Monday, July 24, 2006

Sex for dummies...or is that with dummies?

Friendster Guy and I have a running, mmm, I wouldn't say joke, but a running commentary about how he sleeps better when I'm not around. Given the fact that as long as we are together I will be around and sometimes sharing a bed, and that for the foreseeable future that is how it's going to be - and it may someday even increase - he's just going to have to suck it up. To prove his point, however, he jokingly shared this headline with me "Study: Men Sharing Beds Impairs Mental Ability", also cross referenced under "Men Who Sleep With A Partner Are Dumber"

First, one study of 8 unmarried heterosexual couples does not a scientific study make.

Second, it's not that men are dumber, they just choose to use their brain less if there is a female around. There are two reasons for this. The first is that their brain tends to be a little lower in their body when a woman is around. Second, men tend to coopt a woman's brain if they have one around to utilize. If you separate the couple after they've just been in close proximity, it takes a little while for the man to adjust, hence the lower mental acuity result. My theory plays itself out when men are looking for something. I've seen men (ok, my X) look for something without ever opening a single drawer or even scanning surface areas. It's like he expected it to be floating in front of his eyes.

Male (because I'm sure it's not just my X who does this) - "I can't find my blahdy blah."

Female - "Did you look in the drawer where we keep it?"

Male - "We have a drawer?"

Men often seem capable of doing things for themselves but not generally when there is a woman they are in a relationship with around. It's like the phrase, when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a woman is nowhere in sight, can a man do things on his own? Obviously they've been able to. But where's the scientific study to prove that?

Anyway, all this study proves is that someone had too much time on their hands because they just broke up with their girlfriend and wanted something more to blame on her and/or to feel better about. Eh voila! "At least now I'll be smarter if I don't have someone to sleep with."


Josh Shear said...

hmmm...i read this study differently from you, i think. my impression, when i read it after feministing posted on it, was that sharing a bed is not so fantastic brain-wise for either men or for women.

sharing a bed leads to a modicum of sleep deprivation for both parties, but according to the study, women – when they do finally get to sleep – sleep more deeply than men.

my very limited experience: i've seen this in the one long-term relationship i've been in. my former partner, a woman, was almost always asleep first, and was – with two exceptions – the second one awake.

sleep deprivation is bad for brain function. it takes the brain a longer time to perform simple tasks than it would on a normal amount of sleep. i don't think that means necessarily that men in general are dumber in the presence of women; i really just think it's a matter of the not sleeping so well.

i do think, however, that sharing a bed can be good emotionally and (ahem) physically.

but i bet if both you and friendster guy did multiplication tables at dinner time and then again right when you woke up, you'd find that your dinner tables would be more accurate and completed more quickly.

aside: i know more than one woman who has said she will not share a bed with her mate when she gets married (i know of no men who have taken the same pledge – perhaps that's a little southerly brain work). people need their sleep, and it's good that they know enough about themselves to understand that sharing a bed is not going to get them there.

Justin M said...

Wow... I love these posts and subsequent possible debates! :) The battle of the sexes is alive and well here!

What I got out of this study is that sleeping with a partner allows less restful sleep for both partners. Women also sleep less restful but are not as affected by the loss of deep sleep. We (men and women) are totally "wired differently" and sleeping is no exception.

In my experience, I often am less rested after sleeping a night with someone else in the bed. There are moments of tossing and turning that slightly disturb the other partner. Unless you both share the same sleep cycle, passing in and out of REM at approximately the same time, then you are screwed... Total restful sleep will not happen. I don't think you are mad at the study, you just sound mad at Friendster guy for making you feel a tad bit "unwanted" by referring to the study. Did he really mean to choose restful sleep over sleeping next to you? Doubtful.

I also like the reference to men using their brain "less" when women are around. I think this is hillarious! I think it's more a matter of approach to situations. I feel that women and men approach a task differently. Take for example, going out to eat at 7:00. Usually a woman will plan all day for the event, dubiously noting and planning all tasks that allow them to reach the goal of being ready at 7:00. Somewhere in that list, they start to plan what and when the male must do their things too (which usually starts much earlier than when a male would normally do things to get ready). Most of the time men do not understand this crazy plan and how all of a sudden there is a preconcieved and planned event that the man must do, without even knowing. Over the course of time instead of actually thinking about these tasks, he usually just waits for the woman to tell him what to do rather than actually doing what he wants... hence avoiding an arguement. :) By doing this, women believe they are thinking twice as hard and the man is not thinking at all. Funny, because usually the man just doesn't want to argue, he just waits for the "tasks" to be assigned. After the checklist is done, then a happy dinner can commence. Ever try and tell a woman to back off with any of her newly assigned tasks? It ends with "I'm not very hungry anymore."

Now, I can't speak for your "X", but I can say that men are very capable of doing things on their own. After a breakup, usually it takes the guy a bit longer to adjust because we are more deeply creatures of habit. After getting "trained" by our last partner, we often forget what the original way of getting ready for dinner was... we eventually remember, but that's usually right after we find someone else! :) lol

Sassy Pants said...

Wow, let's hear from the men shall we? I reread my post and I really didn't mean for it to sound so angry. I wasn't. Just tired and trying to get off the computer. (I'm not mad at you FG.)

Just one more thing that I should have focused on - the fact that the study was done on unmarried couples. Having been married for a significant amount of time, I can say that I eventually had a harder time sleeping without my spouse than with. Or at least a harder time falling asleep. As Justin said, when your cycles are off, you're screwed. I'd guess that the longer you are with a person, the more in tune your cycles get. When you are in the beginning of a relationship where sleep location and timing and whether or not you are alone or together is not consistent it can totally wreak havoc on your system. I myself have had to resort to coffee in the mornings. I never did that before.

I wonder what the effects are with homosexual couples.

NinjaMama said...

Married woman here.

quote - Dr Neil Stanley added, "Historically, we have never been meant to sleep in the same bed as each other. It is a bizarre thing to do." -


Since when were couples not meant to sleep in the same bed together?
This guy is wacked. It is much less bizarre to have sexual relations and then kiss each other goodnight and go to separate beds. That makes for some really great relationships, huh?

Would the headlines have read the same if it was two men sharing a bed. Sorry if I don't have sympathy for the 20 something guys who could probably get a better nights sleep if they weren't so preoccupied with the 'body' of the person sleeping next to them.
I am personally FED UP with women getting blamed for everything. Here we go again.

NOBODY sleeps well when thrown into a new situation. After years of sharing the same bed I have a difficult time sleeping WITHOUT my husband. (Although it is a treat to get the whole bed to myself, I am just tired the next day)

Yes, I do sound angry and no I am not sorry about that.

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