How Sleeping Apart Brings Us Together

Intimacy and love have nothing to do with where you rest your head at night

My husband and I sleep in separate beds three or four nights a week, due to conflicting bedtimes and waking schedules.

When most people hear that, they assume (wrongly) that we've grown apart. The truth is that sometimes it has nothing to do with the relationship itself and everything to do with extenuating circumstances, like an insomniac writer who goes to bed at 2 a.m. that married a perfectly wonderful engineer who wakes up for work at 4 a.m.

There may be other issues to consider—like snoring, head cold-induced coughing fits, or being eight or nine months pregnant. Couples sleep apart for any number of reasons, and it doesn't necessarily mean the relationship or the sex has to suffer.

You may be asking yourself, is getting sleep that important? For me, the answer is a resounding yes, especially when you drive two hours each way to work or have young children or just want to be sane. Sleep is the best thing ever, except for Ambien sex. Ambien sex trumps everything.

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I love sleeping alone, and I'm sure my husband does too. I have a king-sized bed all to myself and stay up as late as I want writing and editing. When I get sleepy, I go to sleep. It's awesome. When all is said and done, I can sprawl out across the bed like I did during that one month in college when I was single.

As snug as a bug as I was, I began to worry that we might become complacent in our marriage. I was afraid there'd be too many comfortable silences and pecks goodnight versus the full-on face sucks we once did nightly. I began to imagine us as some old married couple like Fred and Ethel Mertz. What if not being literally on top of each other every night leads to things fizzling out?

It hasn't for us. Intimacy and love have nothing to do with where you sleep. I think it's actually easier and sexier most of the time to not be able to just roll over and get on top of someone. In our current sleeping arrangement, sex involves some flirtation and, since we have small children, ingenuity.

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Just because we sleep in separate beds doesn't mean we've stopped being attracted to each other. My husband works from home two days a week—those are our "afternoon delight" days—and we do sleep together in our bed on weekends, so I'd say our sex life is pretty healthy. In fact, him being in the other room adds a little spice to our sex life. It's sexy to receive random Snapchat pics and sexts from across the hall.

There are those moments when I do want to be able to reach over and cuddle with my husband, or experience the feeling that comes from hearing the person you love breathe—just knowing he's there. But mostly I look forward to those days when we sleep together in the same bed, because they are so special.

Not taking each other's presence for granted has also made things more spontaneous and erotically charged. Our relationship has become something of a seductive dance—talking in whispers, texting and emailing suggestively—and a continuing series of stolen moments. It's the brush of his hand on mine and a private smile that conveys much more than words. It often feels like a throwback to the exciting days of when we first started dating—and that's after 15 years of marriage.

Whether we will change our modus operandi in the future, I don't know. Meanwhile, when I want my husband in my bed, all I need to do is tell him. And vice versa.