Today I’d like to take up what I expect is an unpopular opinion: namely, that sleeping together and showering together are impractical and vastly overrated sexual endeavors. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all in favor of the sex which comes after the shower and before the sleeping over. The sex itself is the meaty part of the sandwich, metaphorically speaking. It’s solely the bread of this hypothetical sex sandwich which I’m attacking.
Let’s break up the claim. First, that synchronous sleep and showers are impractical. This is the easy part. It will be a little harder to convince you that they are also overrated. But we’ll get there. For now we’ll stick with the impracticality. For starters, can it be denied that sensual showers focus disproportionately on the upper body? I defy anyone to try. It’s the sanitary equivalent of skipping leg day at the gym—in both cases, the chest gets all the polish. (Maybe the glutes get worked as well, depending on your tastes.) But if your ankle or some other unsexy body part is dirty at the end of the day and you bring a friend along with you to wash up? Forget it.
As for the sleeping, there is a reason Lucy and her husband slept in separate beds on I Love Lucy. (Well, the prudish censors were one reason. But there’s another.) It’s the same reason Jerry and Elaine put the kibosh on sleepovers in that one episode of Seinfeld. As Seinfeld himself puts it, “That…is not really sleep.” Even in a queen-sized bed there’s too much rolling and farting and sheet-hogging for comfort. The twin-XL’s in the freshman dorms and most fraternities render the whole operation hopeless.
I turn now to the “overrated” half of my tirade. It will help to ask ourselves why we’re tempted into such low-grade conduct in the first place. I can offer one plausible explanation. By putting yourself in an intimately vulnerable position — asleep, for one; wet and naked, for another — you demonstrate trust to your partner. This is the best explanation that I can come up with, in particular because it makes sense on a primal as well as a human level. It’s been said that waving and shaking hands subconsciously demonstrate to the other person that you’re unarmed. My theory is similar. The major difference, it seems, is whether or not the other person can see your genitals.
Well, if that’s the case, then I can name a hundred other displays of intimate vulnerability. Shitting together, for starters. Fitting two people onto a toilet seat can’t be that much harder than fitting two people onto a twin mattress. Or, how about this one: getting your wisdom teeth out together. That’s pretty intimately vulnerable. Just picture the jealous boyfriend glaring at the oral surgeon sticking gloved fingers into his bae’s nitrous-drunken mouth.
There is, of course, no such thing as sensual shitting. (At least, not to my knowledge. In any case, it has not yet caught on within the mainstream.) Nor do we bring condoms and lube to the dentist. In my opinion, our culture and our lives are better off without these things. Don’t let the depraved perverts who like to cuddle tell you otherwise.
Dwight D. Eisenplower is a student at Cornell University. Comments may be sent to [email protected] Bi Monthly appears periodically throughout the semester.