Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bedding down

Our bed gets a lot of use.  There is the sleeping of course, and the times where we put out the 'Do Not Disturb' sign and lock the door.  But it is also where we gather for family prayer and family scripture reading.  It was where my wife would nurse our babies, where young children would come for comfort after a nightmare or when feeling ill.  It is where my wife relaxes with a good book or draws up plans for her garden or designs a new home.  It is where my wife and I have had some of our deepest joys and our hardest battles.  Where we have struggled with our hurts, where painful moments have slowly blossomed into new understanding and greater appreciation for each other.  Where Christmas presents have been wrapped and hidden. 

In our time we have gone through a few beds.  As newlyweds we went right from our honeymoon into the married student housing for the university I was attending.  It came furnished, but the bed was an old double mattress over a frame that had no box spring or platform.  The mattress was supported by springs that went side to side across the frame.  When we lay down it felt like we were the meat in a very large soft taco.  That night the frame was removed and the mattress put on the floor. 

We began a quest to find a bed of our own as soon as possible.  I've come to think that having the right bed is important to the intimate life of the marriage.  Here are my observations on the different types of beds we've had:

The Waterbed
Waterbeds are not a very popular choice these days, and if you want one you may have to do some looking for it.  If you are going to get one, get the very best motion reduction you can afford, and don't even think of getting a mattress with no motion reduction.

We had a king sized waterbed for many years. It was nice, especially in winter, to climb into a bed that was already warm, but it also was that much harder to climb out of it in the morning.  You had to get yourself up and over the side of the box holding the mattress.  That was one more reason to hit the snooze button.

There is some maintenance involved, including adding chemicals inside the mattress to help keep the vinyl in good shape, and finding and sealing the occasional small leak (then changing the damp bedsheets).  Any air bubbles in the mattress were a noisy nuisance and getting them out was a two person job.

Moving a waterbed is a big job of disassembling the frame after draining the mattress then moving all the pieces to the new home, putting the frame together and filling the mattress.  By the next day it would be warm enough sleep on.  A cold waterbed mattress is no fun at all.

As far as intimacy went, if you like variety, this is not the bed for you.  It was fine for the missionary position, but other positions were more awkward or even unworkable.  I have no idea if it was coincidence or if the magnetic field of the waterbed heater did something, but every child we conceived in that bed turned out to be a girl.

As we both added on a few pounds we reached a point where our combined weight when together would have us sink to the bottom which was not comfortable, and so decided it was time for a new bed. The mattress of a king sized waterbed is not the same dimensions as a king sized coil spring mattress so we got rid of the entire thing.

Coil Spring
Our next bed was a regular coil spring mattress, still king sized, but not exactly top of the line.  The frame was a metal platform frame so there was no box spring, just the mattress.  The platform part itself was a heavy gauge wire mesh but that had too much flex it in, so I got some 3/8 plywood sheets cut to the right size to drop into the frame and the mattress rested on that.  Problem solved.

Since I expect most of you have experienced coil spring mattress I won't go into detail on that, but the bed frame was very noisy during those intimate moments.  We were not bothered by that too much, but as the kids got older and realized what that noise meant they certainly complained, which gave us a chance to teach them a bit about the importance and rightness of intimacy in marriage.  They complained about that too.

Our mattress began to show a lot of uneven wear, creating a surface with high and low points resembling a map of Middle Earth.  I was getting a sore back from sleeping on it and it was time again to make a change.

Memory Foam
A few months ago we replaced our coil spring mattress with a new memory foam mattress.  The soft and medium mattresses were wonderful to lay on in the showroom, but to roll over felt like rolling uphill due to how deep we sank into the foam. Neither one of us spends the whole night in the same position so we went with a much firmer mattress.  We also made sure that the edges of the mattress held up,  we didn't want to roll over to be near the edge only to sink in to the point where we wind up getting dumped off the bed in our sleep.

We kept the metal frame but because motion is so well absorbed by the mattress, the frame makes practically no noise at all now even when we are at our most energetic.  That also means my light sleeping wife is not disturbed when I roll over or come to bed after she is already asleep.

In most cases there is no significant difference between a coil mattress and a firm memory foam mattress when being intimate, except that it is far more comfortable to kneel on.  The mattress change also added a couple inches of height to our bed, and that has proven advantageous as well but a thicker coil mattress would have given us that too.

In terms of moving, our memory foam mattress is much heavier than our coil spring mattress was, and not as flexible bending around corners as it was brought inside.  I expect softer memory foam mattresses would be more flexible than ours.

The next time you find yourself shopping for a bed, be sure to take into account how you and your spouse sleep.  Do you spoon through the night or each keep to your own side?  Do you stay in one position all through the night or do you move around a bit?  Are either of you prone to be woken up easily if the other rolls over?  But also take into account the impact the bed will have on your sexual relationship.  Does it open up new possibilities or close some off you would like to keep open?

Since you can't test all those things in the showroom, be sure the return policy will allow you to change your mind and be aware of how long you have that option before you make your purchase. 

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