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A recognized expert in her field, Dr. Zoldbrod's work featured recently by the American Psychological Association

and featured on That Relationship Show Podcast

Prisoners of Parenthood: How to have Hotel Sex without the Hotel—Tips from Your Boston Sex Therapist
Posted on June 30, 2014 by Aline Zoldbrod

As often happens in my Boston sex therapy office, a straight couple with children are bemoaning the fact that it is almost impossible to have the privacy and the luxury of getting away somewhere private and comfortable to have sex at a time of day where they are not worn out and exhausted. It really is a common, frustrating problem. We’re not talking about people who are willing themselves to be in sexless marriages, we are talking about people with actual sex drives and wishes for sexual connection who are essentially what I think of as “prisoners of parenthood.” Since most people have children in this country, I’m sure some of you reading this will relate.

The guy, who worked out of the house, was willing to take time off work, so that he and his spouse could count on the time that the kids were in school to have a romantic date. The two of them were willing to pay for the hotel room. But practically, the whole hotel system is rigged against parents getting this kind of break.

Think of it: you get the kids off to school early in the morning. You have to be home by 2:30 or 3p.m. to be there when they come home. Ideally, to have a little romantic interlude, you would get to the hotel at 9 in the morning, stash your few belongings, bounce around on the good bed, maybe set up your iPod with its playlist, and have access to this room for a good five hours before you go home again.

That would give you the freedom to hop into the shower right then, and wrap yourselves into clean towels which you later would not have to wash and dry and refold and put away. Now, that’s a feeling of exhilaration right there, at least for the laundry doer. For a lot of exhausted housekeepers, that endless supply of clean towels is pretty close to an erotic image. Or, having set down your stuff and bounced on the very excellent bed, you could take out your smart phones and hang out while you jointly determined the coolest place to go for breakfast, where it would be quiet and you could actually eat in peace and think about the fun you’d have when you went back to your room and had digested your food, taken a shower, given each other backrubs or massages, and made use of those clean and fluffy towels we mentioned before, not to mention the clean, but soon to get dirty 400-threads-per inch-sheets.

To parents with kids and no other childcare, a five-hour break like this would actually count as a reasonably romantic mini-getaway. But noooo, that’s not the way hotels work. In the real world, your reservation starts at 11 or 12, or maybe even later, and it extends into hours where the room is of no use to you, because you have to be home with your kids. And getting this whole shebang together by checking in at 11 or 12 or later cuts it up into such stupid time chunks that the benefits do not outweigh the costs.

So we were brainstorming about this structural/logistical problem.

One thing we were thinking of is that part of the eroticism of hotel rooms is actually the fact that they are a blank, clean slate. There are no papers or reminders of your “to do” list. Your pile of unfolded clothes is not there. The annoying loose insert page from the magazine is not on the rug. The rug is clean. You are AWAY. The shame and guilt of not accomplishing your to-do list evaporates in hotel rooms, because all the cues to your particular to do list have magically vanished.

Now for busy people with actual sex drives, this blank slate environment with a comfortable bed and no possibility of child-intrusion is a very powerful dis-inhibitor.
The sad news for those of us who are lacking the obsessive-compulsive gene is that we can’t create this blank slate environment in our houses. But I’m thinking that perhaps if we hold in our minds this hotel room concept, maybe some of us will be able to make one room in our house some version of a quasi-hotel room. Make the environment generic and uncluttered.

Make the bed a good one. Keep some fluffy, clean towels neatly stacked on some appealing, dust and clutter free shelves. Buy a little iPod player and keep it in there, at the ready.

Brainstorm if there is a way to do this where you live. Because I honestly think that with this kind of space in your house, and with this kind of mind-set in your brain, you might be able to “check in” to this special room periodically, on days when the kids are all in school and you’re able to steal some time away from work. And I think you might be able to have a lot of fun in there.

To read more about Boston sex therapist Dr. Zoldbrod’s ideas, go to

A recognized expert in her field, Dr. Zoldbrod's work featured recently by the American Psychological Association

and featured on That Relationship Show Podcast

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Dr. Aline Zoldbrod is a licensed psychologist and Boston sex therapy practitioner, seasoned sex therapist, teacher and trainer in sexuality, and author of multiple books on sexuality.

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