We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, September 21. 2010
I mean literally sleeping together - spouses sleeping in the same bed - not the other meaning. If any readers can help me find out the history of this habit, please let me know.
I do know that the wealthy and the nobility traditionally have had separate private suites and that beds and bedrooms are expensive, so I wonder whether bed-sharing began as a matter of lack of wealth more than anything else. Seems to me that separate suites could potentially be more romantic and more independent-adult.
It's a socio-anthropological question.
If anybody has time or interest to research the history of the topic for me, I'd appreciate it.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Two words - "Central Heating" - at least for northern latitudes.
Without night-time supplemental heat, the more the merrier in bed. In the tropics, one prefers separate beds and lots of ventilation.
Twilight Doubleheaders aren't just for baseball...
In traditional Judaism, sex is a no-no during menstruation. So this kinda mandates separate beds.
I once read a study that people don't sleep as well in double beds.
My guess is that couples sleep together because they want to.
I just sleep better when in bed with my wife. Sounds trite, but it's true. It makes me feel good.
true story: a few years ago, I was talking to a thirty-something fellow we were doing business with. I off-handledly said I would be staying at my place in town that night. He immediately puffed up and said "does your wife know about this apartment?". I was just rolling because she and I own that building together. Paula sees the expenses and income (minimal). People see what they want.
Dumb story, but true.
Actually, I've got to figure that it all started out because of space limitations.
If you have a three room house and eight kids, you are never going to have a ninth one if you don't stay in the same bed. And another bed would have been a fairly great expense, back then.
But one does get used to it. After 38 years and change, I'm profoundly used to having a wife (and usually a dog) sharing the sleeping space. The dog gets exiled to the couch when and as required, and we have a California King bed, which means that we really both have our own, but they adjoin whenever we want them to.
I've gone for months in the recliner or on the couch when my lady was recovering from both of her back surgery sessions and didn't need anything moving around at night. But we both are used to the company, and both sleep better when we're both there.
Granted that anecdotes aren't research, but that's all I've got on it, and it works for me.
I have the time certainly, but I wouldn't even know where to begin. Historically? Anthropologically? (Is that even a word?)
With respect to us, we have a 20X25 Master Bedroom with attached bath which we share as a kind of day room, but the sleeping section is partitioned. The Mrs. is a deep sleeper (her room mate in college loves to tell the story of her sleeping straight through a fire in the dorm) and a snorer. I am a light sleeper and need white noise to even get to sleep never mind sleeping. A good friend of mine is a sound engineer and he used some baffling techniques and a very nice looking sound curtain so we sleep seperate sleeping arrangements in the same room.
Hey - it works.
Heh - speaking of dogs and couches, my dogs were not furniture sleepers being crate trained. When my two Border Collies passed on, that left me with Suzie D. Dog a Dobermann. She was devastated that her two buds were gone, so I took pity on her, bought her a nice bed for the living room and blocked the furniture with some wicker baskets. That lasted for about a week - she stayed on the floor in her bed until one morning I got up and the wicker baskets were placed very carefully on the floor and she was snoring away on our new couch. :>)
So after a man/dog counseling session I thought I had the problem solved, but just in case, I put a baby camera on the mantle aimed at the couch and watched for a couple of nights.
Sure enough - she would remove the baskets one by one, set them down and them very carefully get on the couch. I can only assume she put them back in the morning.
Clever girl is Suzie. :>)
Food for thought: Aristocracy did not marry for love, but for political reasons. If the relationship is "less than loving", it would make more sense for the couple to have separate sleeping arrangements. That, and the number of aristocrats who had what we would nowadays call an "open" relationship.
Those not of the aristocracy would have a monogamous relationship, be more dedicated to each other, would be married more for love or child-rearing than the aristocracy.
So, in my estimation, while income makes a difference in whether the couple sleeps in one bed or two, the purpose of the relationship (political vs. love) would make more of the difference.
In the middle ages in Europe at least, most entire families had only 1 bedstead, shared by everyone (parents, children, sometimes more generations).
Aristocracy were the exception to the rule.
I sleep better alone, and even better on memory foam alone. And way better without dogs walking around sighing, jumping on and off the bed all night or breathing on my face. One of my major beefs is that I wind up with about 1/8 of the mattress, and a small trapezoidal area at that. I am united in matrimony with a man who goes diagonal in his sleep and slumbers away in spite of swift jabs of elbow, comments, and flashing a light in his face. Owls mating on the roof once woke the otherwise inert, diagonal spouse. He sat upright and exclaimed that the Viet Cong were here. Then he went back to sleep. Diagonally.
IMO space dictated.
Wealth or power pretty much means you have the amount of space you want. So separate beds, suites, or even homes in a compound may be maintained.
In warm climes there is no advantage in sleeping close together. But it may be economically necessary for the poor because space can be dear in densely populated cities.
One point to consider is that group sleeping arrangements may be wired into us from way back. Early humans likely slept in groups for warmth, security, and bonding. As their living arrangements grew more secure, the need to sleep in groups would have been lessened. As human society evolved into more distinct units - from tribes to family groups- and stratified, these changes would again result in changes to those arrangements. One also should not discount other factors such as climate, social taboos, resource availability and social stability.
#10 is correct, I believe.
Until well into the 20th century most Northern Europeans lived in small houses in which separate beds, let alone separate rooms for husband and wife would have been almost impossible. In big families, many children shared not just a room, but a bed.
I presume that it was much the same for most people in America.
The thought of not sleeping in the same bed as my wife has never really occurred to me (but then I am the heavy sleeper and oblivious to her elbows)
Also, before central heating, there would be some comfort in sharing a bed in winter.
The personal space which many of us take for granted in our houses did not exist for most people until relatively recently
Any meaningful survey needs to reflect several variables: space available, income, family size, strength of each libido (if any), age and ancillary habits. I've heard that snoring, restless legs, and excess (just what is excess?) gas are deciding factors for some.
My grandparents slept in separate rooms their last 20 years. My wife and I sleep separately only when one of us is sick. We have lots of room and no kids anymore.
I want my husband in my bed, and as many additional mammals as he will permit.