If you are one of the 23 percent of U.S. couples (34 percent if you live in Canada) sleeping in separate beds, there are a handful of reasons why you might be keeping your space, so to speak. Stress, different work schedules, snoring, tossing and turning, morning or evening personality types and feelings of anger or resentment are some of the most common reasons.
Reasons for Sleeping Separately
If youve not yet made the move out of the marriage bed, but youre definitely considering it, be sure to think through your options before taking any steps. While it may be practical and necessary in many situations, giving some thought to the reasons, and the potential consequences, is always a good idea.
- Sleep Disturbances. Most women say they choose to sleep separately due to their spouse tossing and turning excessively or snoring too loud. Men do snore more than women, but it has been shown that women tend to be lighter sleepers than men. So, consequently, not only do couples sleep in separate beds, they may sleep in entirely separate rooms.
- Life is Stressful. Its a rat race out there. There arent a lot of ways to get alone time when you are partnered, maybe have children at home, work, and have little time to get away from it all. Sleeping separately can be a blessing for rejuvenating your own soul, especially if it is in another room of your own. This idea has become quite3 popular and according to The National Association of Home Builders predicts that if this trend continues, by 2015, 60 percent of all high-income homes will have two master suites.
Morning and Evening Personality Conflicts. Some people are morning types and some are evening types. This can cause one of the partners to extend their normal waking times and burn the candle at both ends. Having separate bedrooms can help a person manage their own biological clocks better. Work. Work trends say youll be working until you are in your 70s. Though more work is being done from home, split shifts and night shifts help many industries function more efficiently. If you work a different time than the traditional nine-to-five workday, it may be a benefit to you and your partner to have separate rooms. Anger and Resentment.Approaching the subject of one of the biggest reasons why couples choose to sleep apart -- anger and resentment -- could be the subject of a whole book. For instance, research shows that most women keep their dissatisfaction with sex a secret. Anita Clayton, a psychiatrist who focuses on womens sexuality at the University of Virginia Health System says that for women, sex gets shoved to the bottom of the to-do list. And when they do have sex it becomes just another task. Women are not getting their emotional needs met during sex. An orgasm might not be the point. Women dont ask for what they want in bed, fearing their partner will be hurt or leave them.
Sexual Frustration. Men have a set of their own reasons. They may feel like theyve asked one too many times for more sex and have had to face rejection that they just cant face any longer. Erectile problems start to surface as aging progresses, which can cause performance anxiety. Western cultural perspectives of womens bodies and the use of explicit images on the Internet can set a man up to see his lover/wife/partner in a manner that doesnt much include anything deeper than the skin. There is still a cultural perspective that says that men shouldnt cry, show their emotions or comfort and be caring. Make Sure Separate Sleeping Doesnt Hurt Your Relationship If you begin to sleep in separate beds -- or even in separate rooms -- what measures can you devise to keep the levels of connection, romance, desire and physical touch at the intensity required in a primary relationship? While each and every couple is different there are some common clues you can use to consciously keep that spark going. Understand Your Body. Research shows that intimacy, touching and eye contact are of the utmost importance to human beings. The latest studies show that there is a direct link between the amount of eye gazing and skin-to-skin touching we receive as infants and our ability to bond and be appropriately intimate with others as adults. We all need to be touched and cared for. Its just that simple; and a hormone called oxytocin is one of the neural components that enables us to sustain long-lasting love. Oxytocin helps our bodies produce feelings of empathy, caring, connection, love and protection. These are all emotions that help create who we are and what it means to be human. Oxytocin helps us when we are in conflict and want to harmonize instead of escalate the situation. It helps us tend and mend instead of fight and flee our way through life.
Oxytocin is also produced during orgasm for both men and women. Women get an added advantage of the surge of oxytocin while giving childbirth and during breastfeeding. At least, thats what scientist used to think. They now know that we produce oxytocin in many ways throughout our day-to-day lives, too. Skin-to-skin touching, eye gazing, kissing, hearing words of love and caring, smiling, doing little things for another and being appreciated all produce oxytocin. Sometimes, if you pay attention, you can even feel the burst of oxytocin in your body when a positive love emotion rushes over you. Keep in Touch. Sleeping alone might be a flag to you and your partner that finding other ways to get the caring touch that is so necessary to your emotional and physical wellbeing is in order. You can figure out easy fun ways to keep your emotional bond tight. Even if sex isnt in the stars, touching, kissing, cuddling, massaging, even structured eye gazing and breathing sessions with one another will help you stay happy and connected. And if one of you is still interested in renewing and even increasing your sexual and sensual connection, you may find that this slower approach helps to increase the possibility of it again. Listen Well and Be Honest. Telling the truth, and knowing how to tell it, is of great importance in keeping a relationship fresh, loving and creative. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, in their book Lasting Love profess that, Relationships flourish in an atmosphere of emotional transparency, especially when both people speak clearly about their deeper emotions such as fear, sadness, and longing. This is key to understanding and navigating both the need to have good sleep and privacy and the need of touch, love and companionship.
Take Responsibility. All of us fall somewhere in this formula and even that can change from time to time. Its essential to remember that each of us is responsible for our own pleasure. It isnt our partners responsibility. When you can claim that for yourself you will be your own advocate for giving and receiving the pleasure you deserve. Of course, the optimum situation is to have your cake and eat it, too! Informal polls highlight the fact that all of us enjoy a few nights off from our significant others. A husband goes away on a business trip and his spouse can skip cooking and maybe catch a movie with a friend. A wife goes to a retreat for the weekend and her husband can play golf and stay out later with the guys. We all need breaks from the routine and the connectedness. However, intimacy should never suffer. On the contrary, finding quality time to be lovers -- whether that means sex or sensual touching -- is vastly important to keeping the deep connection that partnering requires. What You Can DoHere is a simple exercise you can try. Spend a week doing this every day and see if it changes your experiences. Sit quietly and take a few deep breathes into your belly. Close your eyes and imagine a time when you were getting exquisite touch from a lover. Now softly move your fingertips over your arms and maybe even your torso, chest and hips. Do this lovingly. Love yourself up, even if it is briefly! See if your sensual quotient goes up a little in the coming days. You can change your experience -- remember -- your brain is plastic. You are still learning and growing and you can take it in this direction for yourself. Healing touch is essential and only you are responsible for your own pleasure. Change the dynamics and change your experience. For more information about Suzie Heumann and her work, visit www.tantra.com. To really get the most out of your loving, consider some advanced training. The Tantric Sex Guide is your 24 hour a day guide to the skills that will take you to new heights of pleasure and intimacy.