Wifey Wednesday: Sex and Family Vacations

Summer is a time for family vacations. But can family vacations and sex go together?

Family Vacations and Marriage: Is romance hard on vacation?

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage (although I talk about it most days around here!) I introduce a topic, and then you all can link up your own marriage posts in the linky below (it’s a great way to get blog traffic if you write a blog!)

Today I want to tackle a seasonal issue: what about sex on vacations?

I received a letter from a woman on Facebook recently which said that the whole thing stressed her out completely, because she was tired, and exhausted, but felt like her husband expected a ton of sex because they were “on vacation”.

I understand the feeling.

Let me explain a little about what’s going on in my life. About three months ago I had to do a total overhaul of almost all of my online activities. I’ve been putting in 12 hour days during the summer moving stuff around, and optimizing SEO, and a whole lot of other stuff that goes on behind the scenes. And everyday there’s a new technical glitch I have to deal with, which is also equally exhausting.

And at the same time my oldest daughter is in process of moving out, so I’ve been helping her with that (obviously I want to be there for such an important thing!) My youngest daughter was preparing for a huge competition she had last week, and needed help with practicing. So obviously I had to help with that. And dinner still needed to be made, and laundry still needed to be done, and I was just exhausted.

So when we did take a week off to get out and go camping last month, I spent the first few days collapsing.

I was just so tired. And getting ready to go on vacation is always stressful to me, because I feel like I have to clean the whole house before I can leave (here’s a really funny column I wrote about just that phenomenon! See if you can relate).

Last week, when we were away, I was going to bed at 9:00 every night just because I was so tired. We were in Pennsylvania, with an 8-hour drive home, and I slept almost the entire way, even though I had had 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night that week. I just had so much catching up to do.

That happens to a lot of us on vacations. We’re finally able to relax, and our bodies just shut down.

That’s why I don’t think family vacations should really be thought of as “sexcapades”, so to speak. In general, they aren’t times to get away and have a spectacular sexual experience, for several reasons.

Realize that family vacations are often times to decompress

When life is busy–and sometimes unavoidably busy–we force ourselves to keep going. Vacations are the times when we can finally let go and get some sleep.

You’ve got kids with you!

We spent most of our family vacations when the children were small in tent trailers, traveling around Canada. It was great fun, but the children are right there with you. And you know what happens to trailers when you try to–you know? They move.


Friends of ours who often traveled with us were in stitches one morning. I asked what was so funny, and my friend explained, “last night we were having fun when our 6-year-old gets out of bed and yells at the top of his voice, “Will you please stop rocking the trailer!”

Yep. Tent trailers and sex are difficult.

But hotel rooms can be worse. You’re in two double beds, and the kids are only about 6 feet away from you. Not exactly romantic.

And as bad as it is when kids are little, it’s way worse when they’re older and actually know what’s going on.

That’s why my husband and I have just realized that family vacations are for just that–family. They’re not really couple time. Sure, you can take advantage of times when the kids are off doing something else (if they’re old enough to go somewhere by themselves), and quickies can be fun (and funny!), but in general, a family vacation is a time to concentrate on your kids, not the sexual side of your marriage. And I honestly think that’s okay.

Take Couple Vacations

That’s why my husband and I take specific couple vacations throughout the year–sometimes we go on camping trips just us to keep the cost down, or if he’s going on a conference I’ll go with him. We’ll take an occasional night or two away in a hotel, too. And the nice thing is I can plan the timing of that so that it doesn’t fall during the time of the month that wouldn’t really work for a “sexcapade” anyway.

Stress Sex at Home

Honestly, my favourite place to be intimate is at home anyway. I’m far less stressed, because I’m used to the place. I didn’t have to go to a ton of extra work to get ready to head out the door. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s natural.

31 Days to Great SexSo if you’re having regular sex at home, and you get away for occasional times, just the two of you, I think it’s honestly okay if a family vacation doesn’t end up being a great time sexually for you. The 31 Days to Great Sex is probably not a good one to begin when you’re camping!

Your marriage isn’t just about one night, or one vacation, or one week. It’s about the sum total of your relationship. And at different times you’ll concentrate on different aspects of your relationship. Sometimes you’ll focus more on the sexual side, and sometimes you’ll focus more on the parenting side. As long as you talk about this, and agree with it, I think that’s perfectly healthy.

Besides, vacations are stressful enough. Don’t make yourself think you’re a failure if you couldn’t figure out how to try new positions while the toddlers are sleeping three feet away from you in a tent. Let what happens, happen, and let yourself relax a bit. That’s what vacations are for!

Wifey Wednesday: Christian marriage postsWhat about you? Have any advice for us today? Link up the URL of a marriage post in the linky below. And be sure to link back here so that other people can find great marriage advice, too.

And if you have any tips for family vacations, leave them in the comments!

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  1. I totally get the whole issue with the kids being there…being stressed while traveling….wanting to decompress, etc…however, if you are, say, going to Hawaii on your 10 year anniversary with no children, I think it’s totally reasonable to expect a few sexcapades. I know I am and I’m sure my husband will be just fine with that! :)
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    • Holly T says:

      I am not sure if Sheila is talking about my email to her but probably just one of the few emails she received. πŸ˜‰ Even if it is just hubby and I on vacation, I can’t relax. My anxiety just shifts into high gear. It would be hard for me to even have few sexcapades. lol! Now as far as family vacation goes, we rent a house or condo so the kids rooms are a bit farther than our room. We just do not do hotels unless it is a stopover which all we do is collapse on the bed with the kids then get up and go again in the morning.


  2. We also camp in a tent trailer, with our sons not to far. With five sons, that is the only way we can vacation, and they love it.
    There is something about the great outdoors, the sounds of the night, the fresh air that makes my husband especially amorous while camping. We have learned to be very quiet!

  3. Jrmiss86 says:

    I think some of this applies to couple vacations as well. Obviously you will have more sex without the kids than you will with them. That being said, when I get away without the kids, mine are 6 and 8, I still need to catch up. I get up early every day except Sunday, even then I am usually still up by 7. Granted it is easier all around when vacationing without the kids, but them not being there doesn’t magically change how tired I am. Plus when we go away without the kids we tend to go out more at night for dinner, do more walking during the day etc.. All which leads to being tired as well. My husband and I just got back from London for our 10 year anniversary. And yes we had sex, but I still needed to catch up, especially with the time difference. And my husband doesn’t like to sit still. So he had us up and out the door every day. (He travels there for work frequently so he knows the city well, and is used to the time difference) thankfully we had a day after we got home before the kids got home to readjust, and we had a great time, but I wouldn’t call it a sexcapade.

  4. Melanie Jones says:

    Sheila, I just love you and anything you right about. This one was great! I never get bored reading what you have to say!

  5. ButterflyWings says:

    I don’t know. It just sounds like an excuse not to have sex. It’s exactly what my husband would pull on vacation, and exactly what he did our entire honeymoon (even without kids). That a “holiday” (including our honeymoon) was a time to relax and to have a vacation from sexually being there for your spouse. I don’t see being on vacation as being an excuse to have sex less. Obviously there will have to be precautions put in place to prevent interruptions, especially with young kids, but it’s not impossible. If a couple is too busy to have sex on vacation, then they should be looking at dropping some of their activities they are doing on their vacation. Couples don’t need to give up sex to have a great vacation with their kids.

    • ButterflyWings, like I said, I see couple vacations as something completely different. That is MEANT for you as a couple, and it should be great sexually. I’m just saying that practically speaking, when the kids are right there, right next to you, sex may not be that feasible, and it certainly may not be an awesome time sexually for you. If you can manage it, of course go ahead, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. And my point is that we need to realize that life happens, and see the thing as part of the bigger picture. As I said in the article, if sex is great when you’re at home, and if you get away regularly just the two of you, this shouldn’t be too big a deal. Obviously if that’s not true, it is.

      But so many people put too many expectations on vacations that they will never fill. I just think we need to be realistic, and laugh things off, and just relax and don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. Sometimes family vacations really are just about FAMILY, and not about sex. And I think that’s okay as an occasional thing.

      • Happy Husband says:

        Sheila I love your perspective on most things but must say this one is spoken as a true all american (or all Canadian as the case may be) female and I feel duty bound to remind you that that view will be diabolic to an all american males.
        Sex is super important on any vacation and while I agree that couple vacations are the best time to really enjoy sexual times, regular family vacations are also important as there will the extra stimulation of being around the wife more (while shes bending over doing stuff else toward or away from her husband with sexy shorts or skimpy tops on,) both of which are enough to get him going, and if he does his fair share of the cooking and work of camping she may be glad to indulge him a bit. Let me suggest for those who feel deprived or want to offer more, that you forgo the orgasm entirely and just enjoy some quiet copulation (to use the old term) and just the wonderful depth of connection that goes with it.
        That works wonders and is also very satisfying and can be pulled off uncover of darkness or behind a curtain very nicely and they will not be the wiser. A spoon or scissors position or lying on your sides facing each other can be very discreet and is a nice change of routine also. None of these positions would raise any suspicion if you were caught and covered a bit.
        Bonus… if you are gentle and not going for orgasm you will be on the always on position sexually and can get right to it without the need for foreplay because this is foreplay and you will be lubed from the last session. Trust me on this oxytocin is the key to good sex…, not dopimine addiction. Doing with one orgasm a month for me and four for her as given us both an hundred fold increase in sexual pleasure and desire. Its like and hour of deep bonding closeness per day instead of 15 minutes of frenzied pursuit of 15 seconds of pleasure twice a week. You will likely not need your lubes and for sure not that buzzing battery operated sex toy and could never use that around the kids anyway. So instead you just make gentle love that they will never notice and if they do they will not recognize what it is. They will think you are just lazily hugging and they will be right! But also you will be making the most delicious love you have ever made once you got the hang of it!!! This has been the most wonderful and profound change in our marriage of 35 years. Give it a try as you will experience healthy sexual energy like never before except perhaps the honeymoon and we love being on an endless honeymoon, kids or no kids. It is gourmet I tell you and for such a simple menu it cannot be beat!

        • ButterflyWings says:

          I’m not sure about the whole foregoing orgasms, but like happy husband, I believe sex on vacation (no matter what type) is super important. The thought of going away for a week or two and having no sex is no vacation. It’s frustrated torture.

          Other than our honeymoon, hubby and I won’t be having any vacations without kids in tow in the forseeable future (and I mean at least 5+ years). We have no family where we live, and no friends willing to babysit even for a day. So it’s vacation with kids or don’t vacation at all. And quite simply, if we can’t have sex, there would be no point in going because by the time we got home, I’d be a shattered wreck. A vacation without sex is not the least bit restful or relaxing.

          Not that hubby is big on vacations. We were supposed to go on one (us and daughter) for the winter break two weeks ago. The day before hubby cancelled and decided he’d rather stay home by himself because that to him is a “vacation”. I went without him because I had important things to do back in our old hometown that I hadn’t been able to take care of before I moved to be with him. But even if we could get a babysitter, I doubt we’ll have time away just the two of us because he doesn’t like leaving home. The closest we might get is christmas when we’ve arranged to go back to our old home town again, and we’ll stay with his family while my daughter stays with my family. And that’s the closest to a “child free vacation” we’ll probably have in the next decade unfortunately.

          There are always options for vacations. There are lots of places that have cabins with more than one room (and locks on the doors!). I really don’t think it’s healthy for couples to skip sex for anything other than health reasons or the reason the bible gives (time outu to pray). There are plenty of cheap vacation options where parents can still get privacy. Don’t have to have sex every night, but at least once a week. It’s something important that couples should consider when planning a family vacation. Especially these days when there are oodles of online deals for very cheap places to get away to that would give parents enough privacy to have a truly “enjoyable” vacation.

          • Sex in a tent trailer with the children mere feet away, no way. Sorry, that’s so inappropriate. Children should not be in the same room as parents having sex. Period. You can slip away and put a little distance between the kids and you but to do it with kids who are old enough to know what you’re doing? No. Get creative – the car, a separate tent far removed, off in the woods (we don’t camp in the concrete camp grounds), but never with kids right there.
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          • ButterflyWings says:

            Mel or simply shoo the kids out for half an hour. I’m not suggesting having sex with kids in the same room. Merely suggesting finding a way to accomodate having sex. As you said, slip away, use the car, separate tent, whatever. Just don’t give it up altogether.

        • Gotta agree with Happy Husband… Hmmmm. That’s probably one of the reasons his name aptly fits him. ha, ha.
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        • Jeannie K says:

          Ummm…Happy Husband, I’m pretty sure my husband cannot forgo orgasm. I don’t know how that would even works for a guy. I know going without orgasm happens more for women, unfortunately. I do agree with your point of enjoying the closeness, though.

          • Holly T says:

            I can forego organism fine on vacation as I can’t achieve it anyway due to stress of vacation. Believe me vacation is stressful especially a traveling vacation. My issue is that hubby is sad that I do not get organism on vacation. I told him I am fine and will not be able to get it. A quickie on vacation is the best I can do!! :)

            He just wants me to achieve more. πŸ˜‰ However I agree with Sheila that we do need to lower our expecations. Vacation is ALOT of work unless you are staying home!!


  6. We’ve found ways to make family vacations more conducive to sex. First, everyone helps get ready to go away. Dh handles some things, and I taught the kids how to pack for trips when they were about 5 and 7. Yes, really. We traveled quite a bit at the time, and they learned quickly. Second, when we take a vacation, we stay in a rental house, condo, cabin or apartment; it’s actually less expensive than a single hotel room. Everyone has their own space, and we have a kitchen for cooking meals. Third, we almost always take relaxing vacations rather than squeeze-in-as-much-sight-seeing-as-possible vacations. And on a related note, we plan reasonable driving days so we don’t arrive at our destination already exhausted. One time we drove nearly 14 hours in one day, and we promised each other that we’d never do that again. We don’t get to travel as much as we used to, so when we do, we both want to enjoy the opportunity for extra sex. (For me, just being somewhere other than home makes me feel more interested.)

    • Renee Quiett says:

      Great advice on renting a house for a the vacation! As a family of 6 we do this as well because of cost. And most hotels what accommodate that many people in one room. Even if house only has 2 rooms it’s enough room for the kids in one room and mom and dad in another. So plenty of privacy and you save money.

  7. Please, folks, don’t have sex with your children in the room. It’s wrong and even if you think you know they are asleep, you never know for sure. I am still scarred for life and it actually damaged part of my relationship with my parents because they would do this. (Little do they know that I even know or remember it). Sex needs to happen during private time, NOT when other people are present.

    • Crystal says:

      I am sorry, I do not understand how you are “scarred for life” knowing your parents were having sex. That is how you came along. And I certainly would not let that affect your relationship with them.

      I feel that sex with my hubby has been affected because my parents shielded me from sex and affection. Yes, we talked about sex. I knew they were having sex, obviously. Other than a goodnight and goodbye kiss, I didn’t see much affection between my parents. But it was taboo. No, I don’t/didn’t want to see any of the acts. But to this day, I feel that “taboo”. I feel that it is something to be ashamed of wanting. I am not confident in my sexuality. I feel that I should not want to have sex with my hubby.

      On the contrary, my hubby is not this way. His dad was deployed and when he returned home, on numerous occasions, they were intimate with the kids knowing it. They were in their bedroom with the doors locked. My hubby is confident in his sexuality, he is confident and doesn’t feel ashamed of wanting sex. No they didn’t have sex in front of them. But they let their children know they were having sex.

      We are trying to teach our daughters that mommies and daddies love each other. And when they do, they hug and kiss and hold hands. (that’s all they need to know right now) Our oldest doesn’t like it when we do these things, but we use it as a teachable moment. We tell her the above-mentioned sentence and that she will one day be thankful that she has a mommy and daddy who love each other and do these things to show love.

      • Crystal, I would agree. There’s nothing wrong with kids, especially older kids, knowing that you’re making love.

        I think the issue here, though, is that there’s a world of difference between knowing what’s going on behind a closed door and having it going on just a few feet from where the kids are–and that those kids can see. That’s all.

      • I think hearing and seeing your parents having sex is WORLDS different from knowing they are doing it. I think it’s wrong and damaging to have sex in front of your kids. If you have your own room, go for it. If your kids are in the room, no way.

        • Danielle B says:

          Oh my, guess what people? A 100yrs ago, everyone shared the same room!! Stop with the taboo crap and get over it. Not saying you should have sex when the kids are awake, but you can when they are asleep! Or how about the bathroom?????????????????

          • Oh, please. When everyone shared rooms, parents still found a way to find privacy. My husband and I coslept with our kids, and I can guarantee you that we did not have sex with our kids in the bed. We GOT CREATIVE. We had sex in the kitchen or living room. We even went outside sometimes. We’d have sex when the kids were napping elsewhere.

            We had three kids in less than three years, so obviously a person can have an active sex life without having their kids in the room eyeballing them. That’s just not acceptable imo.

        • I’m with you Tiffany – I was also exposed to my parents actually having sex in the same room as me. Only once, but I’ll never forget how horrifying it was. Based on my experience (and yours I think), I would go so far as to say it can scar a child for life and deeply affect their relationship with their parents.
          It’s totally different thing from children seeing their parents being affectionate or knowing they are being intimate behind a closed door. It’s inappropriate, completely selfish, and frightening.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Trailer tip – pressure mounted shower curtain. Although, I guess that wouldn’t work on a tent trailer. In a hardback, it’s perfect! If kids wake up and are about to come over to our bed, we will hear them before they get to us.

    • :) All of that works when they’re little–when they’re teenagers, not so much. :)

      • isn’t that the truth! Are we forgetting something important here? Do you remember being a teenager? I would have been so mortified to be aware my parents were having sex 10 feet from me. Let the kids have a fun vacation too. Wait until they are out for a hike, etc.

        • In regards to the gender division though, in all honesty when the kids were little, it was Me who didn’t mind. My husband totally freaked about them potentially knowing
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        • ButterflyWings says:

          When I was a teenager, yes I was mortified, but my parents still did it. And to be honest, the only reason I was mortified was because my mother constantly drilled into us that sex was dirty and disgusting and a horrible chore. If I knew then what I knew now, that it is a glorious celebration of married intimacy, I’d have just turned up my headphones and thought it was good that my parents were doing something good rather than the constant arguments/whinging at each other. I wouldn’t have been mortified, I’d have just not wanted to hear it.

          • Crystal says:

            AMEN!!! I totally agree!! This too was what I was trying to say in my reply to Renee Quiett. You hit the nail on the head!! Again, when they are teens, sex has to be more discreet. But when they are little, you can hide it better. πŸ˜‰ lol

  9. This must split down gender lines, because I would be absolutely devastated and hurt beyond belief if this was the approach my wife took. Vacations…well let’s just say sex is 75% of the reason for them! Family or couple….sex is vital. I couldn’t disagree more with this post.

    As far as sex with kids in the same room, how do people in the third world do it? Pioneers? I could go on, but sex has been happening in the same rooms as kids up until the 1900’s unless you were very wealthy.

    • That should read family vacation or couple vacation….sex is vital!

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Definitely not gender lines Robert. I’m a woman and I totally agree.

    • Okay, Robert, but would you have sex with your teenagers sleeping in a double bed right next to you? Or in a trailer when they can hear everything (and they stay up as late as you do)? I just think that there needs to be some realization that this is for FAMILY. Things change when kids get older.

      If people can afford a cabin or something with two rooms, that’s great. But not everybody can. And a lot of the emails I’ve been getting are women who are saying, “sex on a family vacation is stressing me out because the kids are right there!” And I do think that’s valid, depending on the kids’ ages. it was totally different when the kids were toddlers. But when they’re teens or preteens? A lot harder.

      Hey, if people can make it work, go for it! I’m just saying–you’re on a family vacation. Don’t stress more than you have to. And take some time, just the two of you, when you can to really focus on the sexual side of your marriage. Doing that in a small tent with kids around may not be totally feasible.

    • Or let me put it another way–if it is vital to people to have sex on family vacations, then make sure that the family vacation that you plan has you sleeping in a different room than the kids once those kids reach a certain age.

      As for us, we like to do a lot of camping, and so it isn’t always feasible. Luckily the kids leave the trailer frequently because they’re old enough to do so, but expecting a great sex vacation when the kids are right there is a little much.

      • Sheila,
        Hotel rooms have bathroom’s. Also, once teenagers are old enough to be “aware” they also slip down to the pool or out of the room. In fact they can be kicked out of the room.

        Same with camping. I don’t mind if my kids know we are having sex. Do I want them to watch, umm…absolutely not. Does mom need to be groaning at the top of her lungs, no. But I don’t mind if they hear a few bed springs squeaking either. The world would function a lot better if kids knew dad and mom loved one another they had to get it on at least once every other day…it will do them more good then harm by a long shot!

        I just see this completely different than you Sheila.

        • I agree–which is why I said I said in the article that quickies can be fun, and you can take advantage of the time when the kids are gone, if the kids are old enough to go. I don’t think we disagree as much as you think.

          I’m simply saying that when you’re on a vacation, and the only time you have alone is with kids in the room, perhaps we shouldn’t expect so much out of the sex department and then feel like failures. Marriage is a big picture thing–it isn’t just one or two days. Take a look at the big picture of the relationship. Is it good? Are you connecting? Then if you take a week with the kids, and you just don’t have time for a lot of sex except for an occasional quickie, that really is okay.

          • I just didn’t get that feeling from reading it Sheila. You seemed to make a concension on quickies, just to concede it. I’m tired this morning, but I re-read it and got the same vibe.

            Sex is what re-charges my batteries. Sex is what makes me fee alive, loved, cared for, respected…I could go on but I just got the feeling what I looked forward to in a vacation did not matter at all. You seemed to be siding with tired moms, nothing wrong with mom getting some rest, but really half an hour out of 24 & you can’t prioritize your husband? It just didn’t sit well.

            As far as the whole same room thing…and the negative responses. You all need to find a way to be much more creative. 90% of the time there is a way to have sex if it’s important enough to you. Yes it takes thought, planning and a dash of daring but again But if you put in the thought and planning they will never know. I will just state that I would be absolutely devasted if my wife took this approach. And I’m going to go kiss her right now and tell her how awesome she is because she doesn’t.

          • ButterflyWings says:

            I’m the same Robert except I’d be happy with even a half hour once or twice per week, although half an hour out of every day sounds amazing. I agree it’s about prioritising what your spouse wants on a vacation.

            unfortunately my husband takes the lack of priority for sex while at home and vacation (even when we’re vacation alone), but I hope one day that will change. I can’t say sex recharges my batteries, but it makes me too feel alive, loved, cared for, respected.

            Trust me, it’s not about mums being tired. I am constantly tired and sick and it doesn’t take away my drive. All it does is take away my desire to keep asking only to be turned down. If a woman (or man) is truly interested in sex, they’ll find a way. Only extreme tiredness (and I’m talking no sleep for 48+ hours or similar exhaustion or doing a double shift ie 17 hours work in a heavy labouring job, or something equally exhausting) is being “too tired”. I’ve done worse (when I had three jobs years ago I had back to back shifts over 25 hours with no sleep, on my feet the whole time, with only a 2-3 hour break between each of the shifts and the time spent in between was travelling between jobs mostly) and still come home and had sex with my first husband.after that nightmare working day. And I have chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s not something I could do any day (it’s not humanly possible), but I think too often “too tired” is used as an excuse to refuse sex.

          • ButterflyWings says:

            oops that should read “not something I could every day”.

            But Robert, I just want to reassure that there are women who feel the way you do.

        • ButterflyWings says:

          I’m the same Robert. I don’t want my daughter to see anything, and (probably not to hear anything either), but I think it’s healthy for kids to know what mum and dad have their “special time” – for boys to know that sex is for marriage, so they know waiting til they get married pays off, and for girls to know that sex isn’t dirty, that it’s something a healthy woman wants and enjoys and not some chore you have to do once you get married.

          And things with my daughter are good. We like to make sure wherever we are, that there is a lock on the door, but we also have a pretty standard rule that if the door is shut, you knock and my daughter very quickly realised that door shut generally equals sex (as we leave it open at night for the cat to get in and out so sex is the only time we really shut it) and to not even come to the bedroom door if it’s shut (unless of course it was an emergency).

          • I agree with that too, as I’ve written about here. All I’m saying is that sometimes, on family vacations, you aren’t going to get as much sex as you wanted because the kids are there. And I think, as grownups, we should just shrug it off and enjoy the time for what it is, knowing that our sex life is good at other times. Often we put too much pressure on this perfect vacation–we’re going to bond with the kids perfectly, and have amazing times, and it will always be sunny, and we’ll have great sex. Life happens. Just roll with it, and have fun when you can.

        • Crystal says:

          I agree that the world would be better! Kids see so much stress in marriages, divorces, arguments infidelities, etc. What if, as parents we weren’t so afraid to let our kids know about marital intimacy? How much better would our family dynamics be?

          • Crystal says:

            Let me clarify…

            Be discreet when having sex with kids in close proximity. EXPLAIN marital intimacy.

      • I agree with Sheila 100% on this one. If you have a satisfying sex life at home, a week without sex is not a big deal at all. A good sex life is so much more than the act — it’s the whole relationship. Family vacations are a wonderful time to foster intimacy in marriage and family. Long talks on the beach, holding hands…and the flirting on the way home makes for a GREAT homecoming! πŸ˜‰

        Being open about sex with kids is so important…but that’s different than exposing them to sexually explicit behavior. Having sex with children in the room can be psychologically damaging to them.

        And if you can’t go a week without sex? Find a way to do it without the kids around — hire a babysitter, get two rooms, etc.

        We thoroughly enjoy family vacations. Sex is just one part of life, not the most important. Being able to play Clue with the kids and dig in the sand at the beach and play frisbee and a million other activities make vacations a highlight of our year! And if you can grab a discreet “quickie,” as Sheila described, that’s a bonus!!
        chewing taffy recently posted…judgedMy Profile

        • ButterflyWings says:

          That’s why I think it’s so important to book family vacations that take into account that sex is important in a marriage. If children aren’t old enough to be in their own tent, I wouldn’t be taking them camping for example. And maybe it’s just where I live, but you can pick up cheap cabins for a week or two for the same price as it would cost for camping fees. I think it can be dangerous not to take into account a spouse’s sexual “needs” on vacation even if you have a good sex life back at home. I’ve seen all too many marriages where men simply refuse to go on family vacations anymore purely because they feel like their wife only cares about the kid’s fun and not their husband’s “fun” while on vacation.

          • It sounds like sex is a top priority for you, so that is great that you see that and can plan accordingly!

            Personally, we LOVE camping. My boys are learning a lot of great skills in the wilderness. I wouldn’t want to give that up! Most of our camping trips are long weekends…not actual “vacations”! In fact, we’re packing up for one right now!

            My husband and I both want to connect with the kids on vacation…not just me. I think for the marriages in the last line — wives only caring about the kids having fun — well, that’s not a vacation problem…that’s a marriage problem!
            chewing taffy recently posted…judgedMy Profile

          • Charyse says:

            I’m not sure where you live, but here in Oregon renting a cabin (other than the non door locking primitive cabins or yurts at state campgrounds) is at least $100 more per night. As our daughter is still quite young I will not be putting her in a separate tent and there is no way I’m going to have sex with her less than five feet away. Shelia makes it very clear on the entire rest of the site how important sex in marriage regularly is that I think this whole thread of comments is quite disrespectful when Shelia is attempting to shed light on one time when it’s okay to take a break from sex and focus on enjoying your children, who grow all too quickly!

            Also to the man who said 75% of the reason he goes on vacation is for sex, that’s really sad. I go on trips with my family to get away from the everyday, enjoy a new piece of this world, learn something new, enjoy my family and many more reasons. But sex is not the reason for a family vacation!

          • ButterflyWings says:

            Charyse, that’s a shame. I’m an Aussie. I don’t know what it is, maybe because vacationing is considered a national past time or something, but cabins are often only a few dollars more than campsite. Partly because campsites are so expensive (unless you camp in national parks and personally I’m not sure that’s a good idea due to lack of facilities/safety issues, and even then I wouldn’t call that cheap), whereas cabins aren’t that expensive. I’ve just been on holidays with my daughter and mum, and while it wasn’t seperate rooms, we rented a five bedroom motel room for $110 for the night (and was cheaper for longer stays) and that was in a resort town so that is considered “expensive”. It’s very easy to pick up two bedroom caravans and cabins for under $100 a night total, at the beach, bordering on national park and rainforests, at camping grounds. I don’t use tents much because whenever I’ve stayed at camping grounds, it usually ends up being around $50+ for a tent site (and more if it’s more than two people) whereas they have beautiful little caravans and cabins starting from around $60. A little more for two bedroom ones but not much more.

            And all with the same access to outdoor activities as staying in a tent. It’s one of the things I love about being an aussie πŸ˜‰

        • amen!

    • Sex is 75% of the whole reason for vacations??? Really?? What’s happening the rest of regular life if you have to go on vacation for sex to be a priority?

      Also, question here…you said that you would be devastated and hurt beyond belief if your wife didn’t want to have sex on vacation with the kids right next to you. Would you still be devastated and hurt beyond belief if you understood that maybe the reason is that she prefers to have privacy with you? If she felt like she couldn’t be totally relaxed? If she was actually physically uncomfortable? (Let’s face it…bathroom sex is less than comfortable.) And if you’re that devastated and hurt, isn’t it a big possibility that your “need” has become too important? (And I know we’ve had this discussion about needs/desires over on my blog and totally disagree, but it’s still worth asking the question here.) Is making love really going to be as enjoyable if your wife is not also enjoying it? When my husband and I go visit my family, we have to sleep in separate bedrooms on separate floors of the house. There is one bathroom that is not remotely soundproof. It does disappoint my husband a bit, but I am just so uncomfortable with the thought of my younger siblings or parents hearing “things”, that I cannot relax and so yeah, I ask him for love-making to be deferred for the weekend. It’s disappointing to him, but he would also rather that I was comfortable and relaxed and uninhibited. Plus, we’d also have to go to slightly extraordinary lengths to even make it happen since he sleeps on the floor on the second floor with two of our kids and I sleep on the third floor with a baby in a pack and play next to the bed. It’s just awkward. I think there’s also something to be said for just letting things happen…if you have to go to crazy lengths to make it happen and you’re just forcing the issue to keep sex a regular part of daily life, how is that even fun?

      And as far as not minding if your kids hear a few bed squeaks…I grew up in a tiny house and in order to get to my bedroom on the third floor, I had to go through my parents’ room. Needless to say, because of the close quarters, I heard lots of things. It was extremely embarrassing as a teenager. Not that my parents should have stopped because clearly their kids could hear them, but knowing how it feels, I would never want to deliberately make my teenagers uncomfortable. If we’re all sleeping in the same room, seriously, it can wait a few days and just preserve everyone’s dignity.
      Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…The “Gift” of CriticismMy Profile

  10. it’s never ok to have sex with your kids in the same room…. ever… trust me, it hurts them.

  11. Kimberly Helton says:

    My kids aren’t preteens or teens yet but it’s a no now and it’s a no later on too. I love him dearly but he can behave until we get home. Was my answer on facebook but on our family trips we have. We usually get rooms with a set of bunks in a different area just for the kids. As for the tents if you were in separate tens then yes I would. My kids are young so my opinion might change. Idk. Great article!

    • ButterflyWings says:

      He can “behave”? I could understand “he can wait” but “behave” makes it sound like having sex is doing something wrong.

  12. WHAT?!?!?! I totally agree with you Shelia. I couldn’t disagree more with happy husband and Robert. Oh and btw happy husband, that was TMI. Yikes! Anyway, there is NO WAY I am having sex with my husband with children right next to us. Not gonna happen. It’s a major mood killer anyway. On vacations where we have a separate room with a lock on the door, it’s no problem and I’m all for it. I love and enjoy sex, but not in the same room with my kids. Nope. Just NO, lol.

  13. Bobbie Gildroy says:

    I get what Sheila is saying. I think she is simply encouraging us to be smart & mature about this. I agree that there are ways we can make love without the noise & movement. That can even be a lot of fun. However,there is a time & place for everything. If I can find a way to love my husband while being absolutely certain we won’t be interrupted, you better believe I’m for it .Unfortunately, not all situations allow that . Until then, I will make sue my husband knows that I cannot wait to be with him by shamelessly flirting with him & using our phrases that only we understand! My husband feels exactly the way I do about this subject, so I’m very fortunate.

  14. The vibe I’m getting is that if husbands think that their vacation needs to have plenty of sexy time then they need to plan a vacation where that can reasonably happen. You can’t sit back and watch your wife plan a “single tent in the woods” or an “economy single hotel room” vacation and then expect magic once you get there. At very least sit down with her and make a plan for meeting both your expectations as much as possible.

    On the other hand – I’m pretty sure that once we’re toting a load of kids around with us we’ll be doing a trailer/tent mix for a lot of the time. When the kids are little we’ll stick ’em in the trailer and hang out in our tent. When they’re bigger maybe we’ll reverse it (I do love tents though). Pro-tip – camping beside a loud stream is your friend :)
    Natalie recently posted…And the diagnosis was….My Profile

  15. I like how you put it. If you can figure it all out awesome, but let yourself off the hook if it doesn’t happen. I am always interested in the family dynamic of the people who comment. Like ages of kids and types of vacations they would be going on. It as for sure gotten interesting in our family now that the kids are older 20,18,15,and 8. Once we had teens it was time for 2 tents! and now it is 3 (15yr old boy can’t stand being in the tent with his sisters and their perfumes and such lol). The 8 yr old hops from tent to tent. I personally could not do it if they were right next to us in the same tent or in the same hotel room. Also unless we are away as a couple then our sex is pretty much the same!

    My husband and I went tent camping for a weekend after dropping off our oldest daughter at college. I was soo uncomfortable with all the kids of other families that we asked to move our site. We ended up on the primitive ( yup you guessed it no flushing toilets!) side of the lake. That was the best thing we could have done! We are pretty much alone and were free to express our love a little more openly. We had so much fun that we plan to do it again in a few weeks when we take her back for her second year.

    Sheila, thanks for keeping the topic of sex interesting!
    Megan C

  16. My family and I are going on vacation to Lake Michigan in a couple of weeks. Some of our kids will be staying in the same room with us and my husband made it very clear that we are not having sex on this vacation. Our kids are really little but it’s still very creepy to both of us to have them right there. Plus my brother and sister in-law will be staying in the room next to ours and the beds in the cabin are really squeaky (we’ve stayed there before so we know). If we tried to do anything they would totally hear us and that would just be humiliating! We both agreed that if we get some alone time and we know that no one will be in the cabin for a while then we’ll go for it.

  17. My family traveled a lot when I was a kid because my dad took us all along on his business trips. My parents would put us all to bed in the hotel room and then retreat to the bathroom. It’s only after I became an adult that I thought to wonder what they were doing in there! Especially because my mom recently let slip that one of my five brothers and sisters was conceived on a trip to Washington DC. Hmm. :)

    We do a lot of tent camping. Our son is only 18 months old, so we haven’t faced this yet. But I know it’s coming. I guess it’s like everything else in marriage. You have to talk to each other about your expectations and how you feel. And you have to work together to find a solution.

  18. Bathrooms at a hotel or relative’s house, family shower rooms at campgrounds, fun under a blanket in the dark by the camp fire after the little kids are in bed, etc. If it doesn’t work out, fine. But my husband feels loved every time I try or even think of a way to try. :-)

  19. Renee Quiett says:

    I think it’s amusing that anyone is accusing Shelia of saying don’t have sex. She writes books about having a wonderfully abundant sex life with your spouse! She’s saying don’t cause trauma to your kids. Yes, your kids should have a healthy view of sex, and that is something that should be taught verbally. Shelia says if you can find a circumstance to have a quickie then do it. Why do people have to blow everything out of proportion and twist it to fit their own agenda.

  20. I find it “weird” when couples demonstrate that they are less sexual than when they were “out in the world” and before they married or had children, etc. Marriage should come before any human relationship (children, family, friends, etc), yet some tend to put it on the back burner when they marry?I don’t get it.
    So all this is to say that whether at home or on vacation, sex should be a regular part of our married lives! Now, I will say that we have sex ALL the time, any where. We went on a cruise last year and took our two daughters (ages 3 and 8). Now everyone knows how small those rooms are. HOWEVER, we used the darkness and made sure they were sleeping to get our sexapades on. We just had to be more quiet than normal. (In fact, I distinctively remember my hubby putting his hand over my mouth at one point). :)
    But yes! I agree, vacations, home, parents’ house, etc, sex should not stop! You just have to be more cleaver and creative about how it gets done, which is also fun.

  21. Family vacation, same room, trailer whatever. No. Not if your kids are in the room too. I’m not saying you can’t be spontaneous, have quickies, I have older kids and so I think it’s easier to find alone time as they go off and explore the hotel etc. But there is such a thing as self control. If we are going to be gone say a week on a family vacation sharing common space, we will make sure to have a great time before hand and when we get back. Truth is you won’t implode from a little sexual tension, makes coming home fun! I am no prude and think I have a harder time keeping my mitts off my man when it’s a family trip but I think it can be fun too to flirt, canoodle and anticipate coming home. I had the displeasure growing up of having my parents think I was “asleep” while being in the same room while they went for it. I heard EVERYTHING and you know the everything’s I’m talking about. Three beings should be the only witnesses, God, YOU and your spouse. Period. My kids know dad and I have a healthy relationship but “assuming” they won’t hear certain things is unfair, insensitive, and puts them in an uncomfortable situation if they wake up.

    • Totally agree! It’s interesting how before marriage or even before any of us were sexually active, we could flirt, touch, etc and NOT have sex and no one died from it. Because we’re now married doesn’t mean we can’t have self control sometimes. The anticipation can build for a few days and it makes the homecoming that much better! And for the gentleman that said 75% of the vacation for him is sex. Wowzer. I’d never want to go on vacation again if that is the only reason my husband wanted to go with me or go on a family vacation. There’s more to the marriage relationship than sex. Yes, it’s super important but so is talking, non-sexual touching, just being together etc.
      Mel @ Trailing After God recently posted…When Right Now Runs LateMy Profile

      • Exactly! And PARENTING. It’s okay to take a week to be a parent and introduce your kid to nature or canoeing, etc.

      • Maam,
        I’m that gentlemen and let me say I give my life & lay down my life everyday to my wife and children. I spend hours with my children everyday. If I’m not at work providing for my family (which I do from home so I can see them extra), I’m with them. I teach them to “canoe” everyday. Play games everyday. I talk with my wife everyday. Why is so bad of me to want to have sex with my wife in Yellowstone? Or under the wide open Arizona sky where God paints the sky? Why, when visiting the city and all that “excitement” is going on around me and I keep my eyes just for my wife is it bad of me to want to be with her? I have self control everyday. I don’t spend money on me, I don’t look at other women, I don’t waste time I should spend with my family. They get my life, my thoughts, my sweat and blood…why is it wrong of me to want to do the thing I enjoy most on this earth when I too am on vacation?
        I hold hands and talk with my wife all day long….what’s wrong with me desiring to have more than that at the end of the day?

        • Ummmm….because the kids are in the room? If you arrange for it to be different and you have the money for that, that’s great. But not everybody does. And some people really enjoy camping.

        • Happy Husband says:

          You make excellent points. You are dead on. Theirs nothing wrong with you and you will not scar your kids!

  22. We don’t have kids yet, but coming from the perspective of having been a child who went on a lot of really great family vacations, I have to say that I love Sheila’s focus on “family vacations are about family.” I love that this was my parents’ focus — being together as a group, getting to make fun memories together. I also really like her focus on a good sex life all the time, as this reduces the pressure on special occasions so much. Same with general relationship healthiness and holidays like Valentines Day or so.

  23. As someone whose parents had no issue whatsoever with having sex 3 feet from us in a tent all I can say is a big NO. I agree with you Sheila. I don’t think it just applies to having teens either.. my earliest memory of this happening on every trip was age 7. Sometimes desire has to take a backseat to being considerate to your children.

  24. If you plan it you can make it work, especially with younger kids. If you have older kids do what you can, indeed what you must, to keep them from interrupting you. More for their sake. I remember family vacations where I accidentally walked in on my parents – as a teen and tween this is shocking!

    We have options now our parents didn’t have. iPads, games, videos – even older kids getting a chance to start breakfast or have a game with their sibs. If you want some Mom & Dad time before they wake up, let them know you are ‘sleeping in’ that morning and not to bother you. Let them have a treat like a video or ask them to start breakfast or play a game. If you are wanting to be intimate respect that you have to listen for their moving around – and mind your positions people! I know that may sound crass but you can cover up quicker in some positions than others. Then it is just awkward sleeping rather than something graphic!
    shanyn recently posted…No one understandsMy Profile

  25. Why does it have to be family or sex? Why does it have to be rest or sex? It seems to me that sex with both restful and very family oriented. I think all of those that are “freaking out” with our “own agenda” don’t like the vs. or one or the other…seems exactly opposite of what sex is. And to be perfectly honest, I would have a MISERABLE vacation without sex. Grumpy, sad, and I can’t imagine being around all those other females, who are often skimply dressed without being with my wife and having any kind of victory with my thoughtlife. I’m sure that makes me a horndog and shallow to many of you. Believe it or not and I don’t say this meanly but that is what many of your arguments sound like to those on the other side of this issue. Shallow. Sex isn’t “sex”. Sex is sex and so much more.

    • I really think you’re not reading the comments, Robert, and assuming things that aren’t there. I never said don’t have sex on vacation; I said that when kids are in the room, it’s not always possible. If you can grab a quickie, great, but let’s not put so much pressure that each family vacation is going to be a major sexual thing. If you get to have sex and can squeeze it in discreetly, fine. But let’s not assume that every night you’re going to have mind-blowing sex–that’s what I meant by “sexcapades”.

      No one in this thread, as far as I can see, is saying “don’t have sex at all on your family vacation.” They are simply saying, “don’t have sex when your children will see.” I think that is perfectly reasonable. Again, if you can manage a quickie (as I said), great. But family vacations are not major sex times–couple vacations are, when you can go at it for extended periods, etc. etc.

      You seem to be assuming that me and all these people are saying, “you won’t have sex for two weeks, or one week, or whatever.” No, we’re simply saying it’s hard to have a great sex life when kids are right in the room, and you just need to realize that and don’t build up so much pressure on yourselves. Sure, grab a quickie when you can, but realize that’s probably all it’s going to be on a family vacation. And that’s perfectly okay.

      • Sheila,
        There has actually been several commentators that said “one week without sex isn’t going to hurt you”….I’m reading them. I don’t have a problem if someone doesn’t want to have sex in the same room as their kids…to each his own. I have a problem with the fact that for all the planning and prep that go into a vacation, hotel, camping, whatever that the little bit of thought that goes into being able to make it happen (and it definetly can 100%) is just dismissed and if “you can squeeze it in discreetly, fine”…instead of the attitude it’s going to happen and we have to find a way to squeeze it in. Your post and several of the comments were it was an afterthought. Something good if it happens, but don’t sweat it if you don’t. And I greatly disagree with that. Please go back and read the first half of your post and several of the commentators that talk about going a week…sorry, a week truly will hurt me if my wife is not sick, hurting, etc and the only reason it’s not happening is because she is not comfortable with the surroundings (and isn’t willing to put in the work to change those surroundings for half an hour). And thank you Jesus this is not her.

        I don’t think I am the only one that read that this way.

        • Robert–

          If it is that important to you, why don’t YOU change the surroundings and make her feel comfortable? There’s no problem with men doing that. If it’s that important to him, then he can make the arrangements for the vacation to make sure she’s more comfortable. And if it’s that important to her, she can, too.

          But some families really enjoy camping, or canoe trips, or getting out in a tent trailer, and mind-blowing sex is very rarely a part of that. Quickies, sure. Mind-blowing sex? Probably not. That’s what other times are for.

          We’re married for decades. There are 52 weeks in a year. I think a couple can go for a week with just an occasional quickie if the point of the week is spending time with the kids in close proximity. We need the occasional time to be parents first and foremost, too. If we spend 51 weeks of the year having great sex at home, or getting away for a couple’s vacation, and then we spend one week in a tent with the occasional quickie because the kids are the focus this week, I fail to see anything wrong with that.

          • Or, to put it another way, I DO see something really wrong with a couple saying, “we must have mind-blowing sex every week, all year round, even if that means that we miss out on doing some fun things with the kids that we all enjoy.” They’re only young once. It’s okay to make them your priority for a week or two of family vacation.

          • Exactly, Sheila!

            There is a time and a place for everything!

            I think most of us agree that discretion is very important when having sex…people aren’t looking for an audience. It really disturbs me that some commenters feel like it IS okay to have sex in the same room as their kids. This is actually considered sexual abuse — exposing kids to adult sexual behavior is simply NOT okay. You cannot count on them sleeping through it.

            In the context of a healthy marriage and sex life, I just don’t see what the big deal is with going a week without sex. We do it every month around here when it’s “that time,” and it just isn’t a huge hardship for either of us. There is much more to intimacy than just sex.
            chewing taffy recently posted…judgedMy Profile

          • I’m not sure why my post was moderated away when I say I am more than glad to set up arrangements, do the work or spend the cash to make the surroundings what they need to be. I have no problem with that. My problem with was the downplay of the importance of sex on family vacations and that is why I posted. To you the other 51 weeks of the year justify it not being a big deal during that week. For me, and obviously for others this is not true. Sex is a huge, huge part of what makes vacations, vacations. It’s a fundamental difference. I’m not trying to be mean or arguemenatitive. I’m simply stating that for most husbands that would be like saying we don’t get to laugh, have fun or talk on a vacation…it’s no longer vacation is it?

          • I deleted it frankly because I think the conversation has gone on long enough! :) I’ll let this one through, but I don’t think anything new is being said. I do believe that it’s okay to stress parenthood and the great outdoors for one week a year.

          • ButterflyWings says:

            Chewing Taffy, unless I misread it, I don’t think anyone is advocating having sex with the kids there. I personally was trying to say it’s important to set up your vacation so sex is possible, without the kids being there. For my parents, it was getting us older ones to watch the little ones for a little while. For my husband and I, we’re more likely to go with separate tents/rooms. Either way, it’s about making the possibility of having sex a priority and working the vacation accomodation around that.

      • That is precisely what I meant in my comment but maybe didn’t word it well enough.. sex shouldn’t be in the same room. However, this line of thinking has had wonderful effects on our marriage. We have a great sex life so neither of us feel rejected on our trips. What it becomes is a time like when we were dating and sex wasn’t going to happen. We find ourselves holding hands, snuggling, and there is also some major making out. It is wonderful and when we get to a place where we are able to sneak in sex or even if we wait until we are home it is to die for! It is just the pick-me-up we need. Does that make sense?

  26. happywife says:

    The diversity of comments here is a great example of why sexual expectations need to be discussed *before* planning your vacation. Nobody needs to get their panties in a wad because someone else decides to forgo sex on their vacation. Each couple needs to decide what is right for them and make it work.
    I know that we have taken family vacations when sex did not occur, and neither of us was bent out of shape over it. But we have also managed to make intimacy happen on more vacations than not. We have had sex (during family vacays) in a campground shower, in our van at the campsite, in our tent while the kids were in another tent, on a campground golf course late at night, at both sets of parents houses, on a cruise where we booked separate rooms for the kids, in hotels with the kids in the adjoining room (obviously old enough to be in a room by themselves…) You can make it happen, but of course the best vacation sex is on a get-away without kids and without a huge schedule. And fwiw, when we are away without kids, I couldn’t give a hooey who hears. I’m never going to see the people in the bed and breakfast next to us ever again, or those boy scouts who set up camp right next to us, or the maids who were working in the hallway. When I am away with my beloved it is time to boogie and I’m not about to let anything deter me. :-)

    • You sound like me! That’s exactly us to a tee.

    • Chantel says:

      Adorable!! Sounds like you’ve got a great thing going – keep.it.up!

    • Heather says:

      So, it doesn’t matter who hears you as long as it’s not your own children??

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Particularly the boy scouts! If it’s not ok to expose your own kids to it, it’s definitely not ok to expose other people’s kids to it.

    • Happy Husband says:

      Happy wife you could not have said it better! You are so right about planning and discussing expectations ahead of time its called communication and also a journey to learn that well.

      Sheila Please delete earlier short comment

  27. Sometimes when we go on vacation our kids are in the same room. We do not have sex when they are right there. They are still very small but it still is just weird. My husband is the one who said that he did not want to have sex when they are in the room. We both know several people who were traumatized as children because they saw or heard their parents having sex. I think if you have a healthy sex life then taking a week off is not going to be hard at all. My husband and I have sex almost everyday and going without for a bit really is not a big deal!

  28. Chantel says:

    My opinion: Sex with preteens and teens (or children who would know what is going on) in the room is inappropriate and disrespectful to them. (Young toddlers is another story as long as everything is discreet and you don’t mind them interrupting should they wake in the middle of things.) I agree with Sheila that sometimes vacation is about the FAMILY and if you’re that sex deprived, you have bigger issues that you should work out anyway. If sex on vacation is THAT important, then consider getting your older kids their own rooms or plan a night or two in a hotel on a tent/camper camping trip. There is too much risk in terms of emotional and sexual development for a preteen/teen to witness their parents getting it on next to them.

  29. From a guy perspective, we have very little sex :( at home anyway. And when we go on vacation, yes, I hope for sex, but know that it won’t happen anyway. Usually when we vacation, we stay in timeshares so we have our own king size bed, private everything, and still nothing. I know my wife has been stressed, and needing the vacation, but, so did I. And sex is a great stress reducer, or so I have been told.
    Even if we were in a camper or tent, I usually reached around her and tried something, normally to get shot down because the kids might hear. Heck, the raccoons outside the tent are doing it. But, oh well, thats my life.
    As to the first responder. Yes, I took my wife to Hawaii for two weeks on our 10th. Left our kids with family. It was breathtaking, and the occasional sex, was also.

  30. berjiboo says:

    Most of our family vacations are camping trips. We have had our kids in separate tents since they were old enough to crawl (we have a 2 sleeper tent and NO ONE gets sleep with two adults and a baby in a small tent). The tents are close enough that we hear them cry, but far enough away to give us the privacy we need. Or we let them sleep in the minivan and set up our tent nearby. Either way- they may or may not hear noises- we’re usually quiet, but they aren’t going to see anything.
    When we travel and have to stay in hotels we try to get a suite, even if it costs an extra $20 a night. It is worth it not just if we want intimacy but even just want to stay up later or one of leave the room to exercise/walk the dog etc.
    Mind blowing sex isn’t usually the goal of a vacation though- unless it is a couple’s vacation. Connective sex is necessary for us though (but it is simple, quiet).
    Oh, and my kids are 6,6, & 3

  31. Kristina says:

    Growing up I witnessed two different types of marriages.

    My mothers marriage to my father was very abusive and often times my dad raped her over the course of their 12 year marriage. Unfortunately I witnessed most of the abuse my mother took, and I even glimpsed several of the rapes as I was in the living room sleeping on the floor and my mom was on the couch when it happened.

    My parents got divorced and my mom remarried. My step dad and mom were usually discreet about their sexual relationship, although I knew what was going on, and even heard. However, I could see the care and love that they had for each other which was absent from my moms marriage to my father.

    With that said, here is my take on the issue: I would much rather have my children know what a real marriage is like . A marriage is hard work, dedication, and times choosing to love and fight for that love when it seems like it is all but gone. A healthy marriage includes hardships and sex. I am not saying let them watch, but they need to know that sex is okay and designed by God for two people who have committed their lives to each other. Children today have the media showing them pictures of “marriages, sexual relationships” and none of them are healthy or realistic. I am not saying sex should be a main topic between parents and their children, but it should be discussed, and they need to know that it is not “Gross” but natural between a husband and wife. I think this is the best chance we get as parents to start building a foundation of what “God ordained sex” is. I see God in my moms 2nd marriage, I didn’t see it in the first and it did take years of praying and allowing God to heal my heart on that matter.

    As to the vacations: I don’t see anything wrong with sex while on a family vacation if there is a moment of privacy.

    As to kids in the same room: If you HAVE TO, I would say that children under 5, I think it is no big deal if they are asleep in a different bed, and you are at least quiet about it. Once they are in school however, I would have to say that being in the same room is wrong as I think they are more aware of things then babies and toddlers. However, if there are 2 separate tents, I see no problem with that at all. As it is no different if the kids were standing outside a locked bedroom door.

    I understand what you are saying Sheila about trying to make a family vacation focused on family, but I would still say if those feelings were to come up, then do your best to be discreet…showers are always fun when you are with your spouse :)

    • I agree! We should teach our children healthy views of sex in a marriage relationship. They do have so much media teaching them how to have sex in all the wrong ways. We need to step up and teach them how to have sex in the right ways!

  32. We travel with my husband for his work. We are usually home for 6 weeks all year. We usually stay in motels with our 3 kids (ages 14, 12, & 11) and 2 dogs. We have learned that the bathroom with the shower running is usually the best place for us to have “our time”. Also we have started getting adjoining rooms and that way we have our space and they have theirs.

  33. Heather says:

    We don’t go camping. πŸ˜‰ We also have never (in 11 married years) had a “couples vacation”, so every vacation is a family vacation. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love travelling with our kids. However, at the end of the day, when we put them to bed, it is our time to be together. (I realize this may change as they get older, then we may feel the need for a couples vacation!). Our “intimate time” is important for us, so we pretty much only stay in hotels that have separate bedrooms. It’s not that we don’t have self control, or that we aren’t focusing on the kids etc. It is just nice to have the option of privacy. I think the main thing is to discuss your expectations with your spouse and find the right vacation for your family.

  34. Our last vacation, I specifically booked places where we would have our own separate room within a larger suite.
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  35. Thank you Sheila for addressing this in spite of the comments you got. It really helped me a lot. I know I was one of the ladies that emailed you regards to this issue! I appreciate your candor and know what you mean.


  36. I read the post and had what I thought I would say, then I got totally caught up in reading comments. Apparently, the conversation somehow turned to (1) whether or not you can have sex with tweens/teens in the room; and (2) whether a spouse can/should go without sex for a week. I won’t get into the fray. I think Sheila did a good job handling those.

    What I was wondering was why anyone goes CAMPING for a vacation? The expectation to have sex constantly would be minimal for me compared to the expectation that I still COOK every day. How is that a getaway?!!! LOL.

    Actually, there is such a lovely gem in this post, and I don’t know if anyone else mentioned it (I started skimming comments after a while). If your spouse travels for work, see if you can go along sometime and make that a special couple time. Oftentimes, the hotel, transportation, and some other expenses are paid for by the company, so the cost is far less than it would be. The non-working spouse can relax or sightsee during the day, the couple can have date nights and “sexcapades” in the evenings/mornings, and the working spouse might get through the work better knowing what awaits him/her back at the hotel room.
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    • ButterflyWings says:

      I think the whole kids in the room was a misunderstanding. From how I read it, those who think vacations shouldn’t be sexless weren’t saying have sex with kids in the room – what they were saying is sex shouldn’t be skipped just because kids sleep in the same room. Lots of other cultures involve families where everyone sleeps in the same room at night, yet they don’t have sex in front of the kids. If you must share a room/tent, then the solution is either to have sex somewhere else (car, shower, whatever) or to shoo the kids away for half an hour or so. Or simply book two rooms, take two tents, whatever. Most camping sites (here anyway) charge per site, not by number of tents, and cabins are cheap and many camping sites have both cabins and tent sites and I know a lot of mums (me being one of them) would much rather have a real bed to sleep in at night, and you still get the same fun activities like canoeing, hiking etc, during the day.

      • Hi Butterfly Wings,

        Actually, we’re not allowed more than one sleeping tent or trailer on a campsite all throughout Canada. That’s just the way it is here!

        • ButterflyWings says:

          Wow that really sucks. Do they sell the tents there that have two separate areas inside? that’s what my parents used to have when we were growing up.

          • Yep, they do have those. The rules are that you can have one tent for “stuff” and one for sleeping, plus a dining tent. Or you can have one trailer plus a dining tent. But you can only have one thing for sleeping. A big tent is okay, but you can only have one.

        • Not sure where you’re camping, but any ontario provincial park will allow two tents on a site. We do it all the time.

          • Really? You’re certainly not allowed to at Bon Echo, or at Sandbanks, or at Charleston Lake. We’ve been told when we reserved. And at the paying campsites we’ve been to–Quinte’s Isles, etc.–it’s the same thing. One tent for sleeping, one for dining, one for stuff. It’s so that people don’t put a whole pile of people on a campsite, so I understood.

    • We camp because we do have five sons (10,12,16,19,24…my 19 is and will always be a perpetual 2 year old mentally), and hotels can be very expensive. I agree with you it really is no vacation, but a whole lot of work. But it can be a wonderful fun time with family too. The times (very few and far between) we did have a hotel room, it was a suite.
      I have been offended by some of the comments saying having sex in a trailer is WRONG! HARMFUL! SEXUAL ABUSE! etc.
      My husband and I are VERY discreet. At 3 am my kids are sound asleep! Lately, it is only my younger kids and my 19 year old camping with us. The sounds of the noisy air conditioner and the creek beside us, drown out all sounds.
      It is possible to have silent sex, too.
      My kids are happy their parents are still together after pornography nearly destroyed us.

  37. Delightful post that has me thinking! I once heard Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage speak. His family was staying in one small room with the kids on a cruise & by about day 4 he was downright desperate to be initimate with his wife. He told the following story with his wife’s permission: He racked his brain when he suddenly noticed the length of the ice cream line. He counted how many people were in line, and how long it was taking & by his calculations he had 20 minutes with which to accomplish his plan. He told his kids to stand in line and do not even think about getting out of the ice cream line, & that he was going to the room. He met his totally surprised wife and shall we way—mission accomplished!
    I know that a lot of good can occur the shower for married folks, too! πŸ˜‰
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    • Really? He left his kids in a public place alone with strangers just so he could have sex? What if one of them had wandered away? I think that is irresponsible. Just wait till you get home, people.

  38. I agree with your post, but while the idea of a couple vacation is nice, it is something many of us with small children can afford. We really can’t even afford a babysitter to go out to dinner, much less a weekend away.

  39. Christine says:

    We have camped at each of the campgrounds you mentioned with two or three sleeping tents plus a dining tent. Never had an issue at all. When you reserve your site on the website you just state the number of shelters you plan on having on the site .

    • Us too. I can’t find the link but our understanding was that the maximum number of people per site is 6 if those people are not all in the same immediate family (parents & kids). If it’s one set of parents with kids, the max doesn’t apply. They allow certain types of shelters on various sites depending on how big the sites are (some are tent only for example because they are small and impossible to get a trailer into.). Our kids are too young to be in a tent on their own, but we have shared a site with extended family and been ok with a small trailer and a tent.
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  40. van Rooinek says:

    LOL, we were actually camping when this thread ran, so I’m rather late to this thread.

    The bottom line is that a camping trip WITH the kids, is FOR the kids. It’s not about you. It’s about teaching the boys to hike and fish and tend a fire and sleep in a tent. Yes, my wife and I both wanted it during the trip, but, there just wasn’t an opportunity. We couldn’t sneak down to the beach in the dark, because we couldn’t leave the kids unattended… and, unlike 5sonz above, she *can’t* be quiet. So there was just NO WAY we were going for it, with our 3 kids right there (and about 50 other Scouts and American Heritage Girls within close earshot, LOL.)

    So we waited till we got home; how hard is that? Really? You waited till your wedding night to have sex, how hard can it be to put it on hold for a short camping trip? It’s NOT ABOUT YOU, it’s about the kids. And it’s not about the sin of sex-denial — we’re not talking about a wife (or husband) who refuses to put out for years on end — we’re talking about waiting a week or whatever. Grow up, people.

    By contrast, when we did want to get away for ourselves, for a night (anniversary), which could (and did) include sex, we left the kids at home with a trusted sitter, and got a hotel room. That WAS about us, and it was great.

  41. Letting your kids hear you have sex is like letting them hear porn.

    It amazes me that people who object to women in bikinis, or amorous tv shows, are willing to take the chance that their 8 year old will hear them have sex (or even worse, see something). The kid may not know what’s happening now, but he’ll figure out that mystery in a few years. It will not please him, and to pretend it will is just rationalization (“I want to do this now, so I’ll pretend it’s good for my kid.”)

    Modesty is not just criticizing young women. Modesty is keeping your kids from observing adult intimacy. If your child went a friend’s house and hear/saw the parents having sex, would you be OK with that?

    We cannot teach our kids self-disciplien and self-restraint unless we model it ourselves.

  42. agnostictheistgirl says:

    I have just read most of the posts and can’t help but wonder what sort of person would be turned on when children are in such close proximity? There is a time and a place for everything, if people (men or women) can’t be adult enough to show some self control while children are present asleep or not then maybe they should either take holidays alone or plan ahead and pay the extra money for a seperate room… and to those who say “they did it 100 years ago” well they did lots of things 100 years ago, because they didn’t know better, google what the medical procedures where, we are living in the present not 100 years ago so that aguement is invaild

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