Advice From A Sexpert: Making Time For Intimacy

On this episode of Dr. Emily Porter’s, AKA the Austin Love Doctor™, podcast, she answers a question from a listener.Keep reading for the complete transcript of the episode about making time for intimacy below, and learn how to use something as common as “Spaghetti Night” as a cue to get intimate with your partner.

Episode 2 “Spaghetti Night” – Making Time For Intimacy

“Today’s question comes from Lance in Utah. He has a couple of kids at home, loves his wife, but wants to know about making time for intimacy, and that’s a good question. People talk about date night, but how many people make time for a date night, and why is it important?

[My husband and I] have four kids, and our kids are six, five, three, and two. One time, we thought it would be a good idea to lock the door and do an afternoon delight situation, and we had done that before. The kids are supposed to be sleeping. They were still young enough to have comfortable naps and the older kids could play and I asked my husband if the kids were sleeping because I’d been out and come home, and he said, yeah, they are. The boys are in their cribs, well, that’s good, they weren’t crawling out of their cribs. The girls were upstairs playing, and I was assured that they were entertained and having fun and that we could make time for intimacy.

We joked like, we won’t make it take too long, anyways. It’ll be fine. To hedge my bets, I locked the door, and I did oral sex on my husband and then I climbed on top, woman on top, which is not probably our most tried-and-true method. It was a little off-the-cuff, changing it up a little bit all the way around.

All of a sudden my six-year-old girl and my five-year-old girl come in the room, and my six-year-old does not hide her emotions well. She goes, “Huh-h-h-h-h-h, what are you doing?” Just like that. You could hear the guilt right in it, and she’s in Catholic school: “What are you doing?”

My husband’s instinct was to scream, right? Like, “Get out of here, get out of here,” and she’s super emotional so she immediately burst into tears, and my five-year-old looks at me with these big eyes, and she didn’t say anything. She looks at you with these eyes, and then turns around and walks out the door, and follows her crying sister out the door.

I put my clothes on and my husband throws his boxers on and he starts folding some laundry, and I said, “Maggie, daddy’s sorry he yelled at you. He didn’t mean to yell at you,” and she goes, “What were you doing?” I said, “We were hugging, kissing, and loving on one another,” She says, “I know what you were doing. You were roughhousing.”

I don’t know where she heard the term “roughhousing.” All I can think about is what will happen at the Catholic kindergarten car line tomorrow. I said to my husband, “I was certain I locked the door.” Maggie hears this because she hears everything, children hear everything, so they hear your groans, it’s okay, they hear your fighting, they hear everything, and they process it.

She says, “You locked it. I got the key. It’s the same as the one for the pantry.” We lock our pantry because you know what happens when you have four kids and you don’t lock the pantry? You turn around to chop an onion, and you have four boxes of Kix cereal strewn all over your pantry, and now you have another goddamn mess, and you’re about to lose your shit because it’s seven o’clock at night and your kids are supposed to be in bed an hour ago, and you haven’t even cooked dinner. You lock the pantry. No judgment.

We lock the pantry, and she goes, “It’s the same key,” so she’d had to go get a step stool, climb up the step stool, get the key down from above the stove, and unlock our door to come in. They will find you. I recommend that you lock the door, so all I could think was I’m glad she walked in when I was on top and I could explain it was we were roughhousing because I’m not sure how I would have explained fellating my husband and having her walk in on that because that probably wouldn’t have been able to be explained with the term roughhousing. Anyway, lock the door, that’s rule number one for making time for intimacy.

Number 2 for making time for intimacy: Schedule it. That’s not a sexy answer and it’s not what you want to hear. If you’ve ever had fertility or tried to get pregnant, scheduling sex starts to become a chore, and I don’t mean it like that because if you make a chore out of it you won’t enjoy it. We’re not trying to, unless you have to time sex for fertility drugs or whatever, if you’re just having recreational fun-sex, it’s okay to schedule intimate time.

Schedule a date night at least twice a month, and when I say schedule it, I don’t mean schedule it in you brain, like, oh yeah, we should have a date night. Because you know what happens? It never happens because you don’t make it a priority. Again, it’s not sexy that making time for intimacy has to be on the calendar, and ours is literally on the calendar. We use Gmail so we have Google calendars, and his calendar’s in red, and my calendar’s in blue, and then we have a calendar. I’m Porter, he’s Morrissey, and then we have a “Pormore” calendar. We married our names, and it’s purple because red and blue together make purple, and that’s cute, and we have a calendar.

We added “date night” or “sex” to that calendar, which worked for making time for intimacy until my husband gave my father-in-law access to that calendar. We had to reign it in a little bit. But put it on the calendar and schedule a sitter because if you think about it on Wednesday night to make a date Friday night, then you have an excuse now to tab it not happening because now you have to call a sitter and you don’t have a sitter. Put it on the calendar.

We make our calendar a month ahead of time. He puts all of his ER shifts, I put all the times I’m working, we put any trips that we have, we schedule our nanny and, again if you don’t schedule it you can’t remember the last time it happened, and everyone goes, wow, I didn’t mean for it to be six months. How has it been six months since the last time we had sex? Because in your mind it hasn’t been that long.

I own a $400,000 laser. Why do I still have pubic hair? It’s because I keep thinking that I just got a laser hair treatment, and it hasn’t. It’s been four months and now you’ve got to start all over again because I didn’t schedule it. This year I got treatment and I just put every four weeks on my calendar and made myself an appointment to get my own treatment because that way I know that it happens. I’m sorry that doesn’t sound sexy, but that’s just the reality of it, and you can make making time for intimacy sexy.

The other thing is, you can’t be cheap because if you say, and I understand it’s okay to be strapped for money, but you have kids, they’re just expensive, and babysitters are expensive. Gone are the days where you paid a sitter $4 per an hour and came home to your laundry being done. In reality, you’ll pay a sitter $17 to $20 an hour. Their Instagram feed will be full and your dirty dishes will be in the sink. Get over it. Those are the times we live in and suck it up and realize that you’re going to have to spend a little bit more money when making time for intimacy, but it’s okay.

We have an apartment for professional reasons. It’s a quiet place where we can get work done without distractions. The apartment doesn’t even have a toilet brush. We have an air mattress, two chairs, La Croix in the fridge, a toothbrush, and some shampoo, and that’s it. If we add things like TV, we have distractions again.

I don’t believe in TVs in the bedroom. Somebody always told that TVs were for two things, sleeping and sex, and we keep ours, sorry not TVs, bedrooms are for two things, sleeping and sex. We follow that mantra. Not that you can’t watch porn or whatever, that if you have a TV it’s a bad thing, but don’t use TV as the reason to not be intimate with your partner because you need to watch the last five minutes of John Oliver. We do that in the living room, and then when we move into the bedroom, it’s business or sleep. Those two things.

Don’t be afraid to have a staycation and spend the money to ship your kids to grandma’s house. We have some friends who will do a swap with us, so when you have four kids it can be difficult to get anybody to want to do anything with you. We get so many eye rolls when we get on a plane, even. But we found these lovely people and they have two kids, and it started out we went on date night with them. It was like a double date night.

When people ask you to do things, say yes. Don’t make excuses. If you’re not out of town, say yes. If you stop saying yes, people will stop asking you. We went out with them and she said I have a handful of sitters, because our nanny was busy and I was like, I don’t know if we can, and she took the excuse out from me. Janine said, don’t worry, I get drunk and I pay these sitters so much money that I’ve got 20 sitters that I can get any time I want. We’ll get two sitters for our six kids together. She did. She got a husband and wife from across the street, and we went out.

We came home and it was probably one-thirty or two and our kids were all asleep and she just said, don’t wake them up. Get them tomorrow. Am I going to wake them all up and put them in the minivan? I asked, what time tomorrow? I’m thinking in my head, they’ll all be up at eight o’clock so I should be there at eight-thirty. She says, I’m going to work and Ted will be home, and he’ll make breakfast and come over.

I literally took them up on that offer. Do not turn down free childcare. Do not turn down somebody willing to watch your children so you can have sex with your spouse. That is a golden opportunity. We rolled in at noon and I texted Ted, asking what I could get him from Starbucks. He wanted a $12 coffee. He’s the cheapest babysitter I’ve ever had. These kids were changed, they’d all been fed bacon and pancakes which they wouldn’t have gotten in my house, it would have just been cereal, and no one was the wiser. My husband took advantage of me in every room in our house. It was great and fun.

Don’t be afraid to take people up on things, but you have to reciprocate, so it was okay. We have a relationship with them and he wanted to take his wife to Chicago for her birthday, and he said would you be able to come pick the kids up from the house, the nanny has the weekend off, and watch the kids for the weekend? I said absolutely, and even if it would have been hard for me. I would have had my nanny do it because when you find those gems, keep them close to you.

Have “spaghetti night!” for making time for intimacy. We had a nanny who told us that whenever they had spaghetti. you had to have sex with your partner. They had young kids at home, it was the same thing, and it was, what do kids like to eat? They like chicken nuggets and they like pizza and they like spaghetti and there’s five things that they’ll eat for dinner, right? Most people that have young kids have spaghetti probably once a week and the thought was that if you’re a meal planner and it’s on the menu then spaghetti night means sex.

You’ve got your little innuendo there, you can make jokes about it, but also if you’re not sure what to eat and you don’t have something planned that the other person has the opportunity to say how about spaghetti? That’s them saying they probably don’t give a shit about the actual spaghetti, if you haven’t caught on. They probably want to have sex with you, and you have to say yes because here’s what happens. If you don’t, you make excuses.

Most people don’t mean to stop having sex with their spouse, unless they have marital discord financial problems, their needs aren’t being met, they’re using sex as a weapon, or it hurts. People get busy. We get married and forget that most of us were married before we had children. We have our kids, and this is a generational problem. Our parents didn’t spend time with us the way we do with our kids, and run us around to a million different activities.

We exhaust ourselves, and I’ll be totally honest. My kids don’t do a whole lot. We sit around. Our TV babysits and we go on nature walks and they can still be entertained for two hours at a restaurant with some crayon and a piece of paper. We don’t let them play with our phones, so we make our kids a priority and the next thing we know, we’re empty nesters and we’re 55 years old, and our last kid is gone, and I love you mom and dad, but this is exactly what happened, and you’re like, who the hell are you? I don’t even know you any more.

My parents never went out on date night. They chaperoned a junior prom one time, but that doesn’t count. We had family friends and but they never made each other a priority the way I’ve tried to do with my husband. It doesn’t matter how stressful your day was at work, it doesn’t matter what time you need to get up in the morning, it doesn’t matter. Spaghetti night, or making time for intimacy, is non-negotiable, and you have to just find your spaghetti.

That might be tacos for you. You can take that pun if you want to. It could be pizza night. It could be whatever it is, but something that happens, it could be every number that ends in two that month, the second, the 12th, the 22nd, find your thing, but own it and just stick with it no matter what because the one time you start saying not tonight, not tonight, then the next thing you know you wake up and it’s been 20 years since you had sex with your partner, and I see it all the time. I hate to see people who used to love each other get divorced because they just didn’t practice making time for intimacy.

Sex is an important part of the marriage for most people, and making time for intimacy is, and it should be important for you as well. I hope that helps. If you have any other questions for me, please reach out. You can find us at Good luck, Lance.”

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