Summer is a time for family vacations. But can family vacations and sex go together?
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.
So 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!
And if you have any tips for family vacations, leave them in the comments!
Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!
Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.