Our love, sex and dating columnist Rosie Green on what she wears in the bedroom
For decades my bedroom style was not just lacking, it was missing in action. If the fashion police had forced access to my room during my married years they would have arrested, charged and convicted me with crimes against nocturnal style.
While I always loved the idea of sleeping in a silk slip like Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or pulling on my lover’s shirt to vibe Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the reality was always a lot less attractive.
In my pre-divorce life I always teamed old T-shirts with my ex’s boxer shorts (which he said I stretched ‒ how rude) to go to bed in. Sometimes, after a particularly heavy night, I crashed out in the party dress I went out in. Which is terrible, I know – but better than workout gear, which someone once told me they slept in to make their morning exit to the gym quicker.
Occasionally, I did try to upgrade my night-time look. Someone once gave me some white silk pyjamas that had my initials monogrammed on them. They cost more than my fridge. But when I tried them on, thanks to the shiny fabric and the cut, I looked like Elvis. In the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich stage.
Why did I take so much care over my daytime appearance, but neglect bedwear?
I think, with hindsight, I was too relaxed. Maybe a bit lazy. It mattered more to me how I looked to friends and colleagues than it did to my bed partner. But I felt anything overtly sexy was too try-hard. Too eager to please. A bit cringe.
I was also aware nakedness signalled a readiness for er, action, which – as a working woman with two kids that liked to rise at the break of day – was not always the case. Plus, I was worried about being seen in the buff should we get burgled.
And if we went to a hotel? Well, the anxiety about being disturbed by over-zealous housekeeping put paid to any nakedness. Oh, and I’ve been scarred by my friend Sally’s hotel horror story. She put her dinner tray outside her door at 3am, only for it to close and lock behind her, leaving her in the corridor. Starkers. Imagine.
So given all this, how did it happen that I am now sleeping naked? For a start, after my divorce, I am less buttoned-up (literally). And, ironically, less scared. Plus, in my new relationship I am experiencing the deliciousness of the honeymoon phase. Rather than trying to dissuade advances, I am looking to invite them.
Following the miserable months after my marriage split and the consequent period of solo sleeping (for the first time since I was 18) I felt a dearth of physical contact. A bad case of ‘skin hunger.’ Once I got together with my boyfriend I got the oxytocin rush that skin-to-skin brings. I am not giving that up.
And I’m not just imagining that it makes you feel closer to each other. While midnight googling I saw that, according to research by luxe bedding company Mela, sleeping naked increases intimacy and makes you feel more loving towards your partner. Yes, please!
What’s more, sleeping nude seems a bit rebellious, freer – less domestic.
My dating journey has also made me consider men’s sleeping attire – more specifically, to think about what turns me off. Apparently, the biggest giver of the ‘ick’ (again, thanks Google) is football shirts. Yes – horrendous.
However, I’m not sure how I’d feel about a man in cosy pyjamas. There aren’t many men who can carry them off‒ or look stylish in a dressing gown, for that matter. Paul Newman managed both in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Brad Pitt just about styled it out in Fight Club. But wearing nada is better all round.
Marilyn Monroe said she slept naked except for Chanel No 5– and she was the ultimate sex symbol. (Though, thinking about it, perhaps not the best role model for solid self-esteem and boundary setting).
But there are practicalities to consider.
Only last week I found myself in my boyfriend’s kitchen in the late evening, fumbling around for a glass of water, when the security light outside was triggered. Suddenly, the starkers me was lit up by a thousand watts.
I can only apologise to his neighbours.