Sunday, September 30, 2007

A sleep partner is a wonderful thing

Last night, I cuddled close to my lovely husband, enjoying his presence. I love to hear him breathing, hear his heart beating, smell his unique scent, and feel his smooth skin and soft hair under my fingers, lips, and cheeks. I nuzzle his neck, arms, hair, and back while touching his hips, legs, and torso with my fingertips. He is warm, cuddly, and does not pull away from me when I press myself against him. He permits me to touch him anywhere, everywhere, anytime; he is completely open to me all of the time, completely mine all of the time. He does not deny me a kiss or a touch, a hug or a smile. We have sex often, without restrictions or conditions attached, in many ways, with both of us enjoying it, neither submitting joylessly to the other.

I want to comment on the joy of sharing a bed with another human being. Somewhere in our recent history, this became strictly an adult privilege, with children left to face the nights alone. I never understood why our most emotionally vulnerable people are the ones who are abandoned nightly whilst their parents go off to share a bed with one another. Most of these parents are, in fact, unhappy and miserable if they have to spend a night apart from their spouse.

If we look at other cultures, the family tends to sleep together. The modern tendency to separate children from parents and one another is a recent phenomenon that occurs in Western culture. Western parents have been taught that they need to drill independence into their kids from birth, and I truly believe that this has emotionally crippled more of us than we'd like to admit. As for myself, I remember being horrifically lonely when sleeping alone, and when I was a teenager, I probably would have been a happier, more secure person if I could have shared my sleeping space--with the person of my choosing, of course.

If I had grown up in an earlier culture, I would have spent my childhood in a family bed, then married young so I did not have to sleep alone. While there are obvious negatives associated with being a woman in those days, I believe that it is completely unnecessary to sacrifice the good of family closeness. I honestly cannot imagine having grown up in a family bed, and the idea makes me cringe--but I believe that it only makes me cringe because of closeness and touching issues I have that are probably less prevalent in people who grow up with the family bed.

I began dating someone in college who became a very serious significant other, a relationship that lasted about three years. We would often take naps together, and the closeness of that was more gratifying to me than sex would have been. I had never before had the privilege of that type of contact since I was a small child. Curling up with another person for naps is a natural, wonderful activity, and I wish there were a way to not deny young people that joy. I know that most parents fear for their teenagers' chastity, but perhaps permitting the closeness of co-sleeping would make young people feel more emotionally secure and less likely to seek out sex out of a craving for basic human contact.

I don't have the answers here, and these are just my opinions and feelings, the things that result from reflecting upon my happy relationship.


JeanC said...

I knew my hubby was the one for me when I actually liked having him in my bed and I was able to fall asleep. Up until then, I didn't like to have anyone in my bed (unless it was for fun and games and then afterwards I wanted them out LOL). Now if hubby has to be gone for any length of time, I can't sleep and I am a nervous wreak in the morning without my hubby.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I was thinking about this. How children sleep with stuffed animals, and are supposed to get rid of those by a certain age.

I'm 25 and still sleep with a teddy-bear, albeit one of those giant teddy-bears. I think having a stuffed animal is a great way to feel like you're not alone sleeping, and have that comfort, without having another person sleep with you. I mean, how many girls would've put off that one-night stand if they had a teddy-bear to go home to instead?