13 May 2009

The Sleep Factor

There is nothing quite so poignant in all my mental images as those times I've slept with someone. I'm not talking about sex, you pigs. I mean real slumber. Climbing into bed, cuddling, curling up, not knowing where to put the arm, breathing the used oxygen of another, rolling over, throwing the leg, everything bedtime related.

When it comes to taking the measure of a relationship, it seems that sleep is an oh so crucial factor. It is in our restful state where we are most vulnerable, most intimate. Everything we deal with in our waking life is either resolved or reinforced when we finally slumber.

To expose yourself like that to another, to relinquish ourselves, can be a great gift. It can also be a reflection of the maturity, or lack thereof, in our relationships. The intimacy found while sleeping can be so much greater than during other physical acts (read: snogging, skinny-dipping, or shagging). While we might have no problem with getting down and dirty with someone in the heat of the moment, it can be a different matter altogether to wake up next to that same person knowing you stole all the covers and they froze all night while listening to you snore.
And even though we may take sleeping with our partner for granted, it's through these kinds of shared social systems that we build and nurture our relationships, and perhaps uncover the underlying meaning of our lives.

- Dr. Paul C. Rosenblatt as quoted in the New York Times by Kate Murphy
I know that one of the things that I miss most about previous relationships is the sleeping together. The little give and take as we get comfortable, the rituals as we prepared to come together and let all our facades fade. It is these good moments that told me of the strength of our connection, it is the lack of those moments that signaled to me of its death.

No one has ever accused me of having an active libido, on the contrary I've been kicked to the curb more than once for my fleeting interest in sex. But my longing for a cuddle, for someone to share sleep with, that has always been and remains as full in force as ever.

What's a guy got to do for good snuggle these days?

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