Sex and the Family Vacation

Balcony...or Ram Zone?

Balcony…or Designated Ram Zone?

For most of us, family vacations are so exhausting that the grown-ups are lucky to get an hour of alone time between the moment the kids fall asleep and the moment we follow suit.

Still, every now and again (and hopefully more frequently than that), some of us might want to use that solo time to, well, get it on.

Yes, people, I’m talking about having sex on a family vacation. In the same hotel rooms as your kids.

Obviously, surreptitiously engineering this sort of thing without awakening the little ones requires a certain degree of strategy. I first wrote about this issue for my family travel blog at Parenting magazine. Now, however, inspired by unsolicited input from readers and friends, I’ve decided to revisit the topic for some additional tips.

Al fresco
Hotel room balconies are great for a variety of reasons. They usually have great views. They offer a chance to mix fresh air and (quasi-) privacy. And if you’re a smoker, they present a safe haven from the law. Especially after the kids are snoozing, balconies can serve another purpose, too: They can become the Designated Ram Zone (DRZ).

As you can imagine, a little discretion with this option goes a long way. If you strip and get busy with no regard for other guests, you’re likely to trigger a security response (and, potentially, land yourself in jail).

On the flipside, so long as most of the action is covered by a blanket, and so long as it’s dark enough to obscure certain details, it doesn’t matter what (or dare I say, who) goes down.

Into the closet
Depending on your hotel room, the closet might be another good spot for a tryst.

The pros: Doors that close and (in some cases) room to spread out. The cons: Pesky safes and ironing boards, and hangers that have a knack for making a ton of noise when inadvertently knocked down in a fit of passion.

(Also, people, beware of closet doors that are dependently linked to closet lights; you can imagine how, during certain repetitive movements, these might create a strobe effect.)

Going bold
Finally, there’s the vestibule—that hallway-width part of every hotel room between the front door and the beds. Though this option is the most exposed (i.e., there’s nothing separating you from the kiddos), most hotel rooms offer enough space for you and your partner to do your thang on the floor, mostly out of sight.

My advice: If you opt for this strategy, be quick. And again, cover with a blanket. Just in case.

It’s worth noting that if you opt to get after it with offspring in the room, it’s a good idea to keep the typical sex soundtrack on low. Powerwoman would divorce me if I shared our own stories, but good friends have told me that the experience of awakening their children with moans and groans was as traumatizing for the adults as it was for the kids.

Portable sound machines are a good way to muffle most “foreign” noises (sex-related and otherwise); our kids don’t sleep in hotels without the White Noise app from TMSoft.

Of course an even better option is challenging your partner (and yourself) to be quiet. No, it’s not easy. But with the right frame of mind, it can become sort of a game, and might make the experience even more fun.

What are your secrets for mixing sex and family travel?

Babyproofing Away from Home

These things save lives.

These things save lives.

Our older daughter never required much in terms of baby-proofing; when she was a toddler, we told her to stay away from stuff like cabinets and oven knobs, and she listened.

R, however, the baby in this family, is another story entirely.

We liken the kid to a two-legged raccoon; if something can be fiddled with in any way, girl will fiddle with it, then fiddle again. This means we’ve got child-proof latches and locks on just about everything here at home.

It also means that when we hit the road for a week at vacation rentals all over the world, we must scramble to make sure the kid doesn’t get herself (or us) into trouble.

That’s why I love the Travel Childproofing Safety Kit from Travel-Tot.

I heard about the kit from a bunch of friends, but didn’t really come to appreciate it until reading about it on Shelly Rivoli’s Travels with Baby blog (which, by the way, kicks major ass).

According to Rivoli, the kit comes in a suitcase the size of a small shoebox and comprises a host of child-proofing tools that traveling families can administer in just about any place on the road. Items requiring application are fastened with non-damaging adhesive strips provided in the kit. Components require no tools and can be installed in about five minutes.

All told, the kit includes a finger pinch guard, electrical outlet plug covers, foam corner guards, a door knob cover, a cord wind-up, a sliding door lock, a cabinet lock, multipurpose straps, water thermometer and bandages.

There’s also a forehead thermometer and this genius little door-hanger that says, “Shhh, Travel-Tot sleeping,” so your neighbors in a hotel know not to crank the Rhianna after 10 p.m.

The price: $34.95. Sure sounds like a good investment to me.

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