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I can’t climax quietly – and I’m worried my teenage kids will hear me

I am a married woman in my 50s who enjoys an active and enjoyable sex life. Unfortunately, I can’t climax any more without a great deal of drama, including moaning, heavy breathing, even crying or shouting. We have teenage children and I worry about the embarrassment that I might cause them. Do you think they are likely to be adversely affected? And do you have any tips for how to have quieter sex?

Rather than trying to gag your natural response, it might be better to do what many people do in family households – find time to have sex when your children are not at home, or find an alternative location. Some people believe that making love should be spontaneous, and are unwilling to plan it, but in fact, making preparations can actually enhance the experience.

In your case it would be very wise, since your concern about it suggests you are now pairing sexual pleasure with anxiety about your children, which may eventually negatively affect your sexual response.

In certain situations, an erotic experience can actually be heightened when there is an impediment present, such as the potential for someone to hear you – but that would be inappropriate here.

In general, while it’s not a bad thing for children to become aware that their parents have sex lives, there is a chance they may feel uncomfortable about it and judge or resent you for it if they find out in the wrong manner.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.

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