Co-Sleeping and Intimacy

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I remember bringing my eldest daughter home from the hospital and feeling unsure about what our future would look like or what my parenting style would be. Co-sleeping just happened naturally for us. She had colic and struggled with sleep and keeping anything down. She seemed the most content in my arms and, truthfully, that’s where I felt she was the safest. 

Co-sleeping is a hot subject — most people seem to either agree or disagree. That is something I quickly learned. It almost came with a side of shame. And the number one reaction I get when I tell people that my husband and I co-sleep with our children? “How do you have sex?”  

Almost everyone assumes our sex life must be non-existent. Boy are they wrong. 

So, what happens to the intimacy shared between you and your partner when you co-sleep with little ones? 

Well, intimacy evolves like we do when we transition into parenthood. We found different ways to show one another interest, love, and desire. As our family has grown, even our co-sleeping has changed. We have had all seven of us in one California king size bed! But now, most nights it’s just four of us — my two youngest, my husband, and me. (Although I still dream about those family-size beds!)  

As a mom of five, co-sleeping doesn’t impact my sexual life negatively — it makes it more creative. Now, we can’t be picky about the time or the place — once we have a free moment, we just go for it. (Try it — your relationship will thank you. Maybe TMI, but it’s reality, and what is really TMI in motherhood?) Sex doesn’t have to happen in the bedroom, which is so often why people don’t understand co-sleeping. 

Intimacy looks different to me than it did a decade ago. I used to truly treasure sleeping in my husband’s arms and just decompressing after a long day. There’s something so loving about physically feeling and touching someone that you can’t replace. Over the years, that has changed. Sometimes all it takes is a small touch, holding hands in bed while the girls sleep, showering together once a week, or even just having him hug me randomly while I do the dishes.  

I look forward to those small interactions. Those long looks or that quick smile that lets me know he still sees me.  

Sometimes I feel that co-sleeping has made our bond stronger. He’s been there with every baby cry, every late-night poop explosion, every big kid night terror.  

Motherhood has changed my view of intimacy. Sexually, everything changed for us as well — not for worse, but for better. Co-sleeping doesn’t mean I no longer prioritize my marriage. It means I now cherish the small moments and now purposefully prioritize certain things that will keep our relationship strong and connected. We recently celebrated 18 years of marriage, and I couldn’t be happier.

Intimacy looks different for every couple — together you decide what that picture looks like.

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