Well I have asked myself a difficult question now, and one I can no longer keep asking you lot and avoiding myself – not if I want this blog to have any integrity whatsoever, or rather, to relate to it’s title!
My epic-fail example of asexual sleeping together (see Confession Part 1) and Marnia Robinson’s case studies illuminate the problem we are facing in the same way – albeit from two sides of the same coin. Her witnesses are amazed that their cuddling worked out, despite obstacles so obvious that we can all just fill them in. Then they loved it. On reading these I get the sneaking suspicion that, although some are clearly not destined to couple up, some could well go that way – in time – precisely because they have created a safe space to share love and affection. By subverting the expectations of sex, they have laid the foundation for trust that many couples never achieve.
What? Yes, here I believe there is a real problem. Many couples who don’t develop open communication about sex and non-sexual cuddling experience some anxiety almost every night: whether it’s about getting or not-getting sex or about giving or not-giving sex. The biggest stereotype is the sex-hungry man and the exhausted woman, but whatever truth there is in that, we know it will be happening in every possible combination, every night. In a relationship, do you know with certainty before you go to bed at night, every night, whether you want to be sexual with your partner or not and whether they do? How can we ever have this certainty?
Before I list so many problems I start to give up hope, bear with me while I try to break it down a bit:
It is normal for human beings to cuddle, and this includes to cuddle overnight – an obvious winner in any geographical region not sweltering at 30° all year round (IMHO).
Most adults in the West (which is all I know about) only share a bed with another adult regularly when they are in a sexual relationship with that person.
Couples may enjoy non-sexual cuddling at night, or may feel tense about sexual willingness/performance, depending on clear communication about sexual desire.
While many couples do enjoy non-sexual cuddling, a lot of people who are not paired up sexually miss out on night time skin contact or even clothed contact, maybe for years on end…
The so-called cuddle sluts show all this perfectly: we are conditioned to pair up and to keep sex in couples. People who have casual sex while not paired up don’t get guarantees for the level of pure cuddle contact they’ll get from temporary lovers. Which brings me back to my first aim with this blog: a nosy-as-hell call out to those of you in-betweeners who evade the strictures of a trad relationship – for whatever reasons – but have established bed relationships which do include affection and trust. Maybe one person, maybe several, maybe never the same person twice; maybe you had sex only to find you both wanted the cuddle more and struck a deal…
This is not to forget that a lot of people are engaged in non-trad relationships with unique rules, no rules, multiple partners and so on ad delirium and infinitum. Do these experiences enlighten us about the path to a cuddling world? You tell me. And what about age? Do young adults and older teens spend more time sleeping in beds with friends, without sex, than older people? Do you know? Tell me tell me tell me.