuality and of theirs too.
    Open that door with them and you will find they will keep very few secrets from you because light has been shone on a dark place.

    Kids need to know what is normal behaviour and what is not normal.
    If they, by off chance, hear something they will more than likely stick a pillow over their head. I was a teenager once and I know that I would prefer a pillow over my head than possibly hearing that.

    Obviously as mature believers in Christ we do not go out of our way to make a big scene to make some kind of a point (there needs to be modesty), but we also need to be assured that our kids never noticing intimacy between their parents is teaching them the flip side of sexual immoral behaviour and setting them up for confusion over their developing desires which are not evil but God given.

    If you want them to be sexual in their marriage and enjoy it (not have issues with guilt of thinking it is dirty etc), they need to see their parents behaving like a normal couple in love with each other in a Biblical manner.

    Dunce Scholar.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous in California

      GREAT APPROACH. I WILL KEEP THIS IN MIND WHEN GOD BLESSES ME WITH A HUSBAND AND WE HAVE OUR KIDS.

      Reply
  15. Christian Husband of 38 yrs

    A few questions (maybe obvious, maybe not): Is the fact that the parents are having a good sexual relationship with each other really this deep dark secret that needs to be kept from the kids? Or is it maybe the case that modeling for them what a good marriage is supposed to be (and even sound like) is actually an important and valuable part of parenting? If the children know that mom and dad really love each other to the max and are enjoying each other’s company after all these years – even after THEM – is that a bad thing or a good thing?

    Obviously, the explaining (at an age-appropriate level) needs to begin very early and continue as the children age. Reassuring them that there is nothing at all wrong, but very much the contrary, if they hear something unusual coming out of your bedroom is probably the most important thing to make sure they understand. Also, given how difficult it usually is for parents to talk to their kids about sex, might not a discussion about why the door is sometimes closed with strange sounds behind it be a good opening?

    Given that so many of the teens and pre-teens see the marriages of other families breaking up all around them, knowing that their parents intensely love each other should actually be a very reassuring thing for them. Do you really want to make your lovemaking such a deep dark secret that your kids start to wonder if everything is OK between you?

    Reply
  16. John Q

    When she was a teenager, my (future) wife walked in on her parents and was mortified. To further confuse the issue, this occurred a short time before her father moved out and her parents eventually divorced.
    I’ve tried to explain to her many times that, 1) her parents should have locked the door, 2) you don’t just open a closed bedroom door without first knocking, and 3) just because her parents divorced after “the incident” doesn’t mean we will divorce if the kids hear us (yes, we close and lock the door).

    Reply
  17. Me2

    I overheard my parents when I was about 8 and I thought my mom was being hurt, I couldn’t understand why even though I was pounding on the door they wouldn’t open it. When I told my mom what I thought she just laughed and said that she wasn’t being hurt. The thing is I only knew what sex was from watching soap operas with my mom and really had no idea what happens. Even as I grew older my mom never had the talk with me and I just started sleeping with headphones on. To make matters worse I found porn on my dad’s computer when I was a teenager. They were very worried that I would not be able to get married because they thought I had an aversion to sex. I can happily report that I have been married to my awesome husbsand for over 10 years and that area of our relationship is flourishing! I’m determined not to let the same thing happen to my children though. We do lock the door and have music going, but I feel that if my kids did hear us, hopefully I can be better equipped to answering questions than my parents were. Our oldest is only 7, so we don’t have any night owls yet, lol! 😉

    Reply
    1. A.

      Both your comment and the one right above it have made me realize something. Maybe it isn’t so much about the kids hearing, but about how the parents handle sex ed in the home in general.
      As a kid I was freaked out when I heard my parents. The thing was they had an awful marriage, and never actually talked to me about sex (literally NEVER, I checked out books at the library myself to figure out what this sex thing was). Even as a young child I picked up that their marriage was rocky. Of course it didn’t help that I found porn in the house, and my dad had multiple affairs. The strange thing was that my mom is European and would act like she was open about sex (not caring too much what I watched on TV) yet would get terribly uncomfortable if the subject came up with me.
      All that to say that I freak out at the idea of my kids hearing. But maybe hearing us make love sometime won’t traumatize them nearly as much because we do talk openly with them about all things, and plan on doing the same with sex (they’re still little). hhhmmm… gives me hope, because right now I go to great lengths to ensure they don’t hear.

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        Let me be clear — I try to make less noise if our kids are home and awake. BUT I also don’t worry about it too much, because if they did hear, we’ve talked enough for them to know this is a blessing God gave married couples and it’s what good marriages include. So yeah, good points you made.

        Reply
  18. April

    I heard my parents on occasion when I was a teen. It was weird, but I thought it was funny and popped in some headphones. I was just thankful that my parents still loved having sex with each other after 20 + years of marriage. It actually made me feel secure.

    Reply
  19. Beth

    I’m new to this site and catching up. Some great content! We felt a little awkward the first time we were staying with my in-laws for an extended period. But they had always encouraged our PDA when we were dating or married and day visiting so the atmosphere wasn’t one of prudishness. We figured, “ya know, whatever, they’re married too. If they hear something we know they won’t care!” I think other’s comments about having a positive open communication about sex makes a big difference. I remember my 12 year old cousin asking me (15 yo) if I was grossed out when I figured out my parents had sex. I remember laughing and saying, “I’m the oldest of 6! How else does my mom have babies?” I had learned about sex within the context of my parents’ relationship and living in a farming community. She had learned about it from some kid at the playground. I never heard my parents making love but the older I got the more subtle hints (non-explicit) my mom gave about the positives of the marriage bed. I’ve always appreciated my parents’ modest but open approach to sex. I never remembered getting “the talk” just a series of age appropriate conversations.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.