I write this article knowing it is likely to be my most divisive to date. For it contains the following shocking truth: my boyfriend and I sleep with two single duvets. And we are not yet in our 70s (at which point, apparently, this kind of behavior becomes acceptable). No, we are just two 30-somethings who really like our sleep. So when we realized that we hated – truly hated – sleeping in the same bed, we put our heads together and thought our way out of the box and into our current sleeping arrangement. This process marked a transformative and empowering moment in our relationship. For it was one of the first times that we bothered to fly in the face of convention and find a solution that really worked for us.
Picture this: once upon a time, my partner and I shared a duvet. Throughout the night, we would wake up at least once an hour, sometimes too hot, often too cold. Resentment grew, minor disagreements morphed into physical spats, knees found their way into backs, humans found their way onto floors. It was an intolerable situation that could not go on. And yet, many couples continue like this their whole lives.
You might think I’m exaggerating the significance of our single duvets, but they really do seem to offend some people. A few friends have reacted to the news of them as though we have just revealed we like to take small mammals to bed with us; others see them as deeply unromantic; a sign that we are inherently divided, and probably never touch each other, let alone have sex.
In fact, this change marked an improvement in our sex life. Because, let us be clear on this, tiredness is not sexy. Sleep deprivation has been used throughout history as a method of torture; there is a reason for this.
And not all our friends disapprove of our decision to sleep with separate duvets. For those who have suffered similarly miserable nights at the hands of their loved ones, our sleep solution is akin to the secret of alchemy. When these same friends learn that the Swedes do it (and make it look really rather stylish) they are often officially sold.
These days, however, we generally sleep the whole night through completely oblivious to the other’s presence. It is marvelous. In the morning we wake up after eight hours’ uninterrupted sleep and get to discover each other all over again. One of us will usually slip under the other’s duvet for a toasty morning cuddle. If anything, we now enjoy more physically intimacy, because we like each other the whole night through.
I’m not saying single duvets are for everyone, but this issue reminds us of the importance of making choices in our relationships that are right for us. Marriage is for some people, but not for everyone; children, date nights, swinging likewise. If we want to be happy in love, we need to question our decisions, so that we can be sure they are motivated by what we truly want, and not simply by the fact that ‘everyone else is doing it’. Others will always judge our choices, but this matters not one jot if we are able to wear them with pride.