How My Mother's Generosity Ruined Our Sex Lives

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

My Mom is a very sweet woman, and so after listening to us discussing our backaches from our decade-old bed, last Christmas she went in 50/50 with us on a new bed.
We’ve barely had sex since.
The lack of sex isn’t my Mom’s fault.  It’s the bed.  The bed is a luxurious king-sized bed, which we’d never had to navigate before – it’s lovely to sleep in, as we can curl up in our own nests, never having to worry about bumping ankles.  But getting to each other involves crossing a vast veldt of black blankets, a kind of humping crawl that takes ten, maybe fifteen minutes to be able to touch each other in the center.
It isn’t helped that the bed is a fluffy quagmire.  It’s a foam latex bed, not quite as bad as memory foam (whose tight, form-fitting grasp makes me feel like I’m Han Solo trapped in carbonite), but it is very soft and swallowing, so watching someone traverse it is like watching a fly struggle to get out of a web.  This bed is made for sleep, and slumber enforces it with a firmly mattressed hand; I’ve watched Gini struggle to cross the field of snooze to get to me, grow exhausted, and doze off in mid-stride.
So, with such a glutinous surface beneath us, trying to get, er, traction on any sort of amorous times becomes a huge issue.  It’s like trying to have sex on a bag of Play-Doh; anywhere you put your knees, your hands, your face, sinks beneath you, making any attempt to connect with your lover a strenuous effort.  The bed is actively trying to separate you, your weight sucking you away from each other, making certain conjoinings damn near impossible.  We’ve actually taken to going for the big S in other rooms in the house when we want to experiment, because this bed?  Is a vacuum traction of anti-intimacy.
Then, as it turns out, the bed actually reduces our overtures of sex.  We were analyzing the reasons why we’d dropped so precipitously the other day, and it turns out that much of our sexytimes are jump-started by cuddling.  Because you know, we’re not in the mood but hey, let’s snuggle up, and whoah, there’s a warm and cute body next to us, so, you know….
…except that this sweeping plain of a bed makes snuggling an effort.  We have to fight our way past tides of blankets to get to each other – and it doesn’t help that we’ve taken to creating our own sleepy-holes, piled high with pillows and blankets and twigs and spare bits of lint and what have you.
So last night, Gini and I decided that to save our sensuality, we had to make room for snuggling.  No more plopping into the Bed of Nap and dozing off; no, we must fling aside these impromptu Les Mis-style of barricades and cuddle for fifteen minutes before we drifted off.
It worked.
But the interesting thing in all of this is how much of our sex lives are formed by tiny details.  Would we have thought that a new bed would make such a large change to our usual flurry of activity?  No.  But change two things, and the results were notable.  And while on one level it’s just sex, on another level it’s a meditation on how our environment alters our behavior in ways we don’t even consider.  We’d noticed the slowdown, but it took us a while to hunt for the cause, and it turned out it was things that should, in a sane world, have nothing to do with each other.
And I’m reminded of my daughter, heartbroken, because the boy she loved lived in Alaska, and she lived in Massachusetts, and she didn’t want to move to Alaska and he didn’t want to move to Massachusetts.  She was aghast that something so stupid, so trivial as a choice of location, could stop love.  “But things like that destroy love all the time,” I told her.  “Bills don’t seem like they’d break a relationship, but hell yeah they do.  Cleanliness.  Pets.  The way you like things arranged in the bathroom.  All sorts of stupid mundane things affect a romance, and it seems like this effervescence of beauty shouldn’t be dragged down by chores and jobs… but they are.  They totally are.  And you just have to deal with it.”
For us, it’s a bed that shifted the underlying methods of our love life in ways we’d never realized.  Two unrelated factors shifted our patterns of intimacy, a Skinner reflex no one could have anticipated.  But hey, at least we’re aware of it.
Now?  Time to fight back against the Bed of Asceticism.

1 Comment

  1. Carmel J.
    Jul 12, 2013

    I have a mattress like that and I know exactly where you’re coming from. We’ve had to experiment to find a better position for some things because the mattress acted differently than we were used to. Alas, with children in the house we don’t have a whole lot of other options so we have muddled through as best we could. Fortunately, we were already used to the king size, we’ve only had to adjust to the different material. Which I will second on being very hard to traverse. But I love it for sleeping (even though he doesn’t)!

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