Blog Good Sex or Good Sleep?

Which would you prefer - a good night of sex or a good night’s sleep?

The answer might depend on who you ask and when. It also might depend on what kind of mattress that person has been sleeping or sexing on.

Miriam Gottfried at Barron’s writes that Americans have been buying memory foam mattresses like mad - the market share for them  gone up from 14% to 20% in the last eight years. Memory foam was developed for NASA “as a shock absorber for spacecraft seats,” and now it’s the main feature of those posh,  ultra-comfy mattresses that conform to your contours so you sleep like an angel.

The problem is how much of an angel do you really want to be in bed? The memory foam mattress has a little too much give and, as New York sex therapist Sari Eckler Cooper told Gottfried "There's a lack of resistance for the knees and feet. And whoever is on the bottom is sinking into the bed."

I’ve never experienced a memory-foam mattress but those of you who remember the heyday of the waterbed know what she’s talking about….that literally sinking feeling of not having any support. It’s easy to see where regular mattresses would give you a little more…um…thrust.

But Nick Robinson, of the mattress-review site, analyzed comments about the memory foam mattresses and found that while 40% had problems with it as far as sex, 80% were satisfied with their beds - “the highest rate of any mattress variety on the market,” Gottfried writes. “The implications of the math are clear: Many people don't really care if the sex is lousy as long as the sleep is good.”

One woman interviewed said she and her boyfriend had trouble with the mattress at first but got the hang of it and are happier with it now.

That couple seems to have the right idea.  First of all, the fact that sex on your pricey new bed is problematic is - admit it - funny. And being able to laugh at things together is a huge part of a relationship. Second it gives you something to overcome together that’s not hugely serious and third it gives you a reason for sexual experimentation which keeps things fresh and keeps you from taking things for granted.

Or, if you have a guest room, you can just have a memory foam mattress for sleeping in your bedroom and then do it on the guest bed.

It’s a really intriguing quandary. But there are so many options. I’m afraid I’m just going to have to sleep on it.