March 21, 2007
In The Bedroom
Is a good night's sleep the new hot sex? With 25 percent of the population complaining of chronic insomnia, that's more than those complaining of sexual dissatisfaction, especially in the post Viagra world.
It used to be that the litmus test of a relationship was whether the guy stuck around for coffee the next morning after spending the night. But now it may simply be that he prefers his own bed and espresso maker. If you have created an individualized comfort zone with a pillow top mattress, six hundred thread count sheets, and a special down pillow that contours your bad neck, a rock solid double bed with a stiff blanket just won't cut it. Or vice versa. My bed is so soft and encompassing some say it's one step short of quicksand. There were times in the morning I'd have to dig out my Bichon Frise.
This isn't just a "your place or mine" problem. Men and women in good marriages sleeping in separate bedrooms actually made front page news in The New York Times. Architects have quietly been designing his and her bedrooms as well as his and her closets and baths. Many couples credit this separation with saving their marriages, not signaling the end of them. While snoring was an oft-cited complaint, there were other lesser offenders keeping couples apart — they may have compatible lives, but not sleeping styles.
I'm a need-my-space kind of gal with a super-cuddle guy, and short of putting on a collar and installing an invisible fence in the middle of the bed, I don't know how to maintain my half. There's so much unused bed space I've suggested putting it up on Craig's List for a summer share. Even when I was little I didn't hug my teddy bear — the bear, along with the rest of the stuffed animals were comfortably arranged on my little twin bed in their own space, and I would tuck into whatever was left.
Some psychologists have tried to examine sleeping styles and make conclusions about a couple's relationship. There is spooning, illegal spooning, and dance of the spoons. Who spoons whom may indicate the more giving partner, however if one spoons and the other moves away, and the original spooner continues their pursuit (which also happens to me until I get up and move around to the other side of the bed) this is considered illegal spooning. So now we need a referee as well as a psychologist in the bedroom. Thank goodness it's a California King. The only position that raises a real red flag is "the crab." Here one partner is literally crawling halfway off the bed with a leg or arm headed to the floor, as if to escape, or ends up head-to-toe, indicating going in different directions.
But before videotaped sleep sessions are presented in court, it is important to realize that certain causes of insomnia have nothing to do with the other person. Diet and stress are two major factors as well as having a TV or computer in the bedroom. Satisfying sleep requires darkness and quiet as well as a comfortable temperature. Well, as long as his perfect zone isn't her arctic or her preferred temperature his tropics. Hmmm, maybe everyone should just go back to complaining about sex.
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