THE BLOG

Sharp Toe Nails, Rough Whiskers, Heavy Legs And Other Physical Conditions That Can Block Snuggling In Bed

So despite the ideal many people have of snuggling happily in bed at night, there are some people who would rather not snuggle or who have to be very careful about snuggling because of something physical about their partner.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

There is the ideal of two people snuggling in bed, very glad to be touching. But the reality is that in many couples something physical about one or both of the partners makes snuggling challenging or unpleasant. For example, in the interviews for my Two in a Bed book, one woman complained bitterly about her husband's sharp toe nails. Several women said that their husband's whiskers made face-to-face snuggling quite unpleasant. Some people talked about the heavy legs, heavy arms, or heavy body of the partner making many snuggling positions unpleasant or impossible. One person said that a partner's skin disease made it creepy to touch the partner in areas where the skin had erupted. One woman didn't like it that her partner was so sweaty. So despite the ideal many people have of snuggling happily in bed at night, there are some people who would rather not snuggle or who have to be very careful about snuggling because of something physical about their partner.

It's Often Not Just Something to Get Used To

Some of the time one can get used to something about a partner. Many people, for example, get used to a partner's softness in places where film actors look firm, and many people get used to a partner's odors. But some of what puts people off physically can be very difficult to get used to. The woman whose husband had sharp toe nails had scratches on her feet and ankles from his toe nails. The woman whose husband was a weight lifter said she could not breathe when his massive arm was across her upper body. Some of the women whose husbands had rough whiskers would come to work in the morning with scrapes on their faces if they had too much face-to-face contact the night before. Also, what some people seem to be able to get used to others cannot.

Some Problem Might Be Reduced or Eliminated
I don't think that the only choice with any physical problem that makes snuggling in bed difficult or impossible is to get over being bothered by the problem. Some problems might be reduced or eliminated. Even if the man with sharp toenails has toes that curl up in ways that make his nails more like blades, he can still find ways to trim his nails so they are less sharp. Or one or both of the partners could wear socks to bed. Some men I interviewed shaved before going to bed. They might still have faces that were somewhat rough to a partner's sensitive skin, but shaving often made things easier for the partner. One man had dieted radically over a long period of time and had lost a very large amount of weight. He did that for health reasons, but his great loss of weight made it possible for his wife to be comfortable with a wider range of cuddling positions than before he had lost the weight. But some problems are unlikely to go away no matter how much the partners want them to go away. Very muscular people are going to still have heavy limbs. Some skin diseases are not going to go away. Then what?

It's Normal Couple Life
A couple who has some sort of physical block to snuggling is not unusual. Lots of couples are in the same boat. In fact, couple life is constantly a matter of accommodating to one another, learning to tolerate things that are in some way difficult, living with what is, accepting changes, and finding satisfaction and joy in what is. So if there are physical problems that make snuggling challenging and they can't be resolved, then it is time to figure out what can be done to live with the problems. The woman whose husband was a weight lifter still had her snuggle times with him, but the snuggling never involved him putting his arm across her. Some women with husbands with sharp whiskers worked out with their husbands snuggling positions that kept him from rasping her with his whiskers. Ultimately you have some choices: live with what is there and either accommodate to it (learn, use pillows, snuggle in a different way, get treatment for the skin disease, etc.) while having contact, or have less contact (and maybe that means a bigger bed). In any case, whatever you do to continue to be a couple you are among millions of other couples who have had to figure out what to do about physical problems that made bedtime snuggling a challenge.