Why good bedroom manners will get you far in love
The way you sleep with a partner can make or break your relationship. We don’t just mean sex, though that’s certainly part of sharing a bed – and bad bedroom manners of all kinds can seriously damage your sex life. Fidgeting, snoring and monopolising the mattress may sound trivial, but their consequences are often far from frivolous.
Here are four examples of bedroom misdemeanours that could cost you a relationship, whether it’s a fledgling affair or long-term love. Read on to find out what not to do in the bedroom – and how to get it right.
People who snore often don’t understand why their partners make such a big deal out of it. “My ex would get terribly upset with me if I disappeared to sleep on the sofa,” says Rachel, one of the people we spoke to about a common, but serious, issue. “It was the only way I could get to sleep because of his snoring, but he saw it as a rejection. It was a major factor in our break-up.”
Snoring is not a problem to be taken lightly, says Dr Rosalind Cartwright of the renowned Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago. “This is a frequent problem within marriages that nobody is paying enough attention to.”
If you snore, it’s not fair to criticise or guilt-trip your partner for leaving the bedroom so that they can get some sleep. No-one actually wants to sleep on the sofa. Show respect for them by accepting that the issue lies with you, but seek help for it together, tackling the problem as a couple rather than throwing blame at each other. If your snoring doesn’t improve, then accept that your partner should be allowed to sleep separately if she or he wishes.
People who toss and turn in bed, or whose feet are freezing enough to keep their partner awake, should also show good manners by getting help for their problem or accepting the need to sleep separately. Sleep is not a value judgement, it is a basic human need. If your partner can’t sleep, you won’t have a relationship.
2. Bringing your stress to bed
Bedtime is an obvious opportunity to catch up with each other’s news and chat about what’s on your mind. But don’t allow daytime to invade night-time so much that the bedroom becomes a stressful place. Sleep and sex are two of the body’s favourite ways to unwind, but you can’t do either very well (or at all) if you’re stressed.
Keep serious discussions out of the bedroom. Bedtime conversations should be light and even playful, with the ideal result being cuddles, sex, sleep or a combination of all three. If you’re having a light conversation that starts to take a stressful turn, agree to continue it some other time – or get out of bed and carry on the conversation at the kitchen table if you must.
3. Invading your partner’s space
Spooning is pure pleasure – for the first few minutes, anyway. After that it gives one of you a dead arm and the other claustrophobia.
If you are a spooning fan, don’t be insulted if your partner wants to wriggle free and go to sleep. Many people, especially light sleepers, find it very difficult to fall asleep when they’re being cuddled, as much as they love and desire their partner.
If your partner is fond of spooning and you find it difficult to sleep in that position, find a tactful way to break free. Don’t just shove them off and roll away as far as you can without falling off the bed. That’s a sure way to make someone feel unwanted. Instead, give their arms a squeeze, whisper that you’re going to sleep now, add a reassuring “I love you” and move away just far enough so that you have your own space.
4. Imposing your tastes on your partner
We couldn’t write a whole article on bedroom etiquette without talking about sex. It’s a vital element of an adult relationship, and there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t get the etiquette right.
Great sex starts with great communication, and good sexual manners are all about respecting your partner’s wishes. Never assume that he or she wants to try something, or even that they’re in the mood to have sex. Everyone has ebbs and flows of desire. We’re also shy creatures, and it can be extremely unsettling to have a partner suddenly decide to try something new in bed without asking first. So pay close attention to your partner’s signals, and if they don’t seem to be enjoying something, stop. Sexual adventures are a great way of keeping the lust alive in a long-term relationship, but they must be mutually satisfying.