Your Teens Can Hear You Having Sex? Why THAT May Be Totally Fine.

Don’t stop at the headline.

Take a breath and keep reading. You might agree with me before we are through.

A friend and I were having coffee recently, and nearby was a young mom with a baby who looked to be about four months old. He was scrumptiously adorable, I must admit.

Like a lot of moms at that stage, this mom had what appeared to be half her house with her.

My friend and I glanced at the little tyke… and then back at each other.

If there had been thought bubbles above our heads, I’m sure they would have said something like, “I remember those days… when you had to take half the house with you. Would not have the energy for them now. But I remember them.”

My friend and I are well beyond parenting littles. We are in the stage of pre-teens, teens and rarely-home young adults.

Parenting for me at this stage seems to break down roughly like this:

45% recognizance missions (most of which I fail)

25% doing nothing but keeping the fridge stocked

15% “No, honey. I still don’t understand how Minecraft works.”

10% “Please don’t get arrested, pregnant or kicked out of school.”

5% “Yes, I will help you with math homework. Let me get a glass of wine first.”

I say it all in jest. I know there are joys and challenges at every stage, and that certainly has been true in my parenting journey thus far.

One thing my friend and I agreed we do miss about the baby and little kid stage is how early they go to bed.

Yes, I know that newborns don’t sleep in long stretches, but eventually you get to the point where 8 pm is bedtime!  And you ride that 8 pm bedtime for a LONG time, like until the kid is about 9 or 10. And even then, you just creep the bedtime up incrementally.

When your kids go to bed at a reasonable time, you as the adult still have time for other stuff before the night is through. Sure, those aren’t completely “free” hours, because a fair amount of life maintenance has to get done.

BUT the upside is if you wanted to, you could be having sex by 9:30.

In a house that is quiet.

While kids are sound asleep.

But when they become teenagers? It’s like they never sleep at normal hours. Never. And the predictability of the schedule you had when they were little has vanished.

Throw in practices and homework and friends and social events and part-time jobs and teenage drama. It’s easy to see how their lack of schedule predictability has simultaneously obliterated yours.

So when do you make love when you have teenagers?

My friend shared that for her and her husband, waiting till the house was quiet (like at 1 am) was not an option. “I’m too tired even by 11 pm,” she said. True that, sister!  Planning their sexual intimacy around when their kids were finally asleep just wasn’t going to work.

Their solution on some evenings is to simply go to their bedroom long before bedtime, shut and lock the door, and spend a half hour catching up on the day and making love while they still have energy.

They don’t announce that they are going to have sex. The kids are still awake doing their own thing (watching TV, studying, texting with friends, playing video games).

One time one of their kids snickered and implied that they can hear mom and dad.

Oh the irony that a 15-year-old can’t manage to raise her head from her phone screen and “hear” mom ask her to take out the trash, yet somehow has the awareness to “hear” mom and dad quietly having sex three bedrooms down the hall.

Teenagers sure have raised selective hearing to an art form, haven’t they?

My friend and I agreed it’s totally fine that their teens can hear her and her husband having sex. You know why? Couple of reasons. First, those kids wouldn’t have to hear them.

“Go do something else, youngster.”

“Go put your earbuds in. You know, the earbuds that are in your ears 8 hours a day.”

Second, it’s totally normal and healthy that a husband and wife have sex behind a closed door. In their own home. At 8 pm in the evening.

Who cares that their kids snicker or say or imply, “We know what you are doing. We hear you.”

“Well, kiddos, it’s perfectly fine you can hear us having sex. Now you know that mom and dad love you. Because if we don’t get some alone time having sex, we may just lose our sanity. And who is going to take you to soccer practice if that happens?”

Mic drop. Boom.

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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36 thoughts on “Your Teens Can Hear You Having Sex? Why THAT May Be Totally Fine.

  1. Dawn King says:

    My daughter one time said she was going to tell our pastor on us. We told her to go ahead. He would just say that we were doing a great thing!

    I think it sets a GOOD example. Sex is awesome in marriage!

  2. J. Parker says:

    There has so much freedom since I realized two things you mentioned:
    1. We can make love anytime of day, even if that’s late afternoon or early evening.
    2. Our teens can go watch TV and/or plug in their headphones, which they do all the time anyway.
    Plus, I decided that this is ultimately OUR house, not theirs, and if I want to have sex with my husband in the living room, they can go to their rooms. We DON’T have sex in the living room while they’re here, but the principle itself has freed me to thinking that it’s our marriage and our house, and we should be able to enjoy both.

  3. Johanna Galyen says:

    Julie,

    I stumbled onto your blog from twitter, and all I can say is AMEN, Sister!!!!! I completely agree with this post. One day I hope to have grandchildren. And for that to happen, my children will need to get married and have sex. Shocking I know! 😉

    The fact is, my kids will hear the sounds of sex SOMETIME. And I would much rather it come from me, in a safe environment, under the blessings of a God-honoring marriage….than overheard or seen in some less honoring place.

    So while I’m not going to put on a show or be loud on purpose, if it happens, it happens. And we’ve told our kids, if at any time they have a question about sex, we will ALWAYS give them a true and real answer.

    Thank you for being real and loving in your approach. It really was a great post! ~ Johanna

  4. C says:

    We bring this to a whole new level. We live in a travel trailer (for the time being) with our 17, 15, almost 11 and 8 year olds. ??‍♀️
    I go through spells of “I don’t care if they know” (the camper rocking is not something that earbuds can hide!!!!) to “ohmygosh, this has to be scarring for them”.
    But, darn it, it’s our only home currently!!!

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  7. EnnenTee says:

    Better than hearing Mom and Dad fussing and arguing all the time because they are so frustrated!

  8. Joshua says:

    This is ridiculous. Yes, your children should know you love each other. Its also okay that they know that you do have sex. BUT…doing it knowing that they can hear you makes them a part of it and that is so wrong. Your children do not need to hear you and your orgasms. Would you screw in front of them so they can watch? Knowingly having sex where they can hear you and you are fully aware that they can hear you is abusive and scars them. Its simply wrong. How do I know? Cause my room was next to my parents and despite my making fun of them / joking about it to let them know it grossed me out and I could hear them, they continued to do it – a lot. I couldn’t wait to move out of the house. I’m 47 years old now and just writing this comment disgusts me to remember how violated and disrespected it made me feel.

  9. Julie Sibert says:

    @Joshua … thank you for taking the time to comment. I think you missed the point of my post, but I respect that we may have to agree to disagree on a few things. No, I do not think children need to see their parents having sex. The point I was trying to make is that sex is a normal part of marriage and it is healthy for children to understand that their parents have sex. And though it grossed you out, I am glad your parents continued to have sex behind closed doors and pour into that aspect of their marriage. Sadly, too many couples don’t nurture their intimacy and it tends to weaken the marriage, which obviously isn’t good for kids. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. Always appreciate the dialogue.

  10. Joe says:

    Agree with Joshua. I strongly believe in privacy and being discreet. Sex is already bombarding us as a society. I do believe you can be too open about things and this includes sex. Kids have enough problems today and hearing your parents while trying to do homework or sleep is not something they need and disrespectful as parents. You feel you need to be loud and enjoy the moment? send the kids out or get a hotel.

    This all is getting me boiling bigtime. I can’t even watch a Christmas movie without sex being thrown in the face of me and my kids. Tried watching some forgetable movie with robin Williams as a cranky dad and they kept talking about not having sex for months and months. Why is this in a Christmas movie that otherwise would have been family friendly.

    Why did I vent on a Christmas movie in this post? Beause it is an example of how society is being too open about things that should stay behind closed doors. I don’t need or want sex in every aspect of my life.

    Why do I visit this website? I read it because to better understand yourself you need to soak up all sides of a thought process. I believe all people are different and I do not believe all people can change, or need to change. Not all things are bad and wanting somebody to change to meet your desires is only going to make that person resentful eventually.

    Fact: Not everybody wants or is capapable of open candid soul pouring discussion. For me, I’ve tried sitting through things as simple as a retreat for church elders where we were to meditate and discuss our deepest feelings. I was had the worst anxiety attack in my entire life. I will never do anything like that again.

    Fact: Not everybody enjoys sex the same way that you or some of the others on this website do. They never will. Forcing them to dig deep and let all the emotions out is not going to be an enjoyable experience and will make them shut down and eventually turn off all sex. Sometimes simply going through the actionas and doing the deed so that the partner gets some satisfaction is all that will ever happen. Biblically the requirement of not withholding sex is accomplished. I fall into theis catagory. Fine, I’ll put out but I’m never going to have those all night sex sessions. It’s simply not going to happen, never has, never will.

    Fact: Introverts and extroverts are different. I see a lot of the conflict described on this website simply as extroverts vs introverts. I am a strong introvert. Always test that way in the personality tests. People suck energy from me, this includes family. Sex is the most battery draining activity possible, closely followed by overwhelming large events with lots of people. it takes me days to recover from sex. Literally tired, no energy, need 2 or 3 pots of coffee in the morning before I can put together a complete through process. I will attend parties with my wife, but I can not handle more than an hour or 2 max. For every hour of party time I need a day of silence to recover. The perfect vacation? A few days or a week of doing nothing. As long as I’m not working, I could spend a week inside the house or at a hotel. I compromise by just requesting downtime while on family trips. Not everybody wants to be at Disney World sun up to sun down.

    Are you or a counselor going to change an introvert? No. You can try, but you will just drive that person insane and push them more into a cave that they will never return from. I believe introverts make some of the best parents and marriage partners. They are calm, loving, stable. Are they going to bring massive excitement to the show? No. But they also don’t bring the massive lows to the relationship. They are steady. I don’t see this as wrong or bad.

  11. Songs of the Believers says:

    We stand with the mission of this site, the great tips it provides, the marriages it enhances, and the wisdom it offers. Stay strong, Julie, and may God be with you as you continue on this important mission.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @Joe and @Joshua PREACH PREACH PREACH PREACH PREACH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Should married couples be having sex? Absolutely. Should they let their kids hear? Absolutely NOT. Just because your kids didn’t come out and say, “Hey mom and dad, the sound of your wet private parts mixing together distracts me from my homework, turns me on and makes me feel shame, or is just plain rude and disgusting,” does NOT mean they aren’t thinking it. There are some kids who truly think “Ew whatever. As long as they are in love.” But please please please please PLEASE, for the sake of the kids who suffer from severe anxiety, for kids who can’t cope with sexual sounds because of sexual abuse that they haven’t even told their parents about, for kids who struggle with porn, for kids who feel their parents love each other more than them, and for kids who are afraid of their parents and can’t tell them anything without getting screamed at, DON’T glorify this. DON’T have sex when your kids can hear. It’s not beautiful to everyone. It’s not important to everyone. I am everything I just described. I’m the kid, who decades later, is worried sick everyday if I’m going to find out my parents had sex and tweak out over it. I’m worried sick that they’re going to do it and I’m going to hear and they’re going to get angry at me for having a panic attack over it. I’m the kid who is here on this site looking for answers as to who would possibly think this is okay. I’m glad I saw both sides of the story. I get it that for you, sex may be beautiful and important. But if you’re having it, think less of yourself and try and bear in mind that your kids may not be seeing it as beautifully as you are. Husband and wife connecting and feeling close may feel like torture, shame, and being unloved to your kid, and I speak on behalf of the kids who don’t have the guts to tell you because they’re terrified they’ll be screamed at for DARE having a problem with something Godly. If you were starving and you ate in front of a kid just to satisfy your own needs, it shouldn’t matter, right? Because eating is necessary and important? What if that kid hadn’t eaten all day and thought someone who loved them so much was so inconsiderate for eating in front of them, but couldn’t say anything because you had the right to eat? At that point, similarly to sex, it stops becoming a natural thing. Sex is meant for MARRIAGE. MARRIAGE!!! If it was meant for your kids, it wouldn’t be illegal. Keep your sex life away from your kids. You do NOT know what they are thinking. And no hate here, I’m simply trying to spread the word that hearing your parents having sex is not always “silly” or “awkward” or “gross” or deserving of punishment because it’s “your house and your rules”. The moment your child feels violated, you are a monster in their eyes. Don’t be the monster, because sometimes when you think your kids are telling you everything, they’re not. And as far as I’m concerned, THIS is a mic drop. Boom.

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  14. Tom says:

    I think it’s hilarious how badly some are missing the point Julie is trying to make. At no point did she say put on a show for your kids, or be blatantly obvious about what you’re doing in the bedroom. Rather, that if your kids *happen* to catch on to what’s going down, it’s not going to scar them for life.

    Lighten up, people.

  15. Anonymously says:

    @Tom yeah I get it. I’m mostly talking about the other comments. All I’m saying is please stop glorifying this because there are some parents that do put on a show or make it obvious. And you don’t know what your kids are thinking so don’t put them in that situation.

  16. Hank says:

    Amen Tom. Great post Julie. Sex is a gift from God. It’s good for Dad’s and Mom’s to express their gift in a healthy way behind closed and locked doors….discreetly. I heard my parents have sex every so often when growing up and it did not kill me or create anxiety. Yes a little embarrassing, but nothing that wasn’t unhealthy or abnormal. As a kid, I didn’t understand it then, but ultimately I remember that I was glad they were close and doing something that was normal.

  17. Joe says:

    Modesty. This world lacks modesty. The worst thing that happened to American life was the 60’s and the baby boomers who ushered in this trend.

    Be considerate of the rest of the family. Keep a lid on it. They don’t want to hear it and should not have to. Once you have kids you loose personal freedoms. Want to continue living the hippie free love lifestyle? Don’t have kids. You can still have sex in marriage, but sheesh, please learn modesty and learn that everything has a place, including sex.

    In western culture sex rates are plummeting. Young, old, married, unmarried. I’m convinced that this is due to the bombardment of sex in every aspect of life and the lack of modesty. Enough already. Sex is not the end-all be-all and is not the goal of life. It’s simply 1 part of life, that’s it.

  18. Hannah says:

    Oh my God. Please, please, please I am BEGGING you do not treat this situation like this! I understand and agree that a good romantic relationship should involve sex but a good relationship with your child could be ruined by it! They are hard to deal with and they can be mean and pushy and rude and disrespectful but they do love you and they do NOT deserve to hear that. It is traumatizing and it will scar them. This will not go with everyone as all family’s are different but, when I was eight I first started hearing my parents have sex and it was scary at first because I did not know what it was. My older sister(14) was always angered by the noises we heard and would fight with them every day. I eventually learned what they were when I was around thirteen. My sister had moved out by then, she had left almost as soon as she turned eighteen. I was not really angered by it but more embarrassed. To be honest I was also miserable. I cried every night. I never brought it up but I wanted them to stop. I let it out one day at dinner. I’m pretty sure i said something along the lines of “can you guys stop at night? I can’t sleep”. It was mortifying for me but my parents only said that I should be grateful about how much they love each other and that they could be yelling and fighting each other everyday instead. But now I knew that they knew I could hear them and now I knew they didn’t care. I cried right there at the dinner table.
    Being able to hear them obviously is not the most horrible thing in the world but just knowing they didn’t care upset me in ways I couldn’t understand. I would fight them for no reason other than that I was frustrated and that would lead to more fights and more distance between us and a worse relationship. I moved out about a week after my nineteenth birthday and I haven’t spoken to them since. That was about nine years ago. I’m twenty seven now (28 in July) and I have my own baby(7 month old Marci!). I kept in touch with my sister and we are very close now(she’s 33 and has a 9 and a 7). The last thing I heard about my parents is that my dad died of a double heart attack and my mom moved to Arizona. I did mourn. He was my dad and I did love him but i didn’t go to the funeral. I wasn’t invited anyways.
    Like I said before, this will not work with everyone. My parents were not good at being parents. They cared more about each other than us and it ruined our relationship. That’s just what happened to me.

  19. Julie Sibert says:

    @Hannah… thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you had a painful childhood. It sounds like that was for a variety of reasons (you mention they were not good parents). Certainly if children express fear about what they have heard, that is an opportunity for parents to be mature and talk about what sex is and to reassure the child (and also to try to use more discretion in noise level once they know that the child is upset). From what you shared, it doesn’t sound like your parents were willing to reassure you and have a conversation with you. The overall point of my post was simply to emphasize the importance of parents maintaining a healthy marriage and that healthy sexual intimacy is part of marriage. I did do a follow up post that may give some more perspective if you’d like to take a look at that: https://intimacyinmarriage.com/2019/04/26/i-think-some-people-missed-what-i-was-trying-to-say/ Thanks again for commenting. I’m sorry to hear about the pain of your childhood.

  20. Andrea says:

    I’ve woken up to my parents having sex. I have no door, and instead of choosing to go to their bedroom where they have a door to close, they do it in the living room door wide open. It’s disgusting and no teenager or child should have to hear or even be around live PORN if their parents can go into their own room and do the deed. Never heard of “go get a room?”

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  22. Unknown person says:

    It’s kind of dissusting but I get your opinion but heading your parents moan and say OH MY GOD every night is gross and I can’t really talk to my parents about this issue I don’t feel comfortable also how can you leave when your room is right above theirs and the house is paper thin I really would appreciate your advice on this I am almost 16 and I believe they should stop Also my parents say sex is a gift and all that crap but it sounds like it’s more of a pleasure to most people when I researched about how to stop my parents from tramitizing me every night I am pretty tired of oh sex is beautiful because it doesn’t feel like it can you please help because it’s my parents don’t like me listening to music at night I have tried to but my mom thinks it’s bad and I don’t want to hear them but I have no experience with this I want to move out or get a new room but I don’t want to lie to them why I don’t like my room because it’s great it’s just I can hear everything but I am to embarrassed I have no solution

  23. Julie Sibert says:

    @Unknown Person… Why don’t you turn some music on in your room? I know it may feel overwhelming to you right now, but someday as a parent, my hope is you would understand. Healthy sexual intimacy is a good thing in a marriage. Your parents are a married couple having sex in their bedroom.

  24. Jill says:

    I don’t think you have read Unknown Persons comment properly. Her (I’ll use ‘her’ because the gender isn’t stated). She said her mother thinks it’s ‘bad’ for her to listen to music at night. We don’t know how loud or whether she is having her sleep disturbed by it. Seems they’re not being considerate and the commenter is quite distressed. It’s not clear I just feel your answer was quite insensitive to someone who was asking for some advice about how to cope. I suggest that you do try and let your parents know how upset you are and ask them to buy you some earphones. If you have them already, use them, your mother won’t know.

  25. Karen says:

    all these parents are beyond selfish. sex is a moment that parents and only parents should share with each other, kids aren’t obligated to be a part of it by listening to it. your home is yours?!?! ok fine but come here when the situation is reversed. i’ll be pretty happy to see when parents get to listen to their kids having sex.

  26. Frustrated says:

    Selfish? if only it was just that. These parents are being abusive. You want to have sex that bad? Be quiet behind a closed door. Can’t be quiet because you like to make noise? Go to a hotel. Want to “live free and have fun whenever, wherever?’ then don’t have kids. It’s that simple. Wow, this world has become so self-centered and entitled.

  27. Jessica Singer says:

    My kids just told.me that they heard me 2 night ago and tonight. They said,” Can’t you do it when we are sleeping?”
    My kids are almost 18,17 and 15.
    I say to them…you stay up until 2-3am. There is no way for me(especially my husband who has to work the next day) to wait until they have decided to go to bed.
    It’s life.🤷‍♀️
    I told them…you don’t like it…go to bed earlier. There was no issue when there was school because they had a bedtime. Now…it’s whenever.
    My daughter said…why are you guys now deciding to have sex? Honey….we’ve been having sex. You just aren’t sleeping!
    *Note: I 100% try to make no noise & I also turn music on.

  28. Chris says:

    There is the other side of this coin that needs to be adressed. What’s it like for the children who where raised by parents who lived in a sexless marriage? The only affection, or intimacy they see is the cold, heartless, cerimonial goodby peck when off to work? After a year of marriage councilling our physycologist said ” you two are setting a horrible example for your kids of what a loving, caring, intimate RELATIONSHIP ought to be”. That was a tipping point for me and my divorce. The children (yes… even the excuse about noise) always came first before the marriage. Not good! The excuse that ” Grandpa might hear us” was another one…The same grandpa who took his hearing aids out every night and slept through hurricanes!

  29. Woode Family says:

    Very Good Post, Agree 100% Intimacy & Marriage God Designed Created Keeping Marriage Alive So that will be loving caring environment for the family everyone need affection all in different ways shown. I also agree Wives are always discreet.
    God Bless All Married 17years God Honoring Family.

  30. prefer not to say says:

    I am 16 years old and live in an apartment with my mom, her boyfriend, and my 2 other siblings. it is a 2 bedroom apt. My mom and her boyfriend sleep in the living room. I hear them having sex all of the time. It makes me sick and makes me cry every night. It isn’t “normal”. at all. It is honestly in a way, sexual abuse. I hate it. Parents who don’t care are the most disgusting and horrible parents ever. if I forget to close my door at night, sometime i accidentally see it. it isnt right. please do not normalize this.

  31. Julie Sibert says:

    @prefer not to say… thank you for taking the time to comment. I am saddened to hear that your mom and her boyfriend are having sex in the first place as they are not married, but I don’t imagine they will stop having sex. Could you talk to your mom and ask them to be more discreet? I definitely believe a husband and wife should be discreet in their intimacy, but I also believe it is normal for a husband and wife to have sex. I am sorry for what you are going through. I truly am.

  32. HappilyMarried says:

    I can’t believe all the people freaking out over a married couple having sex behind closed doors. And all the teenagers who think it’s “gross.” That’s what loving married couples do. You all have headphones. Use them. Marriages need to be nurtured. Kids move out, as they should. Hopefully, when you are left with only your marriage, it’s still going strong.

  33. Mystery person says:

    Sex is a great and wonderful thing. I never had sex yet because I’m still a minor, but that’s what my parents taught me.

    At one point I couldn’t stand knowing when my parents were having sex. I’m not used to the sex life, I don’t have my own boyfriend or husband, so how on Earth could I accept it so casually?

    Maybe if I did engage in sexual activities myself I’ll understand? I can’t do that..

    I’m trying to be a good kid by not having underaged sex!!

    But when I hear them I get the urge to try myself and at the same time I try not to just to please THEM.

    Do you have any idea how that affects me mentally?

    There’s not much to do to fix a problem like this, but.. At the end of the day, the child is struggling not the parents.

    I think parents should care if their kids feel uncomfortable, but the only way to fix the situation is NOT to STOP HAVING SEX.

    WORK ANOTHER WAY OUT.

    Parents WILL be selfish to their kids if they just don’t care, having this mentality that “We’re married and adults we can have sex whenever we want and they just have to accept that.”

    Should parents have the time of their lives while kids are struggling mentally and possibly physically?

    Maybe they’re afraid to admit to you they’re affected, because you’ll say something like they’re just being selfish, which adds more preassure on the kid.

    Not all kids have the same issue, but look at your own kids and make sure they don’t have any problem, instead of looking at other people’s kids and OPINIONS.

    I have no intention of offending anyone, I just want to speak up how serious it can get and warn you.

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