The Problem With That Study on Sleeping vs. Cuddling After Sex

What Women Really Think
Jan. 24 2012 3:07 PM

The Problem With That Study on Sleeping vs. Cuddling After Sex

A Chinese couple test a display bed at an Ikea frurniture store in Beijing on August 15, 2011.

Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

A new study published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology claims that falling asleep after sex may inhibit relationship bonding. “A tendency to fall asleep before one's partner after sex may be a non-conscious way to block any commitment conversation,” the UPI reported, which could seem rather alarming to anyone already insecure about a relationship. Many bloggers are bringing an air of skepticism to this study: For instance, on Jezebel, Cassie Murdoch notes that falling asleep to dodge relationship talk “seems awfully crafty—isn't it just as likely that the person simply had a long day at work and was not trying to engage in some kind of evolutionary mind fuck?”

“Tired after a long day of class and some drinking” might be more accurate. What has gone largely unnoticed is the age of those surveyed. The full study (PDF) notes that the 456 anonymous participants surveyed were all undergraduates at two large Midwestern public universities. The respondents’ median age was 20. It seems rather risky to make sweeping statements about relationships based on the post-coital habits of teenagers and early twentysomethings still in college. Students’ lifestyles—and sex lives—are very different from adults’ (at least, I like to think so). Also: The study makes no mention of how alcohol affected post-sex behavior, which could be an influential factor, given the fact that the participants are in college. So before you shake your partner awake, demanding some cuddling for the betterment of your relationship, take a deep breath.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.