Short take on the news: shared beds

There’s a story on the BBC today wherein a Doctor suggests that married couples not share a bed because sleeping apart is healthier. The article says “Dr Stanley, who sleeps separately from his wife, points out that historically we were never meant to share our beds. He said the modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space”.

I think someone needs to read a little social history.  Especially if he thinks the only time people have ever shared beds was as a married couple.

I remember when I was research women’s roles in war in Scotland (and Europe) for one of my grad seminars and read an essay about women’s units in Britain during WWII.[1] The administrators (upper and middle class urbanites) were concerned about what they saw as lesbianism among the women in the barracks; these women were from rural, less wealthy families and as one of them pointed out later, they had never had their own bed. Many of them were sharing a bed not in a romantic or sexual way but because they were so unused to sleeping alone they could not sleep at all.

I appreciate that people have the option to sleep seperately or alone, but one would hope that when you start making historical defenses for your scientific theories, you would actually understand the history…

1 I believe the essay was in A soldier and a woman : sexual integration in the military – it may have been the DeGroot article.

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