Sex v Sleep
Of all the modern-day dilemmas we face – Sauvignon Blanc v Pinot Gris, iPhone v Galaxy, Kanye v Taylor – sex v sleep is right up there for having the capacity to create domestic disharmony.
This dilemma is something I talk about in my book, but was brought to my attention again recently when I was out with friends for dinner – three female and one male (I promised I wouldn’t use their names – but have their permission to talk about the conversation). The topic of my book came up and then ensued a discussion that followed this path: book sales, how well the book has been received, discussions my friends had had with their friends about the book and topic, lengthy discussion my male friend had had with his friends about my book and the topic. And that’s where the discussion started to become interesting.
One of the females announced “Honestly, I would rather have a great night’s sleep than have sex”. Personally, I couldn’t agree more. However, the other female and the male were rather stunned.
Having argued strenuously in my book that sleep and sex don’t have to be in competition, I armed myself with all the logic and convincing anecdotes to diffuse this needless argument (kind of like the battle of the sexes) and put everyone’s mind, heart (and loins) at rest.
But I couldn’t get a word in.
My friends dived headlong into a rather vigorous verbal stoush (Australian slang for argument – for any overseas readers) on the topic. I’m sure you can imagine the arguments from both teams around intimacy, health, happiness, relationship ‘duties’ (I did have to comment on THAT one), needs, wants, practicalities, etc, etc.
Unsurprisingly, there was no resolution – that’s because there isn’t one.
It’s one of the aspect of sleep and relationships that every couple has to work out themselves. And that working out will be easy for some, not for others – a common theme to most relationships.
There are some good debates on the ‘sex v sleep’ dilemma and some good background material on the benefits and pitfalls of both as an activity. Here are a few links.
Is sex or sleep better for you? Daily Mail UK.
I’d rather be snoring? New York Mag
[ AN ASIDE; An interesting modern take on the sleep v sex debate is the impact that memory foam mattresses are having on sex. All based around an inability of people to get ‘traction’ on their mattress.
Sex or Sleep? Yahoo Finance
This modern-day dilemma is an unforeseen consequence of those couples (or individuals in a couple) who have been drawn to the benefits of memory-foam mattresses to aid in better sleep.
In a tongue in cheek response to the above issue, Sealy ran this commercial during the 2011 Superbowl. V good.
End of aside]
So…… is there a solution to this dilemma?
What is the right decision? Should you give up sex because you need sleep? Or do you sacrifice sleep to have sex?
The Jennifer Adams solution is simple – there is no right answer. Neither sleep nor sex is more important than the other.
(I must admit though that if I was really pushed, say a gun to the head scenario, I might have to sway in favour of sleep as I don’t think anyone ever died from not having sex. There may be those who would argue this with me, but I’m confident in my assertion and would welcome both the debate and any proof they have).
I would suggest that for couples who sleep separately, the ‘sex v sleep’ dilemma is less of an issue. There is no choice between sleep and sex when you have your own beds. The good thing is you have both. AND the sex can be more exciting, AND the sleep can be more beneficial because it’s undisturbed. AND separate sleepers are better rested than most, so their sex lives may just be a little better anyway, due to better physical, emotional and mental health. I’m just saying…
Separate beds DON’T mean less sex. Separate beds DON’T mean you have chosen sleep over sex. Separate beds just mean you have chosen sleep to stay healthy. The sex is a whole other part of the relationship to manage.
I did manage to get this slice of opinion into the spirited debate.
Anyway. My bigger picture approach to the dilemma is that we need to stop framing the dilemma as ‘sex v sleep’ and just think about ‘sex and sleep’ – two activities that are part of a healthy, happy relationship and need to be prioritised and balanced as needed.
(BTW: After dinner I went home, had sex with my husband and then sleep peacefully all night in my own room. Where’s the dilemma?)