25/09/2012 17:57 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Would You Have Sex While Your Baby Is In The Same Room, Or Bed?

Would you have sex while your baby is in the same room, or bed? Alamy

We all know how snatched sex becomes for exhausted new parents, especially when you are breastfeeding and your baby is sleeping in your bedroom.

So it's hardly surprising that most parents can identify with the debate around whether or not it's OK to make love whilst your little one is asleep beside you.

A recent survey shows that most of us shattered new parents have slept with our partner, with our newborn sleeping in the same room, however much it goes against our better judgment.

Some parents even admit to making love while their child is sleeping in the same bed, to the contention of others.

As mum-of-two Lynnea Shrief discovered when she admitted (live on breakfast TV) to having sex sessions with her husband in the same bed as her children were sleeping 'up until they were between nine and 12 months old'.

Blissfully unaware of the ripple effect her shock revelation was having, she went to describe how they hid her 'squeals of delight' with a pillow.

It was fine, her child was asleep, she said. Within minutes her comments had prompted widespread debate nationwide; jaws hit floors and shock factor hit ceilings as other mums spat their proverbial dummies onto breakfast tables nationwide.

"Disgusting!" shouted one.

"Verging on child abuse," cried another.

The outrage was such that The Independent blogger Grace Jacobsen flew to Shrief's defense - and that of other time-poor 'frazzled' new parents.

Her actions are actually much more common than people think, she said, citing a recent survey in Sweden which concluded that one in three mothers have sex while their babies are in the same bed.

"That some parents have sex in the same bed as their sleeping baby is certainly not worthy of the abuse tag. Parents don't actively choose to drag their child into bed with them upon the initiation of sex. It is simply a matter of convenience. If that happens to be in close proximity to a sleeping baby, who, after two hours of colic-reducing tummy-rubs and lullabies, finally closes their eyes, then I say go for it," she said.

Adding piquantly, "And in the past, I have."

So far, so murky. Evidently emotions around the subject run high. But is this behaviour fair on the child? We asked the experts to clear the waters.

According to family law expert Anne-Marie Hutchinson having sex with your partner while your child is sleeping in the same room, or even bed, is OK up until the point at which a child becomes aware of what is going on around him/her.

What is more difficult is pin-pointing the age at which it stops being OK, she explains. "It differs from child to child," she says. "The individual parent is the best person to determine what stage this would be."

Legally, it only really becomes an issue once a child becomes aware of their surroundings, she explains. "For example, if we were talking about a toddler, or a bright 18-month-old, I would be surprised if social services didn't intervene."

Marital therapist and author Andrew G Marshall's view is don't ever involve your child with your sex life.

"It's a no-go area," he says. "Never have sex in the same room as a newborn, baby or child. Quite apart from the effect it has on your newborn, it sends out all the wrong messages to your partner. It says: 'You're not important enough to carve out a few minutes of my private time."

"Worse still, it says to yourself, 'I don't deserve pleasure because I have to be constantly on duty.'

If you're in bed with your partner (and the baby is in the same room) stick to kissing, stroking and cuddling, he urges, as this will help you feel close and intimate without the guilt-factor.

It sounds like good advice to me. Clearly, if you stick to it you won't have to worry about having social services knocking on your door.

More on Parentdish: Pepping up your sex life post kids