Call it old-fashioned, but for most couples sex is very much a dusk till dawn activity. After all, night-time is when we usually snuggle up together.
But there’s an often overlooked group of people who wouldn’t dream of making love after sunset, and swear the key to a fulfilling love life is to do it during the day, when they’re at their most perky (and the children are at school).
In fact, comedian Katherine Ryan, who plays the lead in the new Netflix sitcom The Duchess, revealed during a recent interview that she and her husband, Bobby Kootstra, have given up on nocturnal passion and do all their love making in daylight hours.
‘We have sex at 10am, when the kids are at school,’ she confessed.
We spoke to four couples who definitely like to make hay while the sun shines…
AT BEDTIME, IT’S A BOOK FOR ME
Emma Burns, 38, a body confidence coach and reflexologist, and her husband Sam, also 38, a haematologist, live in Caerphilly, Gwent, with their three children aged 12, 11 and five.
Emma says: Luckily for us, due to Sam’s shift pattern, some of his days off fall on week days so, after doing the school drop off together, we practically run home, excited by the prospect of getting back into bed.
Like a lot of parents, we are taking advantage of an empty house. But even before the kids came along, we have both always preferred daytime sex.
With the children at school and more energy during the daytime, couples say afternoon delight keeps their marriage alive
We have more energy when the sun is out — at night I like to wind down with a good book or TV show — and it’s nice to be able to see my husband’s eyes and body while we’re making love.
I think it’s a sensory thing — sex is more pleasurable for me when I can add sight to all the other senses that come into play.
I know some women are self-conscious about their bodies being on show in the unforgiving light of the day — even to their husbands — but after 18 years together and three children, I still feel sexy in my own skin.
Sam and I met at university and naturally my libido has waxed and waned since then, especially in the early years after having the children.
Emma and Sam Burns prefer to wind down at night and relax, leaving the daytime for making love
If we ever did get amorous at night, you could guarantee one of the children would wake at the least convenient moment.
For the past couple of years we’ve made time for sex at least once a week.
When the kids were off school for all those months, that meant setting our alarms to go off before they’d be awake.
It wasn’t the most passionate or adventurous sex, but it was the only way we could make time for it.
Now they’re back at school, we can take our time again. And there’s never a sense of rushing things so we can get to sleep.
Those who confine sex to something they do just before they go to sleep miss out on much of that.
After dropping their children off at school, Emma and Sam ‘practically run home,’ the 38-year-old has revealed
Sam says: Finding time for intimacy is a challenge in any long-term relationship once kids come along.
But the fact Emma and I have always preferred making love during the day has been a real positive in our relationship.
If we associated it only with night time it may fall off the agenda altogether.
That would be a huge shame because it always brings us closer together and, somehow, stops us bickering about silly things, like who is or isn’t pulling their weight around the house.
BEN TEXTS WHEN HE’S UP FOR IT
Lynda Labi, 36, a contact centre specialist, and her husband Ben, 37, an account manager, live in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, with their two children aged three and one.
Lynda says: Ben and I have been together for 13 years, but have slept in the same bed only a handful of times. Consequently all our most intimate moments have happened during the day.
Even with two young children, we still have sex three times a week — unlike some of my friends who share a bed with their husbands — because we make time for it during the day, while we still have the energy and inclination.
One of the first things Ben told me when we started dating — we got together after I bought a television he was selling online on Gumtree — was that he finds it impossible to sleep while sharing a bed.
He even insists on having his own room on stag dos.
Lynda Labi and husband Ben rarely sleep in the same bed – but they make sure to let each other know when they’re up for it
We did try snuggling up together while on honeymoon in Japan a few years ago, but we both struggled to sleep.
Thankfully, we’d booked a suite, so I moved to the sofabed in the living room.
We have our own bedrooms at home, which our friends and family find odd.
In fact, when we announced I was pregnant with our first child, my brother-in-law said: ‘How, when you don’t sleep in the same room?’
I was too embarrassed to point out that sex doesn’t only have to happen at night.
In the evenings, we give the kids a bath and put them to bed, and once we’ve done that I’m really exhausted.
I come downstairs, clean the kitchen and have two hours before I head to bed, which I like to spend reading or catching up on TV.
Even on their honeymoon, Lynda ended up sleeping on a sofa-bed at their hotel suite, but they still find time for one another
I work part-time and Ben mostly works from home. It’s when our eldest child is at nursery and I’m putting the baby down for a nap that I can expect a text from him asking me to go to his room once our daughter’s asleep.
It’s really sexy and exciting, and really feels like we’re nurturing our marriage.
Ben says: I shared a bedroom with my brother growing up, but in adulthood I’ve found it impossible to sleep through someone so much as breathing beside me.
Fortunately, Lynda is very understanding about my need to sleep alone and neither of us wants it to create a lack of intimacy between us.
We also have more energy to really make the most of that time during the day.
BARRICADED IN THE BEDROOM
Laura White, 37, and her husband Paul, 35, who had to leave his job in nursing after being left 90 per cent blind by a car accident, live in Peterlee, County Durham, with their four children aged from 16 to five.
Laura says: The past few months (when the children were home all day) played havoc with our sex life.
We gave up any hopes of making love at night years ago because, up until the age of about eight, all four of our kids have struggled to sleep, unless they’re in our bed.
Now we have a teenager and little ones, there’s always at least one of them awake at the same time as we are.
So, during lockdown, we took to barricading ourselves in the bedroom for a quickie in the afternoons, telling our five and six-year-old that they couldn’t come in because we were writing Christmas lists.
Lockdown put a strain on Laura and Paul White’s lovelife, as they were unable to get a spare moment as they raised their two children
They would shout through the door: ‘What have you written down?’ And we’d tell them to go and play for five minutes, otherwise Santa wouldn’t bring anything.
Some might say that’s a bit mean, but we have to be inventive to make sure we keep the passion alive in our marriage — it’s the one thing that marks out your relationship with your spouse from all the others in your life.
Now the children are at school again we’re back to having sex a couple of times a week and sometimes set aside several hours for a ‘date day’, which we spend in bed, snuggling down to watch a film after making love.
One time a neighbour, who is also a good friend, arrived while we were in bed and, after not getting a response to her knock, tried the door, which was unlocked, and walked in.
She shouted my name and I said: ‘Oh, can you just give us a few minutes?’
When she came back later on I laughed as I told her, ‘we were having sex’, and she was utterly mortified.
I don’t think people expect couples to get intimate during the day, but I’ve no idea why not.
Laura and Paul got around lockdown issues by barricading themselves in their bedroom and telling their children they were busy writing Christmas lists
They must not realise how much more fun it is when you can take your time and still have the energy for it, which is rarely true at night.
There was one time when we were expecting delivery of a microwave and, sod’s law, the bell went while we were in the throes.
I pulled on a T-shirt and went to the door. After I’d signed for the parcel, the driver was about to leave it on the doorstep when I said: ‘Would you mind just moving it inside? I can’t bend down as I’ve got no knickers on.’
You should have seen the look of shock on his face.
Paul says: If Laura and I didn’t make time for sex during the day, I fear it would never happen.
There’s no other time — in the evening, overnight or first thing in the morning — when at least one of the children isn’t with us.
And one big advantage of doing it during the day, when we have the house to ourselves, is that we can make as much noise as we like.
OUR AFTERNOONS ARE A DELIGHT
Liz Richards, 29, who is studying for a masters degree, and her husband Jon, 32, a supply teacher, live in Derby.
Liz says: When Jon and I started dating six years ago, we were both working as after-school teachers in China.
Our working day ran from 3pm to 9pm, by which point we were too tired to have sex, so we got into the habit of making time for it before heading off to school.
And it’s a practice that’s stuck throughout our relationship, only now we make love once Jon is back from work, mid-afternoon.
Liz Matthews and her partner Jon were too tired to have sex in the evenings, and instead opted to have it before heading out to school
We have so much more energy for it then and make love around four times a week.
We don’t get into any kind of complicated mating ritual. One of us will raise our eyebrows and say: ‘Fancy it?’
And the other will reply: ‘Yeah, all right.’
Most of the time we get into bed because it’s the comfiest place to make love.
The only downside is that there’s a much greater chance of being disturbed and I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been interrupted by a knock on the front door.
One time, a takeaway we’d ordered for 5pm came an hour early, totally ruining the moment. I think the driver had his suspicions about what had been going on when I answered the door in my dressing gown, pink-cheeked and with my hair all ruffled.
I talk openly to friends about sex and most are surprised when I tell them about our passion for afternoon delights.
Unlike us, they tend to have nine -to-five jobs and, for them, sex is mostly something that happens last thing at night or first thing in the morning.
Liz says she lost count of the number of times their sessions in bed have been interrupted by a knock at the door
I take regular medication for a bad back — the result of an injury at work a couple of years ago —which makes me drowsy, so long may we continue to take full advantage of the energy I have in the middle of the day.
Jon says: I was at a party not long ago and ended up chatting to a group of women who were all complaining about how infrequently they had sex with their partners, mostly because they were too tired by the time they were going to bed.
I kept quiet, as I didn’t think it was my place, but I wanted to say: ‘Make time for it during the day, before the exhaustion kicks in, you fools.’
This approach has always worked well for Liz and me.
It does mean we’re sometimes disturbed by the doorbell but, as well as frustration, that always leads to a lot of laughter which, like sex, is very important in our relationship.