Going through a divorce can be a traumatic, life-changing event. Nonetheless, once a divorced person has worked through all the associated emotions and had some time to heal, he/she may be ready to look for love again. If that person has children, finding time for dating and sex may be difficult, as the person juggles the additional stresses and schedules of being a single parent. However, despite what is likely popular belief, single parents are just as sexually active as single people without kids. Study Sheds Light On Single Parents’ Sex Lives, by Taryn Hillin, The Huffington Post, October 8, 2014.
A new study from the University of Nevada and the Kinsey Institute surveyed 5,481 single Americans, of which 2,121 were single parents. The participants were asked questions about their sex lives, including how often they had sex and how many dates they had been on in a certain time period. According to the article cited above, the results were clear – single parents “were having similar amounts of sex as their non-childrearing counterparts.” This surprised researchers, who surmised, “[s]ingle parents of young children are expected to invest in less mating effort, specifically devoting less time and energy to seeking, finding, and maintaining a sexual relationship…in part because single parents of young children are investing in more parenting effort.” In fact, single parents with children under the age of five, who presumably need to spend more time with their children, were more sexually active than single parents with older children. This may be because this group reported more first dates, which may have resulted in a higher frequency of sexual activity.
If you are a sexually active single parent (and, according to this study, if you are a single parent you likely are sexually active), be sure to keep this activity completely separate from your custodial time with your children. Not only is it sure to draw ire from your ex, but also having a new boyfriend/girlfriend around all the time may be confusing or uncomfortable for your children. Moreover, having several new “friends” in and out all the time may be even more confusing. There is nothing wrong with a single parent having a dating/sex life, but, as a parent, it is important to put your child’s needs and feelings first.