Sex in the same bed as a sleeping baby is far from child abuse
The Daily Mail have printed yet another horror story. This time it involves sex, parents and children too. Any headline containing these three subjects might sound sinister, but this one is not. “A third of Swedish mothers admit to having sex while their babies are in the SAME bed” read the headline.
The SAME bed? The Mail put chose to use caps, just in case readers were in any doubt that the findings of the survey, which was conducted in Sweden, weren’t shocking enough. The SAME seems to denote that there should always be another bed for a small child, at a safe distance from his or her parents going at it hammer and tongs.
Judging by the reaction of some of the people who commented on the piece, you’d have thought that the children in bed next to their parents were being subjected to pure evil. Yet the reality is of a couple, with a small baby sleeping in their room, taking the opportunity to do something pleasurable with one another.
The survey, published in Swedish magazine Mama, put many questions to mothers, but it seems the response to this particular point has sparked debate: cue an item on ITV’s This Morning, where a journalist, sitting on the sofa next to a mother who said that she’d had sex with her husband while their small child slept next to them, said what she was doing was “verging on child abuse”.
That some parents have sex in the same bed as their sleeping baby is certainly not worthy of the abuse tag. Parents don’t actively choose to drag their child into bed with them upon the initiation of sex. It is simply a matter of convenience.
It is very common for parents to share the bed with their small children, if not all then for some of the time. Co-sleeping is a choice for some. For me, it was pure laziness. In the early days, my babies woke a lot and I found it quite boring hopping to and from the cot and the bed.
For sex with as little disruption as possible, parents may choose to leave their child sleeping in the bed while they have a quickie. It’s not as if the children in question are horrified teens subjected to watching their mum and dad engaging in S&M.
It may be news to some, but Swedish or not, most new parents have the urge to have sex too. This should surely be encouraged and celebrated: life as a parent – I have three myself – can be tough and unrewarding.
The chaos that often accompanies life with young children calls for experiences that are both pleasurable and hassle free for frazzled parents. At the end of an exhausting day, sex, like a glass of wine can be just the tonic.
If that happens to be in close proximity to a sleeping baby, who, after two hours of colic-reducing tummy-rubs and lullabies, finally closes their eyes, then I say go for it. And in the past, I have. Who would see it as wise to move a comfortably sleeping baby?
The people who have the problem about this are old enough to know how babies are made, and some wax lyrical about how healthy it is for parents’ to continue to have sex after children arrive. But that doesn’t stop them from judging how or where others choose to conduct it.
Luckily consenting adults have the choice to decide when, where, how and with whom they have sex: but the criticism from strangers will always be rife because parenting is not something one does anymore. It’s a full-time job.
It might as well come with a monthly appraisal and a performance based salary, dropped down from the big parenting cheeses in the sky that seem to know everything about breastfeeding, education choices, the correct way to wean a child and the monitoring of acceptable ‘media’ time.
God help any parent who decides to do most things by instinct. If they fall at any hurdle they will be berated, chastised and strung up by a herd of ‘do-gooders’ who know about the ‘right’ way to raise a child or else stigmatized as a ‘child abuser’.
But back to sex and kids. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, “fucking is how babies are made” – and let us not forget. It’s not all about love and doing it in the perfect setting. Sex is supposed to be fun after all. I think it’s pretty darn good if parents both want it at the same time, and manage to seize their window of opportunity.
Far from being akin to abuse, the thought of parents still having fairly regular sex is a feat in itself. Gone is the initial romance, gone the spontaneity that is taken for granted when children don’t exist.
But sex should remain. It is good for you, mostly takes place in the home and is free. Perfect for parents, and in turn the children will hopefully appreciate the love between them.Tagged in: child abuse, Co-sleeping, mama magazine, parenting, sex, swedish survey, this morning
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