Fifty Shades of Touch of Grey: 10 Valentine’s sex tips for aging parents

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster ( his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva who needs to stay asleep in her own room for once.

Valentine’s weekend is coming, which means there’s very little excuse for not having sex with your spouse. Time has not been kind to you though, with the one two punch of postgraduate work and fertility treatments eating up your best years, and little feet padding down the hall in the wee hours chipping away at your libido. Now thanks to a winter full of snow shovelling, the only thing you think will be bulging and throbbing this weekend is your bad spinal disc.

So how do you, the mature modern parent, rouse the fading spark of romance this weekend after your obligatory rose bouquet has wilted and your overpriced prix fixe dinner has been consumed? Here are some tips from our Cupid’s arrow, sure to make you quiver:

Manage your sexytime playlist

Kinky as it may sound, “Doc McStuffins: Time For Your Check Up” is not a Bedroom Jam. “Ripped Pants” might sound like an R Kelly song, but it’s a Spongebob song. And “Bananas in Pajamas” is not by Marvin Gaye. Take control of the technology you’re setting on the nightstand – before you turn off the lights and hit “shuffle,” get the baby entertaining music away from your baby making music. And please note: “I’m a Mess,” “Clean it Up,” “Ice Cream Cone,” “Magic Box” and “Little Red Caboose?” Those are all by Laurie Berkner.

To paraphrase Noel Coward …

After a certain age, “sex is a question of lighting.” You can only get to the gym so often, and even if you do, you can’t run off old. What the treadmill can’t take care of needs flattering lighting, or no lights at all. So strip the room of fluorescents and floods before the action even gets started.

Clear the playing field

Nothing shuts down the lovin’ faster than rolling over onto a Littlest Pet Shop or getting an errant Bionicle in the tuchus. Change the sheets, shake out the comforter and vacuum from the bed to the bathroom and back before a sexy romp turns into an embarrassing trip to the ER to have a lightsaber removed with tweezers.

Clear the other playing field

This is the 21st Century – unkempt body hair went out with dial-up modems. Plus, you’re aging, and your swimsuit area is starting to look like an aerial shot of Maude. Do your partner and your self respect a favor and grab the clippers.

Eliminate distractions

Shut off the text notifications – you don’t need to know if you won that Masterpiece Optimus Prime on eBay. Turn off the ice maker on the freezer. Replace the smoke detector batteries. Turn off the cat – can you turn off the cat? And, of course, kennel your children.


It’s not just for running. If you’re going to be screaming and spasming, it shouldn’t be because you got a charlie horse.

Consider your diet

Curry and red meat make you smell bad. Garlic and asparagus make you taste bad. And that seven course meal with wine pairings is more likely to make you go to sleep until Feb. 15, than make your engine rev on the 14th. So put down the Portillo’s combo “sangweech,” at least until brunch the morning after.

Except for …

… the foods that spice things up in the boudoir. Whether it’s the blackberries and strawberries for your “9 1/2 Weeks” routine or sexy super foods like ginger and ginseng. And every Chicagoan knows that spicy giardiniera is the greatest of aphrodisiacs – take a tablespoon of Marconi before you get busy and she’ll be glad you did.

Consider in advance your erotic parlance

Not everyone was meant to talk dirty, but sometimes it’s demanded. If you don’t have the gift of gab between the sheets, perhaps a little rehearsal is in order. You’ve been talking like a parent for so long, you’re bound to kill the mood if you blurt out, “Have you been naughty? You know what naughty girls get, don’t you? I’ll tell you … A time out in the time out chair and then you have to tell me why I’m so disappointed in what you just did. Then brush your teeth and go to sleep with no cartoons.”

Not hot.

And if you don’t succeed, remember what those fans of the “Lovable Losers” on the North side say …

There’s always next year.

Happy Valentine’s Day and good luck.

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe to the WDP podcast (One of Podbean’s 10 most downloaded Parenting Podcasts worldwide and an iTunes staff pick for best Parenting humor) for free on iTunes, or listen at (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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