In all the debate of late in celebland as to when is the right time to start having sex after giving birth (for Nikki Bella it was less than six weeks; for Jamie Otis it was more than four months, and those are only two points along an even wider spectrum), it seems famous moms aren’t quite as focused on where to have sex again postpartum. That is: Can you do it in your bedroom, when you’re sharing that room with the baby? Can you get busy in front of babies? Questions our younger selves never imagined we would ask. Well, new mom Ashley Graham says hell yes you can — and she’s getting zero judgment from us on that one.
“We’ll put him in the bassinet on the other side of the room and get it going,” Graham told People of how she and her husband (of 10 years!) Justin Ervin find time for a sex life with a newborn around. And carving out that time is something any partnered parent knows is crucial. “24/7 it’s about Isaac,” Graham told the publication of her day-to-day life with her and Ervin’s son Isaac Menelik Giovanni Ervin. “And we’re both working parents now, so we need that extra time for ourselves that we used to have all the time.”
But, as some may be wondering, is it really ok to have sex in front of a newborn? I, personally, was horrified at that thought — right up until I actually had said newborn, recovered from childbirth, etc. At which point, of course, I had no other time or place in which to have sex other than in the same (tiny NYC apartment) room as the newborn — so those hangups about doing it while he was sleeping nearby went right out the window.
And according to the experts, that’s totally fine. The key here is really just the kid’s age.
“Seeing or hearing sex at an early age is unlikely to have any lasting effects,” Dr. Jennifer Shu told Parents. Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, concurs, telling Today that “if the child’s younger than six months old, you probably don’t need to worry” about whether sex in front of the baby is going to leave a mark (on their brain, that is). “It’s unlikely there would be problems, only happy, contented parents.”
Granted, Graham’s baby is nine months, but she specifies that he’s asleep during her and Ervin’s romps. Plus, we doubt any baby is waking up one day at the six-month mark with a sudden capacity for long-term memory; most kids don’t get to that point until age 3 or 4.
It’s also worth noting that even with older kids, “parental nudity doesn’t necessarily cause psychological issues in children,” licensed psychotherapist and marriage and family counselor Shirin Peykar told SheKnows. However, if kids past the toddler age walk in on parents having sex, it’s definitely important to have a (non-shaming, age-appropriate) talk with them about what’s going on — largely because if you don’t explain what’s happening, kids may assume it’s something negative, like parents fighting or hurting each other.
If kids inadvertently walk into (or wake up to see) something sexual at any age, “parents should be ready for questions and comments from children…which can be an informative conversation for children,” Peykar adds. “This can facilitate the opportunity to teach younger children boundaries about their bodies,” Peykar says. “Children can develop a positive view of sexuality through their parents’ modeling of their comfort with it. This can cultivate a positive view of a child’s own sexuality in the future.”
All in all, it seems that Graham (and my own postpartum self, TBT to her) is doing her relationship a solid by squeezing in sex when she can, even if that’s on the other side of the room as her sleeping baby — for now. Knowing how fast those early days fly, little Isaac will be turning one (and two, and three) in no time at all, so Graham might as well enjoy it before kiddo’s got a memory and the sneaky sex has to move to the bathroom.
These breastfeeding photos show how badass birthing bodies are.