Small dog in bed

Pets Ruin Sex Lives? Facts and Tips on Happy Sex while Owning Pets

Ah, pets. We love them. So much so, in fact, that 77% of US households (85 million families) own a pet. 

But is there a downside to owning an animal? Especially when it comes to amorousness? 

Sadly, so. 

Pets Wreck Sex

Okay, that might be a tad overdramatic, but it’s not entirely unfounded. There are a number of ways that owning a pet (especially a cat or a dog) can have a negative effect on maintaining a happy and healthy sex life. 

Here are just a few that we currently know about:

Sleep 

Did you know that pet owners who let their companion animal sleep with them in bed are more likely to get 8 hours of sleep a night? Sadly, this isn’t because they’re happily meeting sleep regulations; it’s much more to do with the fact that sleeping with an animal disrupts REM sleep and general sleep to such a notable degree that the body tries to sleep more in order to compensate.

The results are typically less than optimal, and result in sleeplessness which, in turn, can cause low mood, increased stress, and low libido. 

Just one way that man’s best friend is stealing sexual opportunities from their owners. 

Territorial Issues

Dogs and cats are likely to be territorial over their owners. The result is an animal that tries to disrupt sex even when you and your play mate or partner are in the mood. 

There’s nothing more infuriating then being thrown off mid-sex, but animal interruptions and intrusions are responsible for 31% of sexual decreases in European households that contain a pet. That’s not an insignificant amount at all. 

Competition 

On a more emotional side of relationships, pets can often feel like competition when it comes to the affection and time of a partner; so much so that a survey by Pet Life today found that over 1,000 of those surveyed felt they were in direct competition with their partner’s pet for attention. 

Of those surveyed 31% of those dating dog owners and 26% of those dating cat owners felt like their partner’s love was divided away from them. 

This, in turn, causes an emotional intimacy gap which directly translates to less sexual intimacy, leading to a relationship which needs more than just frequent sex to bring it back to a healthy position. 

Noise

To top all of this off, sometimes there are logistical hindrances too. Some pets whine, scratch, or yelp when shut out of certain places. This not only causes a disruption in mood but acts as a serious noise complaint risk if neighbours or room mates get involved. Issues like this are especially irritating if you or your partner dislikes having an animal in the room when engaging in sexual activities, as it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario…or is it?…

Solutions

Thankfully there are a few simple solutions to the hindrance that pets can have to a love life. 

The most obvious solution is, sadly, not to have pets; or, if you do, opt for pets that are less time demanding and more prone to happy independence. 

Hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and African pygymy hedgehogs are all examples of mammalian pets that can offer a good degree of companionship while also still being low maintenance.

Then, of course, you have more exotic pets, though these come with their own set of issues (like, for example, is your partner or sexual playmate/s comfortable with having live feed in the house). 

Many people consider birds as a good passive companion buy be careful – a lot of birds are actually very high maintenance, especially in terms of social time. Cockatoos, for example, will pluck their feathers out if not given enough time by their owners. 

As for the issues that may already exist because of pets, here are a few more practical suggestions:

Sleep 

As harsh as it sounds, it is preferable for both yourself and your companion animal if you don’t share a communal sleeping room (or bed). 

Not only will your love life thank you for having the divide, but a lot of animals also have their sleep disrupted by sharing sleeping grounds, so you’re actually improving the wellbeing of your pet too. 

Have a separate basket, dog crate, or room where your pet sleeps and be strict in reinforcing it. This will alleviate many REM related issues. 

Territorial Issues

If you do have a territorial pet then the process of integrating your animal and partner/s will be harder but very rewarding. Again, division of sleeping areas is important, but you might also wish to allow your significant other to be in charge of offering food, or suggest a certain amount of play and training sessions a week with your animal. 

Have your partner put one of their used shirts or other piece of clothing in the sleeping area of your animal to put them at ease with their scent.

If all else fails an animal behaviourist might be needed, but try these solutions before putting money in to a more professional route. 

Competition

If things are getting serious between yourself and someone and you’re aware they feel second best to your pet then it is up to you to talk to them, understand why they feel how they do, and try to come to a mutually beneficial solution. Remember; if you love someone then it’s important to give them a certain amount of time and attention, as you’d equally expect from them. 

If you’re struggling to see their side of things then imagine being in their shoes and think about how you’d feel if your needs came second place to a feline friend or similar. 

If, on the other hand, you’re the one being left out then arrange some time to discuss this with your partner. Don’t accuse them of anything, just let them know how you feel and ask if there’s a way that you can come to a resolution. A relationship will work if you want it to work, and are willing to work for it in partnership.

Noise

Again, a tricky one, and more long term to resolve, but detachment noises need to be addressed whether or not sex is at risk, so consider dealing with this issue a holistically beneficial one. 

Nowadays there are a few things on the market that can help calm pets with separation anxiety. Vests, for example, have been made that give animals comfort, as have herbal remedies that you put in their water. 

Do your research in to separation anxiety for the species you own and experiment on the best options from there. 

Again, none of these solutions are fool-proof and, at times, you may still need to contact a professional. However, we’re sure that these hints will give you a firm starter when it comes to making sure your love of your animal doesn’t get in the way of you own animalistic desires.

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