I recently came across an interesting and thought-provoking article online. The article reported on findings of a strong correlation between a couple’s overall level of happiness, and their preference for sleeping very close together.
Of course, there are perfectly contented couples who need to have “personal space” in order to sleep comfortably. Personally, though, I was not surprised to read about these findings. My wife and I sleep in various creatively-intertwined poses— a state that we call contentedly “inter-twingled”. We may settle into our own individual side-by-side spaces, after a while; but we almost always start off lovingly in each other’s arms (and legs).
In that intimate space, we take the time to unwind, and to share the day’s highlights with one another. For us, this is the most “real” and valued time of each day. (My wife Penny is convinced that we should start a “cuddle institute”— indeed, we have recently read about at least a few entrepreneurial ladies who are apparently doing very well by offering (non-sexual) cuddle-time to their clients. Again not too surprising, since we live in such a hands-off, touch-starved society…
There is something primal and elemental about being in close proximity to someone you love. It goes far beyond that sexual, and deep into the territory of the intimate. As I noted in an earlier post, we humans are neurologically “wired” for touch, as are our primate cousins. Warm and accepting touch conveys caring, acceptance and safety, in a way that no words can remotely approach.
Sleeping in close proximity is especially satisfying for couples who sleep naked. The electric frisson of skin-on-skin absolutely conveys a flow of energy between partners. Such intimate connection allows each partner to both give and receive marvelous sensations, through gentle brushes of hands or limbs, or the whisper of warm breath, or the reassuring murmur of a loved one’s peaceful heartbeat. Skin-on-skin contact is the foundation of sensual touch (and a possible though not necessary gateway to sexual sparks).
In our culture (as in many others), people walk around surrounded by an inviolable “bubble” of personal space. That perhaps gives one a sense of control and safety— I’m not sure I understand the underlying psychology, though I too value having some space, and I get uncomfortable in jam-packed conditions. Still, with those who are important to me, I welcome physical contact. That can range from a casual brush of a hand, through warm and open eye-contact, and on into the myriad forms that sensual, sexual intimate touch takes. I find all such touch to be deeply satisfying and validating, and I know that my partners equally value it.
Sleeping in cozy conjunction has a lot to offer. Give it a try, if it isn’t part of your usual routine. It can work wonders to reinforce links of caring, as one of the many ways in which caring partners can reach out to one another. Sleep tight!