The Politics of Sleeping with Someone (Without Sleeping with Someone)


I have this one friend – let’s call him Ron – who refuses to sleep in the same bed with a girl after he’s had sex with her.  To me it sounds hilariously awkward, the sex over and Ron sliding out of bed to go sleep on the couch, leaving the girl alone and, in my imagination, ashamed and confused.  Ron believes that if two people sleep in the same bed together, that implies a level of feeling and intimacy that he isn’t comfortable with.  He’ll sleep in the same bed as his girlfriend, when he has one, but never with someone he’s only casually interested.  Sure, it might be a mixed message, considering he’s just humped the daylights out of the girl.  Ron doesn’t see it that way.  There’s a fine line between sex and love, just as there’s a very distinct difference between a dirty movie and a real one.  To blur the two can be baffling – imagine how odd it would be if there was a long dating montage set to “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners, right in the middle of a porno.

There is also a fine line between friendship and courtship, which is what the topic of today’s blog is.  If ever the situation arises when you and your OGF (Opposite Gender Friend) are going to sleep in the same place, and there’s only one bed, what is the best, most civil, most appropriate, way to go about it?

Last September I moved from Incheon to Seoul; it’s sort of like going from New Jersey to New York City.  Most of my friends, though, are back in Incheon, and so I find myself making the trek back on weekends to hang out.  This creates a problem, because after the subway closes at 12:30, I don’t really have any way to get home (I’m too cheap to spend the money on a cab back).  So, for the last six months, I’ve either hung out in the bar until the subway opens back up (5:30 AM) or I’ve crashed at a friend’s place.  The situation gets further complicated, though, since most of my pals are OGFs.  Usually, they’re quick to draw a line in the sand:

“You can come crash at my apartment,” an OGF will say, “but you’ll have to sleep on the floor.  Sorry.”

That rule is typically set in stone.  There is no sleeping in the same bed as your OGF.  On one hand, it makes sense.  Let’s take C-Batz for example.  She and I are friends.  Why would we sleep in a bed together?  I wouldn’t sleep in a bed together with Perkins or Toronto or one of my other male friends.  So why would I sleep in a bed with a female friend?  Just because it’s a girl?  To C-Batz (or pretty much any OGF), the key to the scenario is the “friend” designation, and friends don’t sleep in a bed together.

I, of course, take exception to this a little.  It seems to me that, unlike guys, girls will sleep in the same bed together and seem to enjoy it and find it fun.  It’s nonsexual and safe.  They’ll also sleep in the bed with a gay dude and cuddle him up like he’s a big teddy bear.  Why then, is sleeping in a bed with a straight male friend completely out of the question?  Is there a fear that I’ll lose control, that being around a woman will involuntarily cause sexual arousal and I’ll pounce, like a horny meerkat, on my poor unsuspecting OGF, who will have to fight me off with the nunchucks she keeps at her bedside?

In truth, that could happen.  Cause really I don’t trust myself all that much.  That’s beside the point, though.

All of this comes into question because a few days ago I reacted badly when trying to have a sleepover with my OGF, Special K.  We had gone out drinking with friends and I had gotten obscenely drunk (what’s new?).  Special K offered to let me crash at her place, which was nice, and I should’ve been grateful.  Instead, I acted like a big baby.  We got to her apartment and she instructed me that we’d be sleeping in the bed head-to-toe, meaning I would have my head on one side of the bed and she’d be sleeping with her head on the other.  Fair enough?  Nah, not at the time.

See, to me, one of the advantages of having an OGF is that, you know, she is a girl.  I felt cuddly on the night in question, like I needed a hug.  What would be the harm in cuddlin’ up with Special K?  It wouldn’t be sexual.  It would be friendly, like when Michael Jackson was sleeping in the bed with all those little boys.

Special K was having none of it.  She got out of the bed and onto the floor.  “What?” I thought, offended.  “Am I a leper?  Am I not cuddle-worthy?  DO I DISGUST YOU?”  I felt like the Elephant Man (who might’ve also had his bones cuddled by Michael Jackson), and so I chose to leave.  I booked it out of there and staggered my way to a motel.

Of course I was wrong and out-of-line, but still I feel that this is an issue that needs to be questioned.  Is it possible that a woman, or a man, has to have some sort of romantic interest in a person in order to sleep in the same bed with him/her?  Is Ron right?  Does sleeping next to a person really cross a boundary that shouldn’t be crossed?

Maybe I just need to find more male friends.  With my luck, I’d go to crash at some big Irish guy’s place, and he’d demand that we spoon.  Eh, whatever.  I call little spoon!


28 thoughts on “The Politics of Sleeping with Someone (Without Sleeping with Someone)

  1. I think you can sleep in a bed with a “friend” and it not mean anything. I’ve done it several times and put a pillow in the middle just in case there’s any accidental roll over. I think I worry more about passing gas, but hey we’re just friends, right?

    • I like the idea – pillow buffer. Like putting that thing between your groceries and the next person’ on the conveyor belt in the grocery store.

      Lol – yeah, passing gas would absolutely make things a bit awkward. At least it would prevent one from trying to make a move – I think even if I was so inclined to make one, once I farted I would have to alter my plans.

  2. Just my opinion, ok?

    I won’t let a guy ( unless he’s gay ) to sleep in the same bed with me. There’s always a couch in the living room( or somewhere) and I’ll provide a nice, thick comfy and pillows, and say goodnight, sleep tight.

    But if we’re both drunk, I don’t know. LOL I’ve never experienced being drunk, heck, I don’t even drink.

    But I cannot take this to the bank. He he he Heck, maybe I’ll attack, LOL. Who knows. Aaargh,

  3. I dunno. I think a lot of it is the way people are raised. My mom didn’t care. I had mostly male friends growing up. I think she was just happy I had friends outside of the books at the library. So, I had guy friends stay the night and sleep in the same bed since I was like 10. Even throughout high school when she should have cared more she didn’t. So, when I was out on my own and single, yes, I had absolutely no problem with sharing a bed. I actually lived with two of my male school mate friends after I decided college wasn’t for me. We’d often have our drunk moments of depression and cuddle, JUST cuddle with each other. Shoot even now if my husbands best girl friend came over bawling her eyes out upset, I’d expect him to cuddle her and calm her. But, I know it would never go further. Same with him and my guy friend, though less likely since most are out of state now… Maybe we’re just strange 😀

    • Yeah, I never had friends growing up or anything, but I don’t completely see cuddling as a sexual thing. However, I can see how most people do. And, really, I wouldn’t want my wife cuddlin’ another dude. Or talking to another dude, or being within ten feet of one.

      Hope, why would you ever think you’re strange? Just for the record, I want you to know that I would never cuddle your husband.

      • Oh come on! I’m not a cuddler so he needs to get his fix somewhere! I only cuddle if I am extremely sad. Maybe that is another reason why we are both cool with it.
        Anyway, my husband has an array of friend and I well I have a lot of close guy friends as I have always been a guy’s girl. We joke his sensitivity counteracts my maucho… So he isn’t so effected by guys being my friend… Thus why I am allowed to comment here!
        Strange because millions of people say it daily… So I figured embrace it rather than fight it! But, on that note I know the way I was raised is strange!

  4. E.

    haha, you’re great, Bill! i meant to email you today ’cause you’d been quiet for a while, but man, i knew you would come up with something good! and you did. totally cracked me up. not your awkward situation with Special K — sorry about that — but the way you wrote. especially the “long dating montage set to “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners, right in the middle of a porno” — man, if they made it, i’d watch it.

    alright, serious now as my ribs seem to recover from laughing.

    for Ron’s case: i think it’s just how people draw lines between casual and serious relationships. it’s obvious that having sex, cuddling up after that and falling asleep together are what real couples do, and they will lead to false expectations in a casual relationship — oh yea they will, unless you can be very very clear with each other from the very start that you’re just casual. so i understand why Ron does that even though i still prefer sharing the bed after sex, even a casual one.

    for your case: i don’t think either you or Special K were wrong. everybody feels like cuddling sometimes, i believe (because i do too). it’s just we don’t believe when somebody comes to us and asks ‘hey, how ’bout going home together and just falling asleep cuddling each other?’, we’ll always suspect that they will want more, unless, again, the boundary is clearly drawn from the very beginning. so, you were not wrong feeling like cuddling that night. Special K was not wrong, either, ’cause how the hell she knew and believed that there would not be anything else. you need time to build trust, right?

    okay, before i get back to my Spanish: ¡buena suerte con los irlandeses!

    • Yeah, Lan, I think you’re totally right. Although I had a long talk about this yesterday with a few female friends and was told that there is no such thing as platonic cuddling. That a girl basically will only cuddle with a guy if there’s some hint of an attraction. I can buy that. And you’re completely right that poor Special K was probably freaked out and thought I was making a move, which would’ve been incredibly awkward since she’s a good friend.

      I don’t know why you’re speaking Spanish, but I like it. Love ya Lan!

  5. “Why then, is sleeping in a bed with a straight male friend completely out of the question? Is there a fear that I’ll lose control”

    Maybe they’re afraid THEY will lose control. I myself is afraid of that.

    And yea, wrong move there dude. Hugging a girl you’re sharing a bed with can be like a sign for her that the next thing will happen is sex.

    • True dat. I typically think that it must be wonderful to be a girl and to be hit on all the time, but I suppose it becomes unwanted after awhile (and depending on who it’s coming from). I guess girls don’t really think that a guy has a cuddle objective when he goes in like that – whoopsies!

  6. if you’re really friends i don’t think sleeping on the same bed is a problem. i mean if you don’t have any romantic feelings towards each other what’s the worst thing that could happen?
    done it before it’s like sleeping beside your brother or something. don’t know about cuddling but holding hands was okay, makes one feel safe.

  7. judithsmarkworld

    I just think that after a certain age, it is hard to be “just friends” with the opposite sex. So, I agree with your friend, Special K, better be safe than sorry.

  8. Do none of em have couches? You need to crash in Yeonsu more, friendo. TTD and I both have futons.

    Also, I feel weird because when I come here, I always switch to the codenames, though I use the real names back on mine.

    • Or I could just stay out till 5:30 like last night. And no, sleeping on the subway doesn’t really refresh a person.

      Yeah, codenames are important, bro. What if you want to say some bad shit about somebody? It’s classy to hide the real identity before you backstab someone on your blog.

      • That is also a viable life choice. No shame.

        Most of the people I shittalk I am relatively confident will never, ever see it. Though I see what you mean. (Also, because I comment here too often and am already in the sidebar, I am sadly codenameless.)

  9. Interesting question you’ve posed here, and it kind of hits on a more troublesome one that comes up a lot these days, re: how we go about defining intimacy and/or a “relationship”… With everyone all cross-pollinating, sleeping in each others beds (but not having sex), having sex (but not sleeping in each others beds), doing everything we used to call dating but without the label etc etc, it’s easy to see why people sometimes get confused/hurt/kicked out of apartments or onto their own bedroom floor. While I’d disagree that the line between sex and love is “fine” (…and more of a giant, gaping emotional abyss), confusion and chaos abound when people aren’t totally honest or clear about their intentions. Sleeping in the same bed could be a boundary of sorts, but it seems a bit arbitrary…

    Anyway, OGF’s are always tricky. Anything that wouldn’t be weird with a friend of the same sex technically shouldn’t be weird with any other pal. And yet… it often is :\

    • Hi Anna! Always good to hear from a new person. I think this is all really true and very well said. I also agree with your point that the line between love and sex seldom is ‘fine,’ and that being honest is extremely important. Although, behavior tends to obscure what a person says a bit…last year I spent a lot of time with a gal who told me from the get go that she didn’t want a relationship, but when we were spending five days a week together, it was tough to accept that idea. So I think you have to be honest but also be able to understand what you’re doing. If I tell you I don’t want to sleep with you, and then I sleep with you, it kinda means that I did want to sleep with you. Huh? What the hell am I talking about? I’ve never even met you, Anna!

      Why do I ever try to make any sort of actual insight into something? I’m so sorry! haha

      • Bill, You lost me near the end there, somewhere between the reference to sleeping together/ apology for attempted insight (it’s overrated anyway), but… still enjoying the Gordian knot of issues and unresolved banter!

        People are entitled to a change of mind, right? Maybe Ms. 5-days-a-week gal pal really didn’t want a relationship, then after repeated exposure to all your redeeming qualities, started to think otherwise. Getting to know someone better as a friend can be a pow-er-full aphrodisiac. Maybe in the future you should pull in the reigns on charming wit etc., spare OG comrades the heartache 😉

        Btw – I’m actually not “new”! You’ve commented on my blog before and vice versa… Just sayin.

  10. Honestly, I used to just let male and female friends crash in my double bed all the time. I didn’t really make a big deal out of it.

    But yeah, I hope you worked things out with Special K cos I’ve seen her nickname mentioned on your blog a few times before.

  11. Well, most girls are emotional so the littlest thing can mean everything. I mean, sleeping in the same bed together with the OGF and being cuddly could be completely platonic for the guy but come morning the girl would think something might be up. They’d start to rethink the friendship and over analyze and then it gets worse once she realize she’s attracted to her friend. This isn’t healthy for both parties as the guy might also think of it as something else. Or maybe the friendship isn’t really platonic at all. i don’t know what I’m saying. Ha ha ha

  12. Sophie

    I agree that opposite sex straight friend
    s can sleep in the same bed. I have one friend I do this with regularly. I was wary at first but it was clear he wasn’t going to try anything so I got more comfortable. I sleep better with him by me than any of my ex-boyfriend, when we were together.

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