Sex & Love

Awk­ward mo­ments, solved


It’s the hol­i­day sea­son—and soon cheer (and the smell of turkey) won’t be the only thing fill­ing up your house. Novem­ber is also the start of house­guest sea­son, which means that with par­ents in the guest room and neph­ews on ev­ery couch, it’ll be even harder than usual to find the time and the mood for ro­mance. What’s a cou­ple to do? Here, a few ways to keep your sex life hum­ming along when the hordes descend.

PROB­LEM: Your grandma, your brother, or your in-laws are sleep­ing in the next room— and the walls are thin.

SO­LU­TION: Make an ex­cuse to head to bed early (the yawn-in­duc­ing ef­fects of tryp­to­phan, maybe?) and have a con­test with your part­ner to see who can be qui­eter. This could be fun—or not. Be­ing un­able to let go and vo­cal­ize your plea­sure may in­hibit your abil­ity to get aroused. Try con­cen­trat­ing on your breath­ing to take the fo­cus off your vo­cal cords, or muf­fle your noises with a pil­low when things get in­tense. It also may help to do some fur­ni­ture re­ar­rang­ing be­fore your guests ar­rive (head­board as far from mother-in-law as pos­si­ble).

And just for good mea­sure, some pad­ding be­tween the head­board and the wall can sti­fle any thumps in the night.

If the thought of your fam­ily in the next room is too much of a li­bido killer, get them out of there: Set up a touristy ac­tiv­ity they can do with­out you. Or have fun look­ing for cou­ple time out­side the bed­room— sex in the shower tends to guar­an­tee at least 15 min­utes of pri­vacy. Or pre­tend you’re teenagers and sneak out to the car in the garage.

PROB­LEM: You get caught—and things get awk­ward around the house. SO­LU­TION: It prob­a­bly doesn’t need to be said, but

Rachel Zar, LMFT, is a re­la­tion­ship and sex ther­a­pist at Spark Chicago Ther­apy and the North­west­ern Medicine Cen­ter for Sex­ual Medicine & Menopause.

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