Getting a Sex-Friendly Mattress

We’ve had our current mattress for a few years, and it is sooooo comfortable. But we just bought a new one. Why? I’ll let clean comic Zoltan Kaszas explain (by the way, Jessica is his cat):

Yep, we discovered the hard way (or soft way?) that some mattresses perfect for sleeping do not work for sexual intimacy. A wedge pillow can certainly help, but even the pillow starts sinking in at some point.

Thus we were engaged last week in a lot of online research about mattresses, which included both the effectiveness in providing a good night’s sleep as well as the bow-chicka-wow-wow. 

But I started thinking about all of y’all: Are you struggling to reach climax because your mattress makes thrusting difficult? Is oral sex challenging to do when your bodies are sinking into the mattress like concrete blocks in water? Do you have to avoid a particular area of the mattress because it’s sagging? Do your springs creak so loud the neighbors are notified every time a little nooky is going on in your house?

Perhaps a new mattress is what your sex life needs.

Perhaps a new mattress is what your sex life needs. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Yes, we all put this off purchase because (1) we expect mattresses to last for a very long time, and (2) mattresses are expensive. 

How long does a mattress last?

Like some of y’all, my twenty-something son is sleeping on a too-old mattress — a hand-me-down mattress we bought before he was born. It should have been tossed years ago. Why?

Because mattresses should be replaced every 10 years, at the most. It might need to be replaced sooner. Indeed, Consumer Reports says it might be time to buy a new mattress if “you’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old. Remember, your body tolerates less pressure as it ages. As if getting older weren’t tough enough.” Gee, thanks.

Face it: Your mattress is only going to last 5-10 years. So if you’ve had one much longer, you need to consider how your past-its-prime mattress is affecting both your sleep and your sexual intimacy.

What about the cost of a mattress?

Yes, mattresses are not cheap. But think about it: How much time do you spend on your mattress? Actually, we spend about a third of our life sleeping or attempting to sleep. We spend 17 weeks, or 117 days, or 2808 hours having sex. (Some less, some more.) But that’s more time than you spend in your car or your kitchen or even the bathroom. Maybe it’s a good idea to make sure you’re comfortable in the space where you spend so much of your life.

We also know that quality sleep leads to better interpersonal interactions and to better health overall. Sex also leads to better health, meaning you need a good place to have it routinely. Seriously. It’s science. And your mattress can help on both those counts. 

That said, you only have as much money as you have. So it’s a good thing that a lot of mattress companies have dispensed with the storefront and sell online, which cuts costs. These days, you can get a solidly good one for less cost by buying it online or shopping at large discount store (like Sam’s or Costco). But do your homework, because if you go this route, you won’t be able to “test drive” the mattress in store.

What features matter most?

Support and bounce seem to be the key aspects for a sex-friendly mattress. Support simply means the mattress isn’t sinking or sagging. More memory foam on top or softer springs makes for more sinking, but the mattress’s foundation (box springs, base) matters even more in determining how much support it has. Ideally, a mattress should have a center support to deal with our hips or knees push down more during sex (and sleep).

Bounce is how much the mattress pushes back against you. Think about a basketball: If a basketball is filled with air, you can press your thumb into it and it will “bounce” right back into shape. But if the basketball has lost air, pressing your thumb in causes an indentation, and it may not bounce back into shape. Likewise, your mattress should have some of that resistance against your weight to go back into shape. That will help when you’re making love to keep from making an indentation in the bed.

Within those parameters, what mattress you get is a function of your body type and preference. Some want a bed to be soft, and some like it firm. Some have back or hip pain that can be addressed with the choice of mattress. Some people weigh less, and some people weigh more.

And it’s even more fun when you and your spouse are not the same and have to agree on a mattress to share! In which case, you could go with a mattress that allows each of you to set your side to your preference. 
We are trying that approach: an air mattress with separate remote control settings. 

But I’ll leave you with this story. Spock (hubby) and I went into one store to “test drive” the mattresses. We laid down on a display mattress, and he turned so that his back faced me. “Okay,” he said, “now scoot up close, so I can see how it feels with your hips near me.” I scooted up behind him. “Closer.” I nudged closer. “Closer.” At this point, I’m maybe two inches away from him.

I finally said, “Are you wanting me to spoon you here in public, in the middle of a mattress store?” He — oh, he of the Reluctant PDA Society — answered, “How else am I supposed to know how this mattress feels the way we actually fall asleep?”  For the sake of all potential onlookers, I remained where I was. 

But I did jokingly suggest, “How about next time we get into [sex position], you can thrust a few times, and we’ll see if the mattress is good for sex too? I’m sure that won’t make everyone in the store completely uncomfortable.” [Sarcasm at full throttle!] He laughed.

Summing up: Don’t do that. Please don’t do that. Just research, buy a mattress, and do your sex thing at home. 🙂

(By the way, we the found Sleep Like the Dead website to have the most helpful information.)

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Lots more practical sex tips in my book!

12 thoughts on “Getting a Sex-Friendly Mattress

  1. Bill

    Some folks buy their mattress with hopes of alleviating back pain. I was one of these after enduring multiple back surgeries. This became a point of slight contention as I felt I needed a firmer mattress than the wife found comfortable.

    However, the solution ended up being a specialize knee pillow. I didn’t realize the mechanics or laying on my side. If your knees touch it will naturally bend your lumbar. Using a knee pillow corrects the ‘geometry’ and has almost completely relieved the back pain for a Couple years now.

    Sounds a bit unrelated, but it allowed us to choose a mattress more suitable for both of our needs.

    Reply
  2. Proverbs 5:18-19

    Our Select Comfort lasted longer than 10 years because you can replace parts as needed, instead of throwing out the whole matteress.

    And the firmness can be adjusted depending on the (ahem) activity. 😉

    We liked ours so much, when the time came to finally replace it, we bought another.

    Reply
    1. Elisheba

      I suggest this bed too. You can adjust the firmness/softness every night if need be. Each side too. We bought one as a wedding gift to us 10 years ago and it feels like a brand new mattress still.

      Reply
  3. Terry

    We need to replace our mattress of 18 years (yikes!), and our upcoming move may well be the time to do it. The hubs has been looking at a Sleep Number, while I’ve been intrigued by an online company that sells mattress parts, not mattresses per se. They do it this way so as not to be under the fire-proofing laws that force mattress companies to soak their products with fire-retardant chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution. Thus their “mattresses” consist of simple 3″ slabs of latex foam, so that one can customize the firmness of the top, bottom and even a middle layer depending on the desired thickness. Add a wool batt to wrap it in and it’s practically fireproof as wool is too dense for oxygen to penetrate. They’ll even sew a custom mattress cover for you and mail it all for you to assemble! As long as they’re not selling completed mattresses, they’re not a “mattress company”.

    Of course I’ve no idea how well either of us would sleep (or do other things) on a latex slab, and I don’t know what we’d do for box springs but I find the overall model intriguing. I suppose I need to address defaulting to a “figure-4” position much of the time.

    Reply
  4. amy

    What would you suggest to protect the mattress? We have a waterproof matress pad but that is a little warm durring summer months to sleep with. We normally use towels to help allieviate a wet spot on the sheets but this rarely is enough and now that we have teens I am being asked why we go through so many towela each week… Sigh…i know i should be happy to not need lube but there is such a thing as too much liquid…

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I would think you could buy a disposable bed mat (they sell them at Target), which you could put under a sheet so your kids don’t see/know. Then after use, you just throw them away.

      Reply
    2. Ateam_momma_of_4

      I found out while researching cloth diapers that Fleece repels water/liquid, so I keep a fleece blanket under our sheet. I don’t notice it being extra hot, like a mattress cover was. (we tried that for like a week when we first got our mattress, and hubby said no more!) And you can get fleece blankets pretty cheap at walmart. I think like $2.98 for the kid sized patterned ones, which are big enough to cover the main parts of our queen mattress to protect from all things body fluid (sweat, slobber, vomit, leaky diapers, or intimate realated flluids. 😉 ) Or you could just buy a some fleece from the fabric store to fit your bed. 😉

      Reply
    3. Mike

      I was searching too and found a product on Amazon that is a waterproof furniture cover marketed for protection against pet accidents. But if you read the reviews, lots of people say that it is perfect for protecting beds (or sofas, etc.) during adult play. It is a fleece throw with a plastic inner lining, so it is very comfortable and completely waterproof, and quiet. Several sizes and color options are available too. And machine washable. There are a few different brands selling similar items, but the one that seems best-rated is Mambe. Not sure how you’d explain it to the teenagers though if you don’t have any pets. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Mikayla Flanders

    Your response of next time we should just do a sex position and see if it makes everyone uncomfortable instantly reminded me of a Key and Peele Youtube video called Matress Shopping. They’re a funny (although often more adult humor) comedian pair that my husband introduced me to a couple years back.

    Reply
  6. Mark

    Actually, a friend of mine that owns a furniture store, makes the argument that many don’t think about 4 of the most important items we purchase. A home, a car, a bed and shoes.

    On average we spend a 1/3 of our lives in bed and we usually wear shoes wherever we go. (we take our shoes off in house)

    And yet there many (his quotes, not mine) that won’t purchase a quality mattress or wear quality shoes, in order so they can buy a fancier home and drive a fancier car.

    Reply

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