I’ve been busy. Over the weekend, I:
*Went to my chapter meeting, where our speaker, Carly Phillips, confessed to having a writing process almost as messy as mine. I love her for it.
*Went sailing. And I promise, I will post more about it and some pictures later this week.
*Finished the draft of SOAS. Yay!!!

I actually have a lot to blog about, and I am just now getting the time to do it. But today is Tuesday, so all that other stuff will just have to wait.

Before my friend contacted me last week with her hair-removal emergency, I got to thinking about sleeping arrangements.

In old movies and TV shows, you see the couples sleeping in twin beds. Supposedly, Mike and Carol Brady were the first couple allowed to share a bed on-screen. (I meant to find some pictures, but I couldn’t! Let me know if you do.)

Those who read historicals know that, among the aristocracy, the husband and wife would have separate bedrooms. Separate suites of rooms, even. And this is often a point of romance and intimacy in a historical – when they have that, “I know most couples sleep in separate rooms, but we’re going to share” discussion. The idea of separate chambers just being the antithesis of romance.

But as I’ve … ahem… matured, I’ve come to know a lot of very loving couples who sleep in separate beds, or even separate rooms, for a variety of reasons. Maybe one snores. Maybe one is a restless sleeper. Maybe one likes to stay up late watching TV and the other doesn’t. Maybe one is nursing a child at all hours of the night. Maybe one chases her husband out of the room so she can write in peace, and half the time the poor guy just falls asleep on the sofa. (Sorry Mr. Dare!)

Seriously – the act of sleeping together isn’t really as simple as it sounds. It takes practice, and sometimes life makes it impractical. When Mr. Dare and I first started living together, he would roll over and clock me with an elbow – because he wasn’t used to me being there. I had bruises. We got it figured out eventually, but then (as a side effect of all that time in bed together, I guess) we had babies. And they were always in our room, or demanding one of us stay in theirs…

Do I have a point to this ramble? Ah, yes.

Do you know of, or have you been in, a loving relationship that thrives on separate beds? Or do you see them as the antithesis of romance?

18 comments to “TMI Tuesday – Sleeping Together”

  1. Gina Black
    · January 15th, 2008 at 8:37 am · Link

    Wish I’d known you were at the meeting. I was there too, but I didn’t see you. (Those OCC meetings are BIG.)

    Separate beds always sounds unromantic to me. The DH and I have been sharing a double bed for over ten years and somehow we manage. (In fact, I think he’s started snoring as a way of drowning out mine.)

    I read somewhere once that when couples sleep start sleeping in separate beds or rooms something important is lost in the marriage and I guess I think that’s probably true.

  2. Gillian Layne
    · January 15th, 2008 at 10:06 am · Link

    Oh, no, Gina! I couldn’t disagree more. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been married 20 years come October, and then of course hubby is away quite often because he travels when he works.

    Romance is a made up of a touch and a glance when there’s not time or privacy for anything more. Now, never sharing a bed again would be tragic, but I can’t imagine it killing a true love. Not talking is what does that.

    And it’s the wonderful thing about historical romance–a million delectable scenes can come from those separate sleeping arrangements.

    Congrats on finishing the draft, Tessa!

  3. Janga
    · January 15th, 2008 at 10:37 am · Link

    I don’t think intimacy is defined by sleeping arrangements. Not only do I know devoted couples who have separate bedrooms, but I also know some very cold couples who share a bedroom.

    Will I have all my romance credentials revoked if I confess that Katharine Hepburn’s idea of living next door and visiting often sounds like my ideal, although I would never use that scheme in a novel. 🙂

  4. Lindsey
    · January 15th, 2008 at 11:25 am · Link

    Great topic! I have to side with Janga and Katharine Hepburn. If only things had worked out between me and the guy across the street! 😉

    Sometimes I think sleeping together is romanticized even more than sex. I’ve read plenty of romances with bad sex, but I can’t think of one where the couple hates to sleep together. That’s probably just a gap in my reading, but I think it would be funny.

  5. CM
    · January 15th, 2008 at 12:11 pm · Link

    I think you can have a great romance without sleeping together, but I also think, personally, I prefer it.

    My boyfriend before Mr. Milan was wrong in all sorts of ways, but we really couldn’t sleep together. We’re both very light sleepers, and we’d wake each other up, and not be able to go back to sleep. It just didn’t work. It didn’t work for other reasons–that wasn’t the deal breaker, and I think had everything else been okay, it would have worked–but the first time I slept with Mr. Milan was absolute heaven. It was love at first sleep–and I do mean the sleep part, not the preceding part.

    I sleep better with him than without.

  6. terrio
    · January 15th, 2008 at 12:14 pm · Link

    Congrats, Tessa, on finishing and here’s to a messy process. I have one of those.

    And I’m pretty sure the first couple to share a bed on TV was Fred and Wilma. I just heard that, read that, last fall but now can’t remember where. I’ll have to go look it up.

    I remember as a child I loved to visit the elderly couple across the street, but I was always fascinated that their room had two slender twin beds. In fact, so did their guest room. There wasn’t even a double bed in the house but I don’t know if their entire marriage was that way. I think they had kids so something happened somewhere along the way.

    When I was married I shared a double bed with a 6’3″, 300lb man, a 75lb dog and a baby. I’m all for my own space now.

    But I’m with Gina, I think seperate beds would kill something. Or at least not help things.

    And, Janga, I love that quote. That sounds like the perfect arrangement to me.

  7. terrio
    · January 15th, 2008 at 12:18 pm · Link

    K, I looked it up. Turns out we were both wrong. Some show called Mary Kay and Johnny was the first.

    Here’s the info > http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/marykay.asp

  8. Santa
    · January 15th, 2008 at 3:39 pm · Link

    Congrats on finishing SOAS!

    I beg to differ, Terri. Fred and Ethal Mertz shared a bed. I remember the episode how, when on a cross country trip with the Ricardos, they demonstrated how they get ready for bed!

    So, Fred and Ethal shared a bed but Lucy and Ricky had a baby!

    I don’t think I’d care for separate beds since I have no circulation to speak of and so I rely on my DH to keep me warm. However, we do have different sleeping patterns. He goes to bed early and I tend to be a night owl.

  9. Maggie Robinson
    · January 15th, 2008 at 4:14 pm · Link

    My mother couldn’t wait for me to move out so she could take my room, LOL. I love my husband to pieces, but he likes to have the TV on all night long. He has one of those little ear bud things, which of course falls out when he sleeps. There I am, listening to a tiny little fairy voice, watching the TV flash, thinking about doing him serious bodily harm. There have been times when I picked up my blankie and crashed in my writing room. When I sleep, I must be totally cocooned in my own blanket, ears and mouth covered. We started on a pull-out couch, moved up to a brass double bed, oak queensize bed and now have a king. I could never go back to not having enough space to thrash around. And when the kids come home, they all get into bed with us, which is hilarious— 2 5’9′ daughters, 1 5’7″ daughter, and a 6’4″ son.

  10. Tessa Dare
    · January 15th, 2008 at 7:27 pm · Link

    Great comments, everyone!

    Gina – Please send me an email or something next month, so we can meet! Those meetings ARE huge. And I am really new and don’t know too many people yet.

    Janga, I knew a couple like that. They owned condos just a few doors down from each other and had been together 5 years. They just didn’t want to live together.

    You know, personally I think CM’s situation is ideal. If you sleep well with someone, it’s lovely. And I don’t know that I’d ever want a permanent separate bed arrangement – i do think that would be a little sad.

    But one thing I know (from firsthand experience) is that sleep deprivation is not conducive to one’s general good health – be it emotional well-being, the health of relationships, or physical health. So if two people love each other but can’t get quality sleep in the same bed… separate chambers it should be.

    And I must admit, I do sigh a little wistful sigh when I read about the heroine’s “suite of rooms”. I would enjoy my own suite of rooms: dressing room, sitting room, my own bathroom… lovely dream, that.

  11. Darcy Burke
    · January 15th, 2008 at 11:24 pm · Link

    Great topic. I always thought, “Separate beds, never!” But, after 16 years of marriage (and a husband who began snoring horribly within the last 5), I can see the appeal of occasionally having your own space. I actually think I liked our queen bed better when it comes to sleeping together. The king is better though for the snoring, I’ll take those extra few inches. 🙂

  12. Alice Audrey
    · January 16th, 2008 at 8:59 am · Link

    I heard an thing on the radio about people who sleep together living longer and being more secure. The idea was that it was worth putting up with everything to get the benefits of sharing a bed.

  13. TiffinaC
    · January 16th, 2008 at 12:32 pm · Link

    urm…. I like sharing a bed… for many many reasons. I’ve been married about ten years and as much as they hubby annoys me, and I will hit him if he’s snoring too loud… I like t he intimacy of naked bodies under the covers… good thing this is TMI tuesday *coughs* so it’s wednesday! LOL

  14. Anonymous
    · January 16th, 2008 at 3:22 pm · Link

    I’m not a regular, so I hope I don’t presume too much adding my 2 cents. (I just love Ms. Dare and can’t resist the occasional peek and comment.) I’ve been married for 35 sleeping-together years –even the years that weren’t so good. It just never occured to us to do otherwise, and it’s too late to think about it now. (although,there are times….) Also, Maggie Robinson, whoever you are, you have a big family. The thought of the 6 of you in the same bed is actually very charming. Ok, Tessa, I’ll crawl back into my Austen-hole now. Glad the book is so close to finis.

  15. Sara Lindsey
    · January 16th, 2008 at 4:55 pm · Link

    I just had to chime in on this one because while Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns first shared a bed in the 1940s sitcom, Mary Kay and Johnny, they were actually married.

    I’m a Bewitched freak, so I’ll just mention for trivia fun that Samantha and Darrin Stephens were the first live-action TV couple, with the actors not married to each other in real life, to sleep in a double bed.

  16. Elyssa Papa
    · January 17th, 2008 at 5:54 pm · Link

    I think CM’s story is damn romantic. Sigh. It has me sighing in content and hoping that I, too, find my own Mr. Papa.

    Maggie, I think your family is well, ideal and cozy. I know every family has their problems and issues, but I think it’s so sweet that the grown kids still join you. You know you’ve done something right when your kids want to be with you!

    Oh and count me in as sleeping together. Even though I feel sorry for the future sleeping partner because I’m a kicker and a talker.

    I bet he sleeps in a different room. *g*

  17. terrio
    · January 18th, 2008 at 7:18 am · Link

    Ely – it’s funny that you mention being a talker. That reminded me, my ex was a major talker. I could get him to carry on long conversations in his sleep.

    The irony – once he started cheating, he stopped talking. Just goes to show the brain knows exactly what it’s doing, asleep or awake. LOL!

  18. India Carolina
    · January 18th, 2008 at 2:34 pm · Link

    I wouldn’t judge someone else’s relationship based solely on their sleeping arrangements. But for me, I vote for togetherness!