Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Should Dating Couples Be Sleeping Together...Literally?

Pretty sinful, right?
Before Steven and I were married we struggled with whether or not we should sleep together. Not euphemistically, literally sleeping together. Steven had his own house and I lived with my parents in the same town so there weren't too many opportunities but when they arose we always struggled. I had a hard time seeing the difference between laying on the couch watching a movie and laying in bed at the end of the night. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how we responded. We slept together, again literally. We tried to make a rule of "No more than once a month." so that it wouldn't become habit or ritual, as if that makes it all better.

Even at that early stage in our relationship we recognized the importance of sharing a bed. We knew it was something special and sacred and something we probably shouldn't be doing. My opinion is still the same, couples who are not married shouldn't be sleeping together. I don't necessarily think this because I think there's anything inherently wrong with sleeping together instead I think it's pretty morally neutral. Let me be clear: having sex before being married is a sin, laying together asleep is not.

So why do I think people shouldn't do it? Mostly because it's harder than hell to not take it further. It's the same reason I don't think alcoholics should hang out at bars, or those who have problems with chastity should be trolling the beach all summer. We shouldn't intentionally put ourselves (or our loved ones) in a 'near occasion of sin.' Cuddling next to your smoking hot boyfriend who thinks you are just as smoking hot doesn't sound like the most prudent choice, even if you say you're sure nothing will happen.

The same way an alcoholic is sure "This is my last drink." and the same way I had 54 "last cigarettes." temptation is hard. Sin is powerful and pride is tricky. As soon as we convince ourselves we are above a sin, we put our souls in serious danger. It is harder than hell in this time to stay pure. We are surrounded by sex, by temptation, by expectations and we're fighting against ourselves if we think we're above this temptation, especially when the temptation is as good looking as your boyfriend is. ;-) So while it makes me hypocrite, I advise wholeheartedly against it. I'm sure there are plenty of you who handled this temptation with ease, I don't think the exceptional couples should be the rule.

So what do you think? Yay or nay?

26 comments:

  1. I see your point of view. I'm guilty on both counts during my dating relationship. Now still happily married to the same man four and a half years later. Nine years together total. Definitely comes down to the beliefs of each person and respecting each other's beliefs, morals and needs.

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  2. Guilty as well, but I am against it. It was wayyyy to hard to avoid occasions of sin. Why put your soul in jeopardy?

    It's easy to say I am against it now; we're married. But, I still wish I had more conviction back then.

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    1. Right and I agree it makes it more tempting, but sleeping together for us isn't what led us to sex. It happened without spend the night together. Although for those who have stronger wills then they should avoid spending the night together because it will make it harder to resist.

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  3. First off... the picture. Legit LOL.

    Second off... I agree with you on most points. But personally, it's just not something I feel overly convicted over. (Perhaps that's why you call it "morally neutral".) I think if my boyfriend and I lived in the same town or even the same dang state, this would be more of a problem. As is, we usually only see each other every 6 weeks, so it's kinda just the way things are for now. (And honestly, not tempting. But we had a legit discussion before it even happened. So that helps, I think.)

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  4. Harder than he'll to have it not go further. Yup. That's me. We tried literally sleeping together which ended up going all the way. Not proud of that. Like above gals, I wish I had more conviction back then. Thankfully, be is my husband, but in my book, I'd not do it again. You can't take it back and it's harder than hell to stop

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  5. I can see where this might not be sinful...but it just isn't worth it- also, it is nice to have a bit of mystery- don't you think? he snores, I drool a bit...not very mysterious

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  6. I've written about my experience before, and I vote for Know Yourself and Don't Be Stupid. :-)

    I think it is great for couples to know their personal lines and not cross them, but isn't the problem in such cases being alone rather than sleeping together? For me it always seemed that being alone (say, in his house with no fear of anyone walking in on you) and cuddling on the couch would be more of an invitation to sin than actually sleeping together, but I suppose it depends on the couple.

    There were times when I stupidly endangered both myself and others with exhausted driving because Josh and I were concerned about the scandal of spending the night together, even though we would have been in separate rooms. I'd love to read your thoughts on the additional issue of scandal (as opposed to just the near occasion of sin).

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  7. Sorry, I can not cite the book or author, but the analogy was swimming up close to the edge of a water fall. Some have a stronger will, then others. Mine is weak. I swim far away from the edge, as a married woman, when I'm in my fertile phase. Sometimes it may be a change of sleep pattern, even if we sleep in the same bed we go to bed at a different time. Try not to do anything romantic. Do an activity that you can't cuddle doing, like cleaning out the fish tank.

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  9. I agree, I think this is an instance of "don't clutch hot coals to your chest, lest you be burned." I'm guilty of it, but it's something I wouldn't do again, because the temptation can be very tough to reject. Not in every instance, but sometimes.

    And that's the problem, because you NEVER know ahead of time that you are going to be badly tempted. It tends to sneak up on you, which is why the best bet is to not give it an opening.

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  10. I guess I am weird. But I love sleep. Even now as a married woman, I am not keen on anyone disturbing my sleep. And my husband is (and was as my boyfriend) smoking hot. But... sleep... she is a cruel mistress.

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    1. ah, sleep. there are few things better than an uninterrupted night of sleep. :)

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  11. Guilty of it (obviously) but wouldn't recommend it, would change it if I could go back, and would encourage my future children not to do it. I think it definitely leads to temptation and honestly, it is incredibly intimate for us- just the act of cuddling and sleeping together, sex aside. I think that level of intimacy should be saved for marriage. Now maybe there is the rare time or two where there is some situation that makes it pretty unavoidable, but I would generally say nay.

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  12. Katie, I don't think this makes you a hypocrite. You state why, based on experience, you do not see it as a good idea.
    I totally agree with you, and I admire your writing this post.

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  13. So I remembered you were writing this post and for some reason I thought you would take the other position (not sure why I thought that... haha), so I loved reading your thoughts! I really do agree - I think it's generally a bad idea because it can easily turn into way further than what you wanted. That and I'm totally a cuddler when I want to be. But I'm a single gal and I guess don't have to worry about that right now ;)

    Also, not a hypocrite. If you are - we all are! You learned from experience, like we all do!

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  14. If you share a bed together before you are married, generally, expect it to lead to sex or expect to torture yourself. Especially for the guys.

    For us, it didn't take much to lead to sex. Still doesn't.

    (The only exception was the time when she was on the Pill. We found out about the "fourth mechanism" of the Pill: It reduces "opportunities for conception" by killing her sex drive.)

    That being said, Katie, the one thing I do take issue with is your use of the phrase "staying pure". "Purity" is a state of mind, not a state of being. Sexual sin doesn't make you "impure" or "dirty"--at least not any more than any other sin.

    The reason I bring this up is that focusing on "purity" as a goal in itself, IMHO, misses the point of WHY you are doing it (or should I say not "doing it"?). The point of it all to be able to build the solid friendship so that your relationship isn't being held together with sex. Overly focusing on the sex itself without looking into the reasons why you want sex when sex is not appropriate can lead to some relationally unhealthy behaviors.

    Plus, there is a big difference between dating, engagement, and marriage, even if you are supposed to be abstaining during all three. What is appropriate for a dating couple, may not be good preparation for marriage, and in marriage may be starving the relationship for intimacy.

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  15. I'm with you on this one-for the "near occasion of sin" you listed. But for another reason as well-cuddling in bed and waking up with your loved one is one of the great perks of marriage. And even if sleeping in the same bed didn't lead to physical sin, it's just best to save this special moment for marriage. How awesome to wake up next to your husband for the first time the morning after the wedding.

    We shared a bed a few times early in our relationship but decided to make it a rule not to do it anymore. We then dated for 3 more years before sleeping together again.

    Good topic!

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  16. Always an interesting topic. I slept with my husband in the literal sense many, many times before we were married. I didn't like that we were doing it sometimes, but we really and truly had no other option. We went to different schools for 2 years and I didn't have anyone else to stay with when I visited and the same when he came to visit me. When I lived with my parents for two years and he came to visit he stayed with his parents. Our first weekend at college we were both very good and he stayed in another friend's room, but that left me sleeping in his dorm room with his roommate--not sure that was better? We did not have sex before we were married, but we sure did swim pretty close to the edge of the falls and I know that sleeping together was the biggest cause of that. Looking back, it does not bother me that much (even though it should) because we did get married and it's not as though I shared so much with anyone that wasn't (eventually) my spouse.

    I think intimacy was just generally a very hard thing for us during our relationship because we had been together for so long before we got married (7 years). We consciously tried to take everything as slowly as possible (and I think we did pretty well for 7 years!), but by the time we were legal adults, I yearned so much to be married to him that I felt it was unjust for us to have to be apart all of the time when I had marital feelings for him (I always say I had already "married" him in my heart). We felt we couldn't get married because it wasn't something that would be supported by our families and then we would not have been able to finish school. It really makes me think a lot about how I would deal with my own kids who maybe want to get married very young.

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  17. I love this post. I think it is something a lot of people struggle with. I literally slept with my husband many times before we were married but we were very up front about our intentions -or lack of if you will- and it never led to anything sinful. Like many have said already though... I will certainly not recommend it to my younger siblings or my children one day when we have them. I have no regrets about sleeping in the same bed with my husband before we got married but Katie is right... it is sacred. My only regret is that I slept in someone else's bed and did nothing sinful before I met my husband. Even though we were just sleeping I would love to take it back. So I am anti sleeping together, too.

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  18. I never gave this possibility a thought because I can't imagine that anybody can sleep with the opposite sex without going all the way. See how old fashioned I am?

    I don't think you're a hypocrite. You're wiser now than then. No crime in that.

    My observation: sleeping together is dicey and is a way of tempting God. That makes us presumptious that God will give us the grace to get out of a temptation we have willfully placed ourselves in. That is a sin in itself.

    Now if sleeping together means one person in one room and another person in another room with locking doors between, that's a different story. But I don't think that's what you're talking about.

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  19. I'm firmly in the "near occasion of sin camp,and would ask any couple contemplating just sleeping together why they were doing it,if they truly didn't plan to have sex. Is one trapped at the other's house in a storm such that it would be unsafe to leave? Is one taking care of the other who is sick? Are there other options(like the couch)? If there is a good excuse, maybe,once in a while. If the real reason is you are looking for intimacy (even if not sex)then I'd say you could be moving from "near occasion" to sin

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  20. I am engaged and my fiance and I strive to be as chaste as possible and save those perks for marriage. Sadly, I got talked into co-napping with my ex when I was younger and felt really guilty about it at the time. We didn't go all the way, but I was pretty set on not though (also God's grace probably had a handle on that). However now, I think if my fiance and I co-slept I think it could be a problem. We have visited friends and stayed in the same room--but slept in separate beds.

    I have heard it explained that sharing a common life (which includes sleeping) is reserved for married couples. It's kind of similar to living together. It can lead to sin and some may say it is a sin. I think that I'd have to go to confession for it.

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  21. I think you're talking to a very specific audience, but I would venture to say that if you're ever trying to talk to a non-Catholic or a "light" Catholic they'll think you're absolutely ridiculous. The idea of discouraging sleeping next to someone is so alien to our culture that it won't win anyone over to our side (the Catholic side). If someone told me that they really valued their chastity until marriage so as an alternative they were opting just to sleep next to their bf and maybe touch/kiss I'd say "wow, that's awesome, you're really fighting back against a culture that wants "all-the-way sex" all the time and with diff partners!" Like, I think the idea is to turn people on to the idea of chastity till marriage... and telling them to not even sleep next to one another just seems so extreme that it's natural they'd just turn away.

    I know what you mean about sleep being something intimate, but listen, a more pressing matter is: 1. for unmarried boys and girls to stop having penetrative sex so they avoid STD's and pregnancy and 2. for them to realize what a big responsibility sex is, that should wait until total commitment (marriage) and 3. no contraception. Telling them to cut out something as non-intrusive as sleeping *beside* one another is so unrealistic that it's not going to change their minds.

    Again, this is just if you want to change others' minds. You may just want to be reinforcing and/or comforting people who think like you do. In which case, disregard my comment :)

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    1. Lol I'm sorry I just realized my comment may seem a lil rude. I think it's just because I know people (mostly girls) who've been really proud of "not going all the way" with their partner (before marriage) and it's made *me* so happy to hear that. And then to imagine me saying, "well, that's not good enough, you can't even sleep next to him!" would just seem so hurtful to their own dignity, I wouldn't say that to my friends. I think in my experience it's always been something to be a little embarrassed about, like, "oh, yeah, I'm not going to have *sex* till marriage, I know that sounds lame, and I'm trying to let *other things* be good enough" so it's a real struggle. I just want to congratulate people on the best that they can do, not try and make them feel like that's not good enough...

      ...but I'm not really sure what the intention of your post is, again. I have a feeling you're addressing people that are just wondering if sleeping together is a sin or not and saying "no, but it's a temptation toward sin" which is fine but I can't say I relate because there's too many people out there struggling just to say *technical* virgins till marriage and I that deserves praise in itself! I hope I explained myself and I'm sorry if I came off rude :)

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  22. I think this post is very relevant to the Catholic dating world and have added my two cents - http://notaminx.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-hangover-from-hook-up-culture.html

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  23. I know I'm late to the party, but I'm glad you addressed this topic. Having to say goodnight and sleep in separate rooms is one of the hardest parts of my long-distance relationship. Many times I've dozed off on his shoulder after a movie and wished we could stay that way. But in the long run we're glad we are keeping the sleep boundary in place, especially since we stay the weekend at one another's homes.

    As for giving scandal, I think community context is important. Sleeping/living together is the default arrangement in many people's minds, no matter what I do. It would be weird if I ran around broadcasting "So my fiance was in town SLEEPING ON A FUTON IN OUR BASEMENT FYI." If secular colleagues ask, I'll gladly explain, but I don't torture myself about it. On the other hand, I've had some great honest discussions about visit logistics with my Catholic friends.

    It's a more effective witness that we request separate guest rooms while traveling. As his niece observed, "Grandma and Grandpa shared the guest bed when they were here, because they're already married."

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