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30 Percent of You Say Your Pets Affect Your Sex Life, New Study Says

Scratching at the door and barking beside the bed aren't exactly turn-ons.

We adore our pets for so many reasons: their snuggles, silliness, and the way they inject joy into every day. But sometimes, despite our love for them, we need to take a break from our four-legged pals—and one of those times is during moments of intimacy. While locking your pet out of the bedroom when things get busy isn't required, it can potentially set a more romantic tone. That's especially true given the findings of recent research. Here, we break down the learnings of a study on pets and intimacy. Plus, we get advice from sex experts on finding a middle ground you and Fido can agree on.

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A new survey studied pets' impact on intimacy.

Happy smiling young golden retriever dog under light gray plaid. Pet warms under a blanket in cold winter weather. Pets friendly and care concept.

Has your pet ever interfered with a moment of intimacy? PetSmart surveyed pet owners across the U.S. to see how people responded to that question. According to the survey, which was shared with Best Life, 30 percent of people say they believe they'd have more intimate moments if they were free from the worries of pet distraction.

Another part of the survey found that 28 percent of pet owners allow their pets to stay in the room during sex. That's despite the fact that 58 percent of respondents say they are distracted by their pets during moments of intimacy, and 63 percent have said they're stopped having sex because of their pets.

Whether or not your pets are a distraction depends on you, your partner, and your pet.

Romantic couple at home share tenderness with cat

Like many decisions around sex and intimacy, choosing whether or not to allow pets in the room is entirely personal. It's also based on your animal and their personality and behavior.

"If you have a mischievous cat that loves to climb all over everything, they may not be the best addition to the bedroom during intimate moments," says Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, of The Heights Treatment. "On the other hand, a calm and loving dog might actually help create a more relaxing atmosphere."

Have an honest discussion with your partner to see how you both feel about a pet's presence. You can make a decision from there and update it as needed. 

Know that a pet could disrupt the vibe.

Young couple relaxing on the bed with her pet dog

In many cases, the goal of intimate moments is to have them be solely about you and your partner—and pets could interfere with that dynamic.

"Some people who have thought it would be fine to leave a pet in the room have found it rather unsettling when their pet began to try to get affection during sexual activity by licking certain parts of their bodies to try and get attention," says Lisa Lawless, PhD, a psychotherapist and CEO of Holistic Wisdom. "Couples are often surprised and find it quite off-putting."

If you have a feeling that might happen, it might be best to block your pet from the bedroom or provide them with a distraction.

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Either way, consider your and your pet's safety.


Pets can do more than kill the vibe during intimacy. There's also the potential for harm. So, when making your decision, you'll want to consider your and your pet's safety and well-being.

"If a pet is likely to become anxious or disruptive during intimate moments, it may be best to keep them out of the room to prevent any accidents or injuries," says Nina Nguyen, sex educator and LGBTQ+ expert. "Additionally, some pets may become territorial or protective of their owners and may become aggressive toward their partners during intimate moments, which can be dangerous for everyone involved." In that case, removing them from the room is best.

If you do remove your pet, you'll want to ensure they're set up for a brief period alone. Once you're back, give them lots of snuggles.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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