Sleep And Sex: Snuggling, Cuddling and Giving Each Other Space

couple cuddling or having sex in bed

There is no one right way to sleep, whether alone or with a partner. And yet some people have particular ideas about how they want to share a bed with a romantic or sexual partner.

One couple I know, for example, relishes their king sized bed. Though both are slender, they are also both tall and they enjoy their space. When they told some married friends about their new (at the time) king bed purchase, their friends were a bit horrified: they would never, they said, want to be in anything bigger than a double or queen sized bed as they liked to snuggle close at night.

Me? I’m a snuggler. As if you would guess anything else if you are a regular reader given my love of hearts and my adoration of love and romance as concepts and as reality. But snuggling isn’t the one and only way to do it.

Some people need their space while they sleep. They may kick – or else they may get kicked often by a restless partner – or they may feel very warm and overheated while they sleep and in need of a cool pillowcase, cool sheets and distance between them and a partner.

Other people crave touch. They want to be touched, kissed or to snuggle close. They may want to sleep close and feel the way their partner’s body changes should their partner become sexually aroused as they are about to drift off or wake up. Being able to nonverbally communicate desire through the closeness of touch can be a way to kick start late night sex, middle of the night sex or morning sex.

There are other sleep styles too (which side of the bed? Naked or clothed? Night owl or morning person? Socks or barefoot?) but we’ll save those for another day. In the mean time, consider what your needs are in regard to closeness and how you can connect with your partner and figure out what will work well for the two of you.

If you are both snugglers or space-cravers, then you’re set. But often people have slight differences in preferences which may be addressed if both people are to feel understood and/or loved or wanted. If you and your partner have different sleep needs, try to discuss them so that you can both feel content in bed – after all, a shared bed has much potential to feel like a place of safe harbor where one can rest, relax and recharge. Where one can feel loved and cherished and adored, and like nothing in the outside world matters besides their touching of feet and their touching of hearts.

Related MSP Posts:
- Sexual fantasies aren’t always about sex
- Playing with men’s testicles: fun sex games
- How to have sex in the shower (comfortably)

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • Tom

    I do wonder how some can sleep on their side, spoon and cuddle without getting numb or dead arms? wouldn’t more sleep closer if this was by such an issue?

  • Tom

    I do wonder how some can sleep on their side, spoon and cuddle without getting numb or dead arms? wouldn’t more sleep closer if this was by such an issue?

  • Alicia

    Gosh my partner suffocates me, as much as I care for them it’s horrible horrible horrible. I’m all for snuggling with the right person and sharing space but when you wake up at 4 in the morning and you realize you’re trapped in an awkward position and your hair is being eaten, there is a problem. How do you address that without making them feel uncomfortable?

  • Alicia

    Gosh my partner suffocates me, as much as I care for them it’s horrible horrible horrible. I’m all for snuggling with the right person and sharing space but when you wake up at 4 in the morning and you realize you’re trapped in an awkward position and your hair is being eaten, there is a problem. How do you address that without making them feel uncomfortable?

  • jh

    i get really warm at night. I love snuggling with my partner and I try hard to stay close to her at night. Sometimes we both get really hot, but there is something really nice about waking up holding on to the person you love so much.

  • jh

    i get really warm at night. I love snuggling with my partner and I try hard to stay close to her at night. Sometimes we both get really hot, but there is something really nice about waking up holding on to the person you love so much.