Remember the impertinent line, "Do you like to sleep in the nude?"
Today, the rejoinder has a twist: "Yes, I always sleep in the nude— by myself!"
The Times has ripped the covers off (sorry!) yet another shocking trend that I seem to be a part of: couples who don't sleep the night together, who have separate beds or rooms to get their forty winks.
Apparently, it's all the rage, but strictly on the QT— as spouses are afraid to give the appearance of not liking each other, or giving up on sex.
If they'd interviewed me, this is what I would've said:
Do you sleep the night with your lover?
No, not since we moved in together, when I was in my mid-30s. I sleep in my own room, and own bed.
I was sleep-deprived since my first pregnancy, but when my partner's snoring kept me awake, I lost my last shred of equilibrium. One day I said, "I love you to death, but if I don't get to sleep at night, I'm going to kill you."
Is it all his fault, the snoring?
No. At this point, I can't sleep well with anyone. Not my daughter, not my ex, not my best friends. I'm bad in bed. I look back on the time I slept with six people in a three-person tent on a wood pallet in ten inches of Alaska rain, and think, "How did I do it?"
How does it affect your sex life?
It's essential, it's great. I associate being in bed together with making love, fooling around, cuddling, napping, talking, being close... not agonizing hours lying awake.
It's fun to visit each other's bed chambers. We have really different environments.
So it's not just the bed, it's the whole room?
Yeah, my room is my solace, the place where everything suits me.
Don't you ever accidentally fall asleep together?
Sure, for a few hours, it's delicious. But then one of us always wakes up.
What about traveling?
That's hard. When we visit folks who don't know us well, they look a little alarmed, as if we were getting a divorce. It's only by observing us be affectionate with each other that they relax. I've had lots of people tell me they want to do the same thing, but they're afraid of such a notion being taken as an insult. It's a silly misapprehension, but I understand... I had to screw up my courage in the beginning, too.
The real hardship is that "two beds" simply demands more room, and I do feel guilty about that. "I'm a spoiled pig, a princess who has to have her forty mattresses and still bitches about a pea." I wish I could sleep through anything, absolutely anywhere, as I did as a kid.
In hotels, we ask for King-size, a fun novelty. I also partake in white noise, earplugs, Ambien for the worst nights, recordings of crickets on the river I took from camping last year, etc.
Did it hurt Jon's feelings when you first asked to separate beds?
He believed me and my intentions— but yes, he thought it was weird, and maybe a bad sign... like, what's next? But that changed really fast. Once well-rested, sanity returns. Now he's just as hardcore, as covetous of his bed as I am of mine.
Do you ever sleep or have sex on your partner's bed when he's not there?
I love to sleep on his bed when I'm missing him, when he's not home. It makes me pine, in a good way.
Solo sex, sure. I feel completely comfortable there. Other people? For some reason, my bed has been the social spot of the house, for chatting, eating, reading, sex, working, whatever. I've think I once had a banquet and simultaneous dance party on my queen-size mattress. My lover's bedroom is more hidden, and quiet— no one goes in there except us. I hadn't thought about that until right now...
Do you, like some of the experts in the article, chalk up the sleeping separation to your mobility and independence as a "modern" woman?
That was very provocative, but no, it never occurred to me. I thought I was just a hormone-wrecked post-baby lunatic who never bounced back. Every year I become more a fussbudget, as much as I try to hide it. I yearn to be easy-going— both awake and asleep— but apparently I'm just part of the overstimulated mob!
So how are you sleeping?