Sex Outside the Suburbs

With the entire family living in 300 square feet how do you parents get “alone time”?

It’s funny how often this comes up. Parents of families considering ditching the suburbs for the smaller confines of RV, boats or tiny houses fear the move is going to kill their sex lives.

As if…

  • a human race we’ve always had 7000 square-foot McMansions to sequester ourselves away in while a nanny looks after the kids.
  • ...the early settlers had something besides covered wagons or small log cabins to work with.
  • ...the other hundreds of families who’ve chosen lives of travel have hung up their sexuality and the opportunity to enjoy marital relations with their spouse while doing so.

Yea, not happening.

My first thought when this question came up is “you must not want it bad enough!” But the question persists so let’s just address it head-on. We’re all adults here, right?

Right? ;)

RV Floorplans

RVs come in a gadjillion sizes, shapes and floorplans. I grew up traveling in a Class A Motorhome - basically what most people think of when you say “RV”. Maybe it’s due to movies like RV but there is something more romantic and cinematic about driving a motorhome down the road vs. towing a trailer.

After touring a couple of “bunkhouse” Class As however we ruled them out. The kids’ beds were on the side of the rig towards the rear at a right-angle to the master bed. If we were all in our beds we could just about play footsies with the kids.


Like most traveling familes we instead chose a fifth wheel bunkhouse where the kids room is at the rear of the trailer and the master bedroom is at the front.

Maximum separation = good.

Our current rig has a bathroom configuration that allows us to access the bathroom directly from the master bedroom - also handy considering the topic at hand.


Travel trailers and RVs are inherently unstable. Things wiggle and bounce easily. We call it the “youthquake” when our kids move around. We joke that we can geolocate them by how the trailer is bouncing.

Part of setting up camp is stabilizing the rig for daily living. Front legs go down. Rear legs go down.

But there’s more you can do.

We’ve added JT Strongarms to all of our legs. By triangulating (I hope I can claim credit for first use of that word in a sex-related article) the legs they add stability.

We also use X-Chocks in between our tires to minimize the side to side shimmy.

Stabilty = good.


We weren’t ever a “co-sleeping” family. Our suburban house master bedroom was for us. It wasn’t a play option. We taught the kids to knock before entering.

Eventually we put a lock on the door, not because anyone walked in at the wrong moment but just for peace of mind that it wouldn’t happen.

We’ve kept the same approach in the RV. Even though our first trailer only had a curtain to close off the master bedroom, we required the kids to ask before entering.

Our current rig has an entry door and a slider door into the bathroom. If those doors are closed we are in our private space and shouldn’t be interrupted.

Boundaries = good.

Logistics & Schedule

We jumped into this lifestyle when the kids were 12 and 13. They were “young” for their ages because one of our homeschooling goals was to let them enjoy a childhood and not grow up too fast.

At this point the kids still had an earlier bedtime than we did. We’d look for times during the day when they were both engaged in something (preferably out of the RV):

  • Local friends
  • Ranger programs (bet the Rangers didn’t know that!)
  • Bike rides or hikes they could do on their own
  • We weren’t above putting in a movie for them then excusing ourselves for a “nap”.

They are now 16 and 18, go to bed after us, and sleep in later. This opens up some different opportunities for us to be alone - but it doesn’t always work out because one of us is an afternooner while the other is a morning person. TMI?

We’ve become less guarded about our sex lives with the kids as they’ve gotten older and less naive. We aren’t graphic but are affectionate with each other in front of them. We no longer mask the true purpose of our afternoon “naps”.

We’ve joked about what they might see if they forget to knock - and try to help them understand it’s not something they probably want to see. Much eye-rolling commences but the point gets across.

Showing affection = good.


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Other Tips

  • Mask sounds with white noise apps, vent fans, or the RV air conditioner.
  • If you can, lay parallel with the rig to minimize rocking.
  • Attribute the shaking of the rig to bad weather (wind and earthquakes are popular).
  • Don’t blame the shaking of the rig on wild animals.
  • Get creative! You have a tow rig. You have woods and trails.
  • Schedule it. The travel life can be busy & before you know it a week has slipped by. Make time.

Shaking things up a bit = good!

Oh..I see what you did there…

Birds Do It

How about you boating or tiny house people - anything to share from your world? Post it in the comments section below.

13 Comments Sex Outside the Suburbs

  1. Picture of Andrew Odom Andrew Odom June 30, 2015

    I can’t count how many times people asked us this question in our first tiny house (240 sq.ft. of single level living on a 30’ x 8’ trailer). They couldn’t imagine that we had any time as a couple and especially not with an infant in the house. I usually wept for them and their lack of imagination. Remember the old commercial that John Ritter used to do? “Where there’s a will, there’s an A” which clearly came from “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Everytime we would get that question ‘ol Jack Tripper would whisper in my ear. I would laugh and say “didn’t you ever try to get naughty in your college dorm room with your roommate just feet away”? It just takes some modification. You may have to decrease noise or verbalization. You may have to attempt a new position that causes less movement. You may have to switch to afternoon times, etc. The list goes on and is as uniquely individual as each couple. Point is, life in a tiny house does NOT mean a life unlived. Get over it. Get creative. And get it on!

  2. Picture of Jenni Jenni June 30, 2015

    We did not get asked this question too often, but when we did it invariably was by the same people who thought they could only have sex if the children were away for the night.  I still don’t understand how any of them managed to procreate more than once…

  3. Picture of Jenni Jenni June 30, 2015

    And I have to mention, the captcha I had to type for the previous comment was “fire76.”  This time it’s giving me “without61.”  Awesome.

  4. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink June 30, 2015

    I will admit to seeing if I could customize the CAPTCHA on each post and relate it to the topic, but the randomness is better (when it works out)...

  5. Picture of Robb Hamic Robb Hamic July 03, 2015

    We will be living aboard our boat in the Caribbean with 2 kids and a dog.  We’ve thought the same thing and considered writing a blog about it.  Hilarious but so true!  I’m thankful that our kids can sleep through a hail storm.

  6. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink July 03, 2015

    Hey Robb - thanks for visiting! I’d think with a boat there would be near-constant “wiggle” to blame things on..;)

  7. Picture of Jessica Jessica August 24, 2015

    Thank you all. We just bought our first RV earlier this year. And with three boys, 10 and under just on the other side of the kitchenette I’ve been wondering how creative and quiet we will manage to be. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. Picture of Jema Anderson Jema Anderson September 28, 2015

    A great article!  YES, so different now that the kids are teens!  It seems like honesty and creativity are now key. 

    Thanks for the link, I will return the favor :)

  9. Picture of Ashley Logsdon Ashley Logsdon February 28, 2016

    This is excellent!  We’re on the 350 day plan, give or take, so this is definitely something we’ve considered in shopping for our TT - we found one that has not one but TWO doors separating us from the kids, and we tested out the noise factor at the RV show.  Love the stabilizer options, and yep, our kids are young but they know all about the birds and the bees and just think it’s natural!  (although looking over and seeing a 2-yr-old in your bed STARING at you is very, very unsettling.  Cue door lock every. single. time.  ;-)

  10. Picture of Boyink Boyink February 28, 2016

    Um, I’m not sure we want to know how you did that test…;)

  11. Picture of Melissa Koster Melissa Koster March 31, 2016

    Awesome!  This is a constant conversation with us RV full-timers!  Great read!  I was lol!

  12. Picture of Amy Amy October 31, 2016

    Another “movement” excuse is “we will be washing some clothes tonight”.  No questions will be asked.

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