Recently I found myself in a conversation at playgroup that astounded me with how normal it should be, but how oddly taboo it was.
It was about married and committed couples sleeping in separate bedrooms.
So, let me introduce myself. I am a 39-year-old mother of two. My boys are six and 20 months, and my husband and I have been married 12 years, together for 17 years. And we sleep in separate bedrooms.
Side note: Here's exactly how long you should be napping for. Post continues below.
We do this for a number of reasons, which I’ll get into later, but back to the playgroup conversation.
One of the lovely Mums in the group I was with said something, accidentally, that indicated that she and her husband had begun sleeping in separate bedrooms.
She was mortified and ashamed that she’d let this slip. She didn’t want anyone to know, she was so worried about what people would think.
I don’t know her very well yet, but like her a lot and feel we are on a path to becoming friends, so I happily piped up and shared that my husband and I sleep in separate rooms because of health reasons and different sleep needs (and cheekily added, "But you know, we still have sex, occasionally.")
Everyone laughed, because another taboo truth that is rarely discussed is that when you’re married with small children it can be hard to find the time, space or inclination to have sex very often.
From my observation, this is not about denial by one partner, or a reduction in love or attraction, but a conglomeration of factors that range from women recovering from birth injuries, to living on different schedules due to work and childcare, to rarely finding the time or energy, to losing sexual intimacy for stretches of time due to the intensity of parenting, to being so bloody exhausted that you both choose an extra 30 minutes of sleep over 30 minutes of loving.