Attachment Parenting, Sex, and Marriage

Attachment Parenting, Sex, and Marriage

Brian requested that I write a post about sex because it bugs him that the majority of society doesn’t understand “attachment parenting” and makes assumptions about the sex lives of the parents who practice attachment parenting.


When I starting writing this post, I questioned: Why would other people feel it is in their place to comment on other’s sex lives when they know nothing about it? I believe that the madonna-whore complex that we suffer from here in the West supports a negative impression that society has regarding attachment parenting and sex. For some reason, our society does not like to look at a woman as both sexually pleasing to her partner/husband and nurturing and loving to her child. A woman can be one or the other, not both.

As Mayim Bialik put it (I’m paraphrasing), “Attachment parents can have sex lives just as good or just as bad as the rest of the population.”

 That pretty much sums it up. It is completely individualized and has nothing to do with what style of parenting you practice.

Perhaps it is just that Brian and my sexual preferences sync, but our sex life is considered successful by American standards. The more important thing is we are both interested in having the same sexual experiences and the amount of sex we want during the week is almost always in alignment. I am fortunate because my parents stressed the importance of sex in a marriage at a very young age. My dad’s Valentine’s Day Letter to me offers this piece of advice:

Build intimacy – both sexually and emotionally – throughout your marriage

My sister also spoke a little more candidly to me about how intimacy is such an important part of a marriage. I believe the openness of my family and the fact that they never made the idea of sex secret or dirty was a contributing reason that I held so strongly to not becoming sexually active before I was ready, even with pressure from my peers and men. I was able to take hold of my sexuality as my own and understand it as only part of who I am. I also understood the importance of sex in life.

I did a little digging to see why most people who do not have any experience or understanding of attachment parenting or breastfeeding past infancy think our sex lives are lacking.

Yep, that is Brian in a (very small) shower. Finding visual aids to compliment the topic of this post ended up being a bit of a challenge.

What I found even surprised me… a little.

Co-sleeping: Oh goodness. People really believe that if you co-sleep with your child there is no place to have sex. To me, those kind of comments just reflect on how American’s sex lives might be lacking imagination. Are you only having sex in your bed? At night? If you and your partner are happy with that, then that is all that really matters. However, many other couples feel it is important for their sexual relationship to not limit intimacy to one specific area or room of a home.

Breastfeeding: This article was one of the top hits when I googled this topic. I had my husband read it and we were both laughing at this part:

 

 Are a woman’s breasts hers? Yes, of course. Are they sometimes for feeding babies? Yes, of course. But they’re also sexual and often an integral part of a couple’s sex life. Breastfeeding for five years can be a real issue; denying that isn’t particularly helpful.  – Jill Filipovic

I’d really like to know why breastfeeding for any length of time can be a “real issue” in a sex life? This woman clearly has no concept of breastfeeding past infancy (the small amount of milk produced, or the probably very infrequent and short nursing sessions).  Even the physical act of breastfeeding an infant shouldn’t interfere with a healthy couple’s sex life (hormone changes from pregnancy and breastfeeding may change a woman’s libido in the first few months after birth, but varies depending on the person and is an entirely separate issue).

Breastfeeding is separate from sex. Breasts are not sex organs, they are reproductive. That does not mean that breasts (like any other part of the body) can’t be found sexy or arousing during sex. Unless you are actually breastfeeding while having sex (I assuming pretty much 0% of the population is okay with this or would do it) then breastfeeding should not interfere with a healthy sex life. Period.

My husband cooking dinner- now that is sexy.




Babywearing: The comments about babywearing and marital intimacy bothered me the most. People assume if you wear your baby you never put your baby down and he or she becomes a nuisance and interferes with having sex.  I’m sorry, we need to stop denying that life changes when you have a child. Whether you wear your baby or keep your baby in a swing/carrier/moses basket…he or she still exists! By having a child you have now added a human being to your family! Yes, when a child is in infancy all areas of life are different, but that does not mean your sex life dies (as the media and our culture portrays it), or any other change will remain that way forever. It is healthy to acknowledge the change and even mourn the old life a bit, but we need all new families to know that sex will just require more creativity – it’s not just babywearing families that will experience changes in life. Yes, forever your life will be different, certain areas of your life will return to what you were accustomed and some parts of your life will IMPROVE now that you have added another family member into your home. As humans, we were created to adapt. Our society wants us to fear change, but we should adapt and embrace it. It is part of life.

The reasons our society assumes that attachment parenting and a sexual relationship can’t go hand-in-hand are based in complete ignorance, and possibly insecurities in their own lives. For all of us content with our sex lives, how many here would criticize someone else’s? I’m guessing probably none of us. That is because people don’t criticize benign lifestyle choices when they are content with their own choice/life. 
In the end, I think it’s important for our society to know that parenting and having a health sexual relationship can go hand in hand despite your parenting choices. I’ve come to the same conclusion I’ve come to with pretty much any aspect of life: If your family is thriving and you and your partner are happy then you’ve made the right choices and should ignore any criticism.



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70 comments

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  1. Meagan 1 August, 2012, 05:12

    Re- Co sleeping You know I really wouldn’t consider my sex life “sad” but you bet I prefer having sex in a bed to sex that results in rug burn, counter bruises, or shower slip injuries. I lik sex in bed thanks.

    Aside from comfort, there’s also a privacy issue (which at its heart is a comfort issue). I don’t want to have sex anywhere that my child can easily walk in on me. At least our bedroom has a door on it.

    I don’t doubt that people are able to have a healthy sex life while co-sleeping, but I assure you that it would kill mine, and it’s not because I suffer from lack of imagination or because my sex life is “sad.”

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 1 August, 2012, 08:23

      Maybe you should re-read this post again. This is in no way trying to pressure people into co-sleeping with their children or make people feel bad about their fulfilled sex lives. The point was people are writing about a topic they have not experience with (attachment parenting) and making assumptions based on their own lives. My goal for this post was to help people understand that “attachment parents” do indeed have healthy sex lives, and that it really is no one’s business to comment on a subject they have no experience with. I am using my own life as an example. If you and your partner are happy only having sex in your bed then that is all that matters (and I stated that multiple times in a post). A happy sex life is subjective. What I may be content with may be different than you, but the main point is that you and your spouse are content with you sex life together. I also wanted to point out in this post that by society’s standards many attachment parents are having what our culture would deem “exciting” or plentiful sex to help relieve the stereotypes about families that parent in a certain way.

      Reply this comment
    • Sam 1 August, 2012, 09:55

      We cosleep with our 21 month old… and we most often have sex in bed. The rocking keeps her asleep. Never once has she woken up while we were having sex. :P

      Reply this comment
      • April 3 August, 2012, 16:34

        I’m sorry, that is [moderated edit/explicit] WRONG!!!! I would NEVER in my life consider having sex with my child IN THE BED!!!!!!!

        Reply this comment
        • Jamie Lynne Author 12 August, 2012, 17:30

          Whether or not to have sex with an infant in the bed is at the parent’s own discretion and comfort level. A sleeping infant/newborn has no concept of what is happening next to them, however many parents are uncomfortable with the thought of a child being next to them during this time for various reasons (mood killer/own mental hangups about the idea/worrying about waking the baby) and that is okay, too. There is a difference between having a quick and quiet moment with your husband when you have a sleeping newborn you are afraid to move, and exposing an alert and older child to sexual situations. I never personally wanted to do it for various reasons that are unique to our family and my own relationship with my husband, but in no way do I think parents who do that are hurting their children when they are doing what has been mentioned above. Sometimes for a relationship a quick moment where a couple can find time to be romantic keeps a couple close during such a change as a new baby.

          Reply this comment
        • Katie 20 August, 2012, 11:33

          @april LOL how do you think your child got here in the first place?? And dont tell me you didnt make love when you were pregnant….we need to stop ostracizing something thats natural and normal. And human.

          Reply this comment
        • Scott aka This Daddy 20 September, 2012, 13:54

          First there is nothing wrong with having sex in the same bed that your infant child is sleeping in. The child is…wait for it….SLEEPING! Yeah dont have sex in the same bed if you are going to scream your head off. No difference than if your sleepy child stumbles across the house and walks in on you or close to that. My wife and I have had sex tons of times with the kid in the bed. Sometimes even some laughter comes out of those moments. Maybe you need to look at yourself and your comfort levels. If you cant do it, fine, but dont say its wrong.

          Reply this comment
          • Jamie Lynne Author 22 September, 2012, 12:12

            Scott I am so excited for your guest post!

        • Randie Sanders 31 December, 2012, 15:24

          LOL! What do you think they used to do back in the day when the whole family lived under one roof?!

          Reply this comment
          • Morganna 5 July, 2013, 14:09

            And even in one room homes! A bassinet that can roll to the hall or corner frees up the bed nicely. Little one would join us for nursing post sleep and we wouldn’t wake wake her coming to bed.

      • Nadia 28 September, 2013, 05:24

        We also have sex in our bed while our baby sleeps. It amusew me that people are shocked by that. lol

        Reply this comment
    • Kendall Hoover 1 August, 2012, 10:01

      Meagan,
      The other thing that might make you feel less attacked by this post is that there are other posts Jamie’s written that encourage you to only co-sleep if it’s right for your family. Many proponents of co-sleeping (like Dr. Jay Gordon — see his website) would also point this out. A huge theme for this blog is “if it’s right for your family”and as long as it remains “right for your family”. If you take a look at the last paragraph it specifically applies to you, too — if your family is thriving and you and your husband/partner are happy, then you’re on the right track!
      On the other hand, if you really want to co-sleep, you don’t have to let sex be the thing that keeps your family from doing it.

      Reply this comment
    • Josie 1 October, 2013, 19:29

      My current favorite place is our walk-in closet. Being surrounded by clothes provides excellent insulation! LOL

      Reply this comment
  2. ana {bluebirdkisses} 1 August, 2012, 06:57

    I have been following your blog for a while now. Shay did my web redesign as well so that’s how I came across your lovely blog. I love that you posted this piece. I think its really a little bit sad how society makes assumptions about things they don’t understand or ever took the time to learn.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 1 August, 2012, 08:27

      I know! I don’t understand why anyone would ever make assumptions about a topic they don’t understand or have no experience with. It would be like me writing a piece knocking people who play water polo. I’ve never played water polo- so I would never do that! Same logic!

      Reply this comment
  3. Jenn 1 August, 2012, 08:38

    Ugh, I’ve had so many comments in the past 5 years about co-sleeping and sex. Our 5 year old is still in the family room (I dont’ call it our room, my room, etc) and our 2 year old is still in bed with us. People act like we can’t have sex or we have a crappy marriage just because we’re AP. Hello, I’m pregnant with my third child, so obviously we have sex, there are plenty more areas in the house than the bedroom, and I find it more exciting elsewhere.

    Reply this comment
  4. Courtney 1 August, 2012, 08:40

    I have little patience for people that make assumptions at all. For instance, assuming this article was to suggest that someone else’s sex life is lacking…did you read the article? It said anything but that. I think as a culture, particularly moms, need to be much less sensitive to other’s opinions and just be happy with what makes them happy. I plan on being a co-sleeping (not in the bed but in the room), baby wearing, exclusive breast feeding, natural birthing mom…that doesn’t mean that I am judgmental of those who aren’t. I think education is key, if you do the research on ANYTHING and make a decision, then you’ve probably made the right one for you. Kudos for the post, sex is one of my favorite subjects. :) And thank you for being so open and honest about your life. I think you are a doing a superb job entertaining as well as educating us.

    Reply this comment
  5. Sara 1 August, 2012, 08:44

    This is the number one thing people ask me when they find out we cosleep, particularly past infancy. I can’t say that our sex life is always exactly as I’d like it to be, but it has nothing to do with cosleeping, breastfeeding, or babywearing! We have plenty of beds/showers/couches for sex. What gets in the way is the exhaustion from a long day at work/kiddo not falling asleep/etc that ANY family (attachment or otherwise) has to deal with.

    Reply this comment
  6. WhitMc 1 August, 2012, 09:05

    Amen! The contrast between being a “sexual” wife and a “nurturing” mom is challenging, for sure. And it’s not something that is every openly addressed. Transitioning from putting your child to bed (wherever they sleep) after a long day and turning around to a sink full of dishes and a floor covered in toys and being able to ignore the impulse to collapse on the couch in sweats and give in to the impulse to grab your partner (however small or fleeting the impluse may be) is HARD. But it’s necessary and worth it. Thanks for opening the door for the discussion.

    Reply this comment
  7. Candis 1 August, 2012, 09:11

    Two huge thumbs up!

    “That is because people don’t criticize benign lifestyle choices when they are content with their own choice/life.”

    Summed it right up there.

    “I’m sorry, we need to stop denying that life changes when you have a child. ”
    YES THANK YOU!

    You said it all and it is great. Thanks!

    Reply this comment
    • CTMama 12 December, 2012, 15:51

      I agree with this response. I am a sort-of AP mommy, but I am totally comfortable with my decisions, so I enjoy hearing about others opinions and experiences and hope that I may even learn something from them.

      I also agree with the tone of this post in saying that this is what works, but may not be for all. The real point here seems to be to not discount that co-sleeping/babywearing/BFing moms are capable of achieving happiness with their partner in their life as well as raising their children according to their beliefs.

      Reply this comment
  8. The Mommy Psychologist 1 August, 2012, 09:18

    [Self Promotion Edited Out By Comment Moderator]

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 1 August, 2012, 09:34

      I am only allowing this spam comment because I want to respond to this woman directly (I removed the links). I have seen this exact comment on every single article either about myself or the TIME cover and it’s gotten kind of old. Dr. Sears coined the term attachment parenting and the public has picked it up and used it. It’s like the term “extended breastfeeding” that is also misleading considering that there is nothing extended about it. People still use terms like “attachment parenting” and “extended breastfeeding” because those terms are more widely heard and used, not because we believe they are perfectly descriptive titles. This is also not a new style of parenting. It is more of a back to basics style of parenting. Please go research early foraging societies or primate parenting and weaning. Parenting in an “attachment parenting” style aligns with our biology and instincts, but in no way is anyone saying there are not other ways to bond or built healthy attachments with your child. We are saying this is a normal way to parent and should not be judged or stigmatized. We need to start relieving the guilt and realize there are many healthy ways to parent without bashing others healthy parenting choices.

      Reply this comment
  9. Michelle 1 August, 2012, 09:27

    Great post! It’s incredible how people make assumptions and criticize others’ lifestyles without understanding it. My husband and I don’t sleep in the same bed or room – we have different sleep habits and honestly just sleep better this way. I always get strange looks when I mention that to someone – like my marriage must be in trouble or something. I have a crib in the bedroom and often a 5 five year old in the bed (and two big dogs!). But we’ve got two kids and one on the way so that tells you someting about whether we have a sex life. I agree with Sara, there are plenty of reasons a couple with children might not have as active a sex life as they might want, and its not because of cosleeping or babywearing or nursing.

    Reply this comment
  10. Samantha 1 August, 2012, 09:42

    Thanks for this. This subject really gets me too. And, if anything, birth, breastfeeding, and AP have deepened our sexual intimacy– my husband was pretty floored after seeing what my body could do! This body gave him his daughter, and is building our second as we speak (while still nursing the first), and he recognizes how powerful and, yes, sexy that is.

    I don’t understand why people are so deeply offended by a post like this; no one is telling anyone their sex life isn’t good enough. That’s the whole point– don’t assume that because a woman (or man) is babywearing, she must never have a moment to spend alone with her partner!

    Reply this comment
    • Maureen 2 August, 2012, 09:49

      What a great post! I fear that many boys and men are being taught about women and sex through porn and have expectations that not only end up disappointing and angering them when they aren’t real but that leave them without the ability to truly embrace the full spectrum of the reproductive system. There is a beauty in the “full circle” of the experience and it is great to see that your husband is a real part of it instead of being a guy stuck on the outside wondering when the “perfect 10″ will return ready to satisfy his every want and need. (I have read so many truly SAD comments on the web from men who are mourning the “loss” of a sex kitten with big round breasts and other “porn” features or from women who are upset that having a baby ruined them for their men. There’s just no embracing the here and now and loving the beauty of our imperfect yet still amazing bodies. Wish more people thought like your and your hubby. You have a great attitude.)

      Reply this comment
  11. graceling 1 August, 2012, 09:43

    I don’t AP, but if it makes you happy and feels right for your family (which intrinsically includes meeting your/your SO’s sexual needs) then MORE POWER TO YA! I think happiness, fulfillment, and trust lead to a good sex life in marriage, whether the physical side is happening in your bedroom or not.

    As for breastfeeding and sex… well, I have personally not dated a man who would have been opposed to a little milky action for himself during a sexual encounter. I think most men actually find lactation arousing (at least when *they* are getting the milk). Maybe it’s because in the US breastmilk is considered a bit taboo and adds to the thrill/naughty factor of an intimate experience or maybe it’s something else but, well… my husband is happy that I plan to nurse for quite a while yet:)

    Now, where can I find some sexy nursing lingerie?

    PS: The hardest times in our sexual experience of marriage, FOR US, have been when we were not allowed to be intimate because of complications during pregnancy. I mean, not just intercourse, but anything that resulted in orgasm (which triggered heart palpitations and contractions). That didn’t mean that we prevented subsequent pregnancy or said to hell with biological kids! FOR US, we realized that the choice to have another child would include a cost to our sexual lives, and that was a cost we were willing to pay. I imagine some parenting choices or lifestyles involve a cost to intimacy, and if the couple feels that is a cost they are willing to pay for the sake of their children, WHO CARES? It’s their business, not ours!

    PPS- I’m very happy that I am not pregnant right now:)

    Reply this comment
  12. Lucy 1 August, 2012, 10:29

    I think that it’s interesting that we live in a society where if we share about our pets and how they sleep in our bed with us, no one even bats an eyelash. But, if we share that our own baby shares a bed with us, arms fly up in the air and you would think that a crime has been committed.

    I could actually find many reason as to why it is unsanitary to share a bed with a pet and how it could affect a couples sex life.

    Reply this comment
    • graceling 1 August, 2012, 12:28

      Great point!

      (And my cat does NOT share our bed. yuck!)

      Reply this comment
    • Maureen 2 August, 2012, 09:53

      Lucy, I think you’re right. Your comment made me think of our dog who is always stretched out on our bed between us, hogging everything. Then whenever we go near each other, she comes right over and starts trying to get the attention or STARES at us like, “What do you think you’re doing on MY bed?” (You can’t say ANYTHING about pets, ever. Just say you don’t like dogs and you’re in for it. You can however say you hate kids and everyone just AGREES with you!)

      Reply this comment
      • Minitrol 29 December, 2012, 10:28

        Sooo true Maureen! The number of people who get in arms about a child in a cafe but wouldn’t take two minutes to opick up their dogs mess at a playground.

        Sorry bit off topic!

        Reply this comment
  13. Hannah 1 August, 2012, 12:02

    The Big Book of Sex has a hysterical drawing of sex and breastfeeding at the same time…

    Reply this comment
  14. Kirbie 1 August, 2012, 16:39

    Ok, first of all…my mother and father had 6 children. They slept with each and every one us; the only one that was planned was the oldest child. The rest all happened because they HAD sex. Even while co-sleeping…oooo, so mysterious how they could have done that with a baby near. Hmm, could be that sleeping babes sleep and do not care what the heck mom and dad are doing next to them (if you stay in the bed to have sex). Second of all we were all born very close to the one before us (my oldest brother and sister are 1 year and 9 days apart), so they did not wait until we moved out of the bed to have sex again…co-sleeping does not mean no sex. People love to comment and criticize what they do not know/understand or what they are fearful of. I co-sleep and will practice extended breastfeeding if my son wants and my husband LOVES co-sleeping with our son. He works out-of-town often and this is precious time with his son that he would otherwise miss if we had him sleeping in a different room…no thanks, life is too short to miss!

    Reply this comment
  15. Mama Pants 1 August, 2012, 19:30

    I love this so much. My husband and I have our second child because of creative sex ;) Had we not tip toed out of the bedroom to leave a sleeping child in our bed and had an adventure on the couch (and a few other places ;) ) that became a true comedy of sex errors, well…she wouldn’t be here lol So I credit bed sharing when I think about how our last baby came to be :D

    I also want to give a “Right on!” to Michelle. People always look like they feel sorry for me when they find out the my husband sleeps in a separate bed! Our son in a VERY active sleeper and when the new baby came, my husband moved into his new bedroom with him (we didn’t feel safe with the active sleeping toddler and a newborn in bed together). At the same time, we weren’t going to send our 2 year old off on his own when he’d been sleeping next to warm bodies his whole life. So it was decided that my husband would make the move with him. It works. Yeah we sleep in seprate bedrooms. No need to feel sorry for us. We are happy. We WANT to be doing it this way. So why would anybody care? So weird.

    Anyhoo….great post Jamie Lynne!

    Reply this comment
    • Yvette 1 August, 2012, 21:38

      I am in the same boat mama pants! I am writing this on my Ipad in my king bed with my 3 children ages 5, 3 and 9 months sound asleep beside me. And yes my husband is in the kids room sleeping. This happens 70% of the time. The othe 30% it’s just the baby with us. This works for us and we too have plenty of sex, love, sharing and happiness as a couple. We love the way our home works, even though most people role their eyes and assume that our marriage is doomed.

      Reply this comment
  16. bernardeena 1 August, 2012, 23:43

    Has attachment parenting changed my sex life? Yes. However is it the attachment side or just the parenting? And sometimes things do have to change for a season, but that doesn’t necessairly mean there is a problem, become a parent changes everything. 8am snuggles are out when you have a 1 yo and a 3 yo who get up at 6am! That is nothing to do with attachment, just having children. However like you say it is so important to maintain that side of a relationship no matter how you parent.

    The one thing I would say though is that breastfeeding can cause issues with sex, not in a relationship way, but in a hormones and pain way. I ended up with 2 Csections so I was surprised by the pain and discomfort that I had never ever had before. Both times this pain stopped exactly when my cycles restarted, at 9 and 18 months. I am still breastfeeding and the pain is not there now my hormones have settled, but actually breastfeeding has caused an issue. It is to do with low levels of Oestrogen while feeding and it doesn’t affect everyone, but it did affect me. Yes you can work round the problem, but there is no denying it is an issue and we had to be very gentle because of it.

    Reply this comment
    • Larissa 2 August, 2012, 09:20

      So what if attachment parenting affects sex life? What does not? Work, school, pregnancy, friends etc. all do. I guess it’s only a big deal when it’s attachment parenting. Everyone does what works best for them, and everyone figures out their personal balance.

      Reply this comment
  17. Sarah 2 August, 2012, 09:29

    Our son is 4 weeks old. We co-sleep both with him in our bed and sometimes with him in a crib that sits flush against the bed (so he’s only about 18 inches from me). We also exclusively breastfeed, and his birth was a vaginal delivery.

    The postpartum healing honestly gets in the way of sex way more than our son does. Up until the day he was born, we had sex every day. Sometimes, due to extenuating circumstances, we’d miss a day, but we only missed maybe 3 days in 2012 before the birth (so I was very pregnant for a lot of that!). Not having sex on a very regular basis bothers me a lot. Since our son was born, we do mess around every day, but we’re avoiding intercourse because I don’t know if my tear is completely healed yet. Sometimes he starts fussing in his crib and we interrupt what we’re doing to comfort him. Once he’s asleep and calm again, we resume.

    The only limitations I’m feeling on sex now that he’s here are:
    1) No sex in the shower anymore. The logistics of watching over him while he’s sleeping when we’re both that occupied are a little bit daunting at this stage.
    2) I have to leave my nursing bra on. For NOW, anyway. I tried having it off and we both got covered in milk, and the bed, and the floor all the way to the bath tub. It was sticky and gross.

    Sex definitely doesn’t have to only be at night. I know most people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps (definitely do that), but I’d like to add “with your partner” somewhere in there.

    Reply this comment
  18. Dots 2 August, 2012, 10:49

    It really sounds to me like a lot of the people who read this blog or at least comment on it have bad sex lives, and need some kind of excuse other than it’s their own fault. Blaming your children, their sleeping pattern or yours for how bad your sex life is only means you don’t want to accept, adapt, or there is something else wrong. Everyone is different, something is good for someone but not everyone, try what works best for you and do that. Most importantly keep having good sex!

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 2 August, 2012, 11:28

      It isn’t for us to decide who has a good sex life, it is up to the couple. If someone is venting on here some frustrations about how their sex life isn’t up to par (for their relationship), I think that is healthy. We need to support each other and help encourage women through maybe giving advice through our own experiences. We are here to help each other. Having a new baby can be overwhelming for some people and sometimes sex and other areas of life do suffer, it is important that we open up the dialogue and help address these issues with new moms. However, my main point was “attachment parenting” in itself does not make for a bad sex life.

      And I completely agree with the last half of your comment! We need to keep having good sex!

      Reply this comment
    • Larissa 2 August, 2012, 12:43

      dots,

      I think the comments about bad sex lives and your comments are making the same main point. Attachment parenting is as bad for parents’ sex life as several other important things are: having kids, stress, work, school, pregnancy, household chores, etc. Many people who have issues balancing these other things and their sex lives will also have issues balancing attachment parenting and their sex lives. This is not necessarily because something is wrong. Many people (or at least many people I know) cannot balance everything at once. People get to choose what works for them. There is no magic formula and like with other areas of life, people tend to make adjustments as they feel fit.

      For example, I attended school in a city an 8 hour drive away from my husband’s job, and he couldn’t move with me because we needed his salary. Of course it affected my sex life while I was away, but for my family, my attending that particular school was the right decision. If some readers have schedules that work best for them but their sex lives suffer some, I do not think it’s a big deal if they are comfortable with and aware of the situation. Once they are not, they will make adjustments.

      Reply this comment
  19. Katie 3 August, 2012, 07:42

    Thank you, not only for this post, but all the posts of yours I have been reading where you not only open up the doors to the “taboo” topic of AP, but write so open minded! I never considered my parenting believes to be AP (To be honest I had never reall heard much about it before Times article) but after reading up on it, I suppose I am. I believe in babywearing and breastfeeding as well as the overall “message”, which is HARD where I live where the majority of babies I know are formula fed,

    Reply this comment
  20. Katie 3 August, 2012, 07:44

    whoops- didnt mean to publish! Sorry…

    My point… it is hard enough being a mother and I wish the “Mommy Wars” would end. Being a good mother means always wanting the best for your baby, regardless of what you think that is. Thank you for sharing, teaching and not judging!!!

    Reply this comment
  21. kristin fleck 7 August, 2012, 19:26

    oh sure, post pictures of that handsome hubs of yours with no shirt on. Fiiiiiine. :) :)

    can you tell i’ve been away from my usual blogs for a few weeks? I’m catching up! Expect more comments haha!

    Reply this comment
  22. Pauline 13 September, 2012, 08:28

    Gosh, how many time did I heard from friends & family back in my country that it waaaaay past the time I should put my daughter in her own bed because:
    1- She past 6 months old and it will be good for her to have her own space
    2- I can get my bed and privacy back
    I’m always laughing and answering them that:
    First, my daughter never complain about a lack of space in our family bed (she’s using 60% of the bed space so I think she’s fine and happy with it) and I am not ready not to sleep with her anymore (because it would be traumatic for ME and my boyfriend not to have her close to us anymore). As long as we are happy like this, why changing??
    And second, thanks for caring about my sex life but we are doing FINE!!! There are soooooooooo many other places than in bed and moments than at night to be intimate!

    So they might feel sorry for me and my sex life but I feel more sorry for them and their lack of imagination! (says a very happy and contented first time new mom) :)

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  23. Tiana 23 September, 2012, 21:21

    I actually have to disagree, I think breastfeeding and attachment parenting has negatively effected our sex life. Whilst breastfeeding many women have a delayed return of their cycle. Hormonally speaking no cycle, no ovulation, no ovulation generally means low/er sex drive. My drive didn’t come back until I weaned my first child at almost 2, which consequently meant I fell pregnant with our 2nd within a matter of weeks.

    The part of attachment parenting that I struggle with is meeting my children’s need for touch and then still having enough left to meet my partners and my own needs. I get to the end of most days feeling very “touched out”, and I’m likely to snap at him if he comes too close. Both of my children have high sensory needs and I feel they need a lot of “touch input” to be happy confident little people, unfortunately I’m only one person and reach my limit.

    There is also sleep deprivation, I find it really challenging to get into the mood if I’m exhausted and simply want to go to bed. Seem’s to happen a LOT in the first 12-18 months with a new child.

    I don’t think the problem is with AP parenting and intimacy not being a happy combination, but with the expectation that a couple will resume a “normal” sex life or a sex life similar to the one pre-baby within the first few years of having a child. When you have a baby EVERYTHING changes, your hormones, your needs, your time, I think its unrealistic to think that within the first 2 years things will go back to what they “were”.

    I agree with the pervious poster who mentioned the porn culture, and also unrealistic expectations on women and mothers to have the same desire prior to having a baby.

    If your an attachment family with young children and are happy with your sex life then fantastic. If there is perhaps an imbalance in your drive within your family I also thing that’s normal too, it should be discussed and also remembering that it will change and evolve throughout your family journey.

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  24. Jackie 10 October, 2012, 15:27

    I recently found your site through a friend of a friend, and I have been on it not-stop ever since I discovered it! I was talking to my husband about this article yesterday, because have had to field off several questions from our friends about when we have “alone” time when our toddler sleeps with us.

    I watched that episdoe of Anderson where Mayim Bailik was on and I loved that this article referenced that also! Honestly I didn’t even know what attachment parenting was until I saw that episode and was like “hey, I do that too!” I’m frustrated by the fact that I let my family (mostly my mother) convince me to parent the way that they used to, by crying-it-out, spanking, and most importantly stopping breastfeeding (well, my son was born tongue-tied and it was a struggle to breastfeed him anyways). I struggle with a way to tell my mother that while I love her and respect her opinion, I do not wish to parent the same way that they did, but I have found comfort in reading your blog that I am not alone.

    That was a long way of saying thank you.. but I really do appreciate your wisdom and lovely wordsmanship. :)

    Reply this comment
  25. Carolyn 9 November, 2012, 16:52

    Oh my goddess you are so right! I never though about the madonna/whore thing in relation to this topic but you are bang on. People can’t conceive that I can be a mother and a lover at the same time. My hubby and I have been bedsharing with our children for 7 years. If anything, our sex life is more fun because we have sex when and where we can…fun! I don’t know why people think that sex only happens in your bed at night…how boring!

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  26. Amelia 30 November, 2012, 14:54

    Sometimes I am just blown away by how insightful and mature your perspective is. I can’t believe you can come to all this at such a young age. I am not much older than you so I am especially in awe of your wisdom. I especially love this line: “That is because people don’t criticize benign lifestyle choices when they are content with their own choice/life.” — you are so right. Whenever I feel myself getting critical or envious of someone, I remind myself of this and then try to figure out how to improve whatever component of my own life I’m not feeling satisfied with.

    Reply this comment
  27. Sara 22 December, 2012, 11:59

    I realize this is an older post, but am hoping I can still pick your brain and/or get a little advice. I realize I’m putting myself out there to be flamed (meh) and I fear my skin may not be as thick as yours, but oh well! It’s my kid and my life:). My son is… 5. He still sleeps with us. It’s important to me that he stay where he can get the proper amount of GOOD sleep and, as it turns out, that’s not in the bedroom we’ve made for him yet. I guess I sort of feel the need to defend our choice, which I realize is silly… But it is what it is!

    The problem that my husband and I are facing is that our son is scared. We can’t figure out why or how to alleviate his fears enough to convince him he’s safe in his own bed, or, really even OUR bed unless we are in it with him. Is my problem becoming more obvious?! Sure, we could be intimate elsewhere, but never without me fearing he might wake & realize he’s alone and come looking for his (now probably naked!) mama. I have a hard enough time quieting my brain enough to be fully present with my husband (a total OTHER issue I realize and have taken steps to “fix”) as is, but add in the worry of being caught and, well… It’s not very fun for either of us. Other times in the day when we could try, we aren’t alone… My husband works early in the am and then gets home at the same time as the bus. This is placing a stress on our marriage that is so sad to me, but really should be easily fixed… I just can’t figure out how! Sorry for being longwinded… Hopefully someone can offer some good advice that can help us, though! Again, FOR MY FAMILY, “kicking him out of the bed” isn’t an option right now. Thanks for hearing me out;)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 26 December, 2012, 23:00

      Hey Sara! I wrote a post to address this. I am afraid I’m not much help in this department, but there are many other mothers I’m asking to chime in!

      Reply this comment
  28. Sarah 28 December, 2012, 22:40

    Wow this has a lot of views and responses. Seems we all are interested in others sex lives! Ha ha
    Anyway, lately my hubby and I have been trying to parent a little differently. Our kids love to sleep in with us but it’s not comfortable, and no I will not have sex with anyone else in the room and yes I like my comfy bed for this. I had been wanting to ask a co sleeping parent how this all works. How can we have it all and loose nothing?!
    Well our current thred of idea is that we will move our kids beds into our bedroom and transform their old room into my husbands office with a pull out couch. Yup probably far too much info but this is our compromise.
    And you never know where a fun escapade may arise when you do think outside the box. The bedroom closet takes – coming out of the closet to a whole new level of meaning!! Lol
    I think people should lighten up. Sex is just a physical act. It’s not Something to freak out about.
    Thanks for the great post. Made me giggle.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 28 December, 2012, 23:01

      Hey Sarah,

      Hah, I love this! Thank you for sharing. Definitely not TMI over here. Your ideas will help inspire other parents.

      Reply this comment
    • christina 29 December, 2012, 05:20

      We actually did exactly this about eight months ago and have totally loved it!

      Reply this comment
  29. Cynthia 28 December, 2012, 22:41

    I’m so happy I have found your blog you happen to touch on all the issues that everyone else is scared to touch base on, I agree with just about everything you posted love hosw insightful you are!

    Reply this comment
  30. Toya 29 December, 2012, 05:30

    Great article. I appreciate the positive outlook on having a great sex life while attachment parenting, but after giving birth to my daughter I started to question how natural it really is to sustain an active sex life while caring for a new child. I questioned this because:
    1. Prolactin and progestrone are high during breastfeeding and estrogen is low. This interesting combination of hormones suppresses ovulation for many women and keeps libido as low as it can go OH and not to mention keeps you dry as a desert in the places that matter.
    2. When you exclusively breastfeed, on demand all day and night how do you find the energy to dig up a great place for sex? When you do manage to get a free moment, typically one is feeling all touched out.

    While I appreciate the optimism that this article conveys, I’m waiting for women to really have some real talk about how they are feeling about sex while caring for an infant child. This is the part that all parenting/breastfeeding books conveniently omit. I certainly was hoping that a spare woman would magically appear to provide the sexual experiences that I was too dry and touched out to even think about. Just being honest :)

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  31. Brianna 29 December, 2012, 06:54

    You know what I’ve found since I started following your blog? I am much more confident in the way my partner and I parent. :) This post is fantastic, and I may just print it out and share it with family and friends. Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone. I get it. We don’t even co-sleep much anymore, but not because there is anything wrong with it, just because our circumstances make it easier for us to limit co-sleeping at this time. When my little ones nursed, it was the only way anyone got any sleep. Everyone had this assumption that we couldn’t possibly find time for intimacy, and also made comments about how dependent on me our nurslings were. Well… duh. Right? Isn’t that how newborns survive, dependency on their parents, to love and nurture them? Whether they co-sleep or not, bottle feed, formula or breastfeed, travel in a sling or a stroller, they are still 100% dependent on mom, dad or another caretaker. I wonder why we try so hard to build families with children if the idea is that as soon as they leave the womb they should be independent of the parental unit, as opposed to joining and adding to the bigger “family unit.” Thank you, for always being so candid! :)

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  32. Kira 11 January, 2013, 10:28

    I love this blog post. My husband and I have been talking about this for a while, and the post was just what we needed to settle some things.

    Hubby and I actually sleep in different beds (same room), and partly because I co-sleep with our youngest (but also because I’m a horrid blanket/bed/pillow hog when I sleep with him. it’s all MIIIIINE :D). In all actuality, this works really well for us because once our daughter is asleep, I get out of the shared bed and go crawl into his, where we do our thing, snuggle, or just talk quietly. It’s nice. If I choose to, I can stay and fall asleep with him in the bed for a bit, but I’m there if my daughter needs to nurse in the night, too, and I don’t have to stumble to a different room to get to her. Always, I end up back in my bed before morning. But we’ve got a system that works for US. What works for us would be unthinkable to some others (having sex with baby in the next bed/same room, for instance). But then, what works for someone else may very well be unthinkable to us. *shrug*

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  33. KRSS 8 March, 2013, 08:20

    Thanks so much for this. It is odd how people assume everyone’s experiences, including their sex lives, must somehow to similar enough to theirs for them to make judgement. Funny thing though, I’ve had sex on numerous occasions while breastfeeding the child. It is what happens when the baby wakes up while you are in the middle of being intimate. You do what works. I really don’t find anything strange about it so you were wrong about that 0%. See, everyone makes assumptions ;D

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  34. no name, lol! 27 September, 2013, 21:57

    Do people really think it’s not OK to breastfeed while having sex? I know we’ve done it in a pinch. There are positions that make doing both at the same time possible. Baby doesn’t know the difference and sometimes that’s the only way we can get that physical connection.

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  35. Heather 28 September, 2013, 00:17

    My biggest annoyance is people not being able to wrap their head around breasts being functional & sexual. Its always one or the other, never both. Breast can NOT be sexual if they’re lactating. Umm…you know that thing you sit on? News flash – you poop out of it (probably the least attractive bodily function we have!). And somehow, people have no problem seeing it as a sexual object. “Sorry hubs….I pooped today. Hands off.”

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  36. Kristin 1 October, 2013, 12:31

    Brava to this author! Well done. I have received so many unsolicited comments about this issue, and I always think these must be the most unimaginative people in the world. I think you are also spot on with the Madonna-whore complex of the west. Excellent article. Thank you!

    Reply this comment
  37. Ruth F 1 October, 2013, 12:47

    Lack of libido while breastfeeding is completely normal. It has a lot to do with hormones. Good for those women who can compartmentalize but as a nursing mother I for one am not interested in my breast serving any sort of sexual function right now . They were a big part of our sex life before nursing and can be again after but not during. I simply cannot associate them with both. It feels wrong and frankly gross to me. As per having sex in the same bed as your child whether they are aware of it or not I also cannot see. I don’t want to associate my child with intercourse past the obvious ” that’s how they got here.” I couldn’t look at my child while experiencing sexual pleasure, It would feel very wrong.

    Reply this comment
  38. B 1 October, 2013, 13:03

    Not gonna lie, I remember the nights that my partner and I spent trying to have sex, and my son NEVER sleeping long enough for us to. It became a total frustration, sexually and emotionally- as our intimacy was very limited, and we both had ideals of what things would be like with our sex-life after our son was born. Call me crazy, but I actually DID breastfeed my son during sex on the odd occasion (laying on my side and nursing him, my partner behind me).. I think it would have been weird if my son was older, and still breastfeeding (he is 18 months now, and has just stopped nursing on his own), but in his infancy- it really was the only way for us to enjoy our time together. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have happened at all. Haha. I don’t disagree that its odd, but I definitely don’t see much difference in having sex with your child in the bed regardless. You know? Just a thought. It worked for us until he would nurse to sleep, (wouldn’t stay asleep, but whatever). Maybe we were just super impatient and unbelievably horny. Haha.

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  39. Laila 1 October, 2013, 16:23

    When you wait eleven years after marriage to be financially stable enough to even think about having a baby, many of those years living in a fluid roommate situation where privacy is a relative term, given thin walls and rental beds with squeaky springs while you spend your ski bum days either working, skiing, or climbing, (this was our life pre-baby), intimacy after baby has nothing on that! Before baby, there was sex in hotel rooms while we cleaned them, outside on apartment decks under piles of blankets at night at 9,500 feet while it snowed around us, in the shower if we could pull off the roommates thinking there was only one of us in the bathroom, in the five minutes all of the roommates were out of the house at the same time, in the laundromat bathroom, in hot springs, and, yes, in neighborhood hot tubs that we in no way had permission to be in. (We were young and dumb.) After becoming bona fide sex ninjas, we have a baby who now shares our bed. No big deal. But then, I’m beginning to suspect we may be a bit less inhibited than the general population. And I guess we may be part of the 0%- it’s only happened twice, but the baby was crying and mama said “keep doing whatever you are doing down there, Daddy. We’ll be breastfeeding up here.” So the baby got a little extra dose of oxytocin and serotonin that day. And then she fell asleep, went back to her half of the bed, and Daddy got Mama’s full attention under the covers again. Seriously, apparently people text, conduct important state business, and drive during loosely defined sex…how is this different? The child will never know. Unless you tell them. In which case, they will be thoroughly freaked out. Because every child knows their parents never have sex.
    On a side note, as an adult child of a bedsharing, breastfeeding family, I have certainly lived my life under the optimistic assumption that my parents only had sex once, until, now that I am in my 30′s, they suddenly think it ok to talk about their sex life, which is apparently still as active as ever, in front of me. :-/ I was probably four or five when my parents decided I could no longer see my dad naked. My mom never decided that I couldn’t see her, I just decided i didn’t want us to see each other naked anymore as I became independent and possessive of my own body. And along with that, came my reluctance to join them in their bed. Unless the monster under the bed became very, very real. In which case, I stood on the bed, jumped as far away from it as possible, landed by the bedroom door with my ankles just beyond it’s reach, and ran down the hall to their room before it had a chance to grab me. I’m so glad I didn’t have to become a monster attack statistic just because my parents valued their privacy more than they wanted me to feel safe.

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  40. nakedmama 2 October, 2013, 12:03

    I love hearing all about how great all your sex lives are. I am pretty much enormously jealous though. I suffer from Vaginismus which is when your pelvic muscles contract, making penetration impossible. It’s devastating. It took 9months of marriage before we managed to have sex. (I waited till marriage) We somehow managed to get pregnant (very functional and painful) and since then have only managed to have sex once. It’s so upsetting. We are seeking treatment for it although there’s not much out there. We co-sleep and I bfeed our 20month old who sleeps very badly, waking many times a night, and I am constantly shattered. I dream of being able to sneak off to the spare room/shower (I can’t even imagine how one has sex in the shower?! And that makes me very sad). My hub and I love each other very much and feel very alone in this and hope one day to have more kids/have a normal sex life. I’m not even sure what I am trying to say, except sex isn’t all of a marriage, it is possible to have a good marriage without it, although of course with it, ours would be even better. The lady who said she had sex every day….errrrm what? amazing, but so not anything i can relate to. I do hope one day to join the leagues of women who can have sex as and when they want to.

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