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The phrase "sleeping with someone" often means "having sex." What is the origin of this sexual connotation? Is there a non-sexual equivalent of this phrase to express sleeping with someone without sexual intercourse?

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"I am going to sleep at their place." How about "spending the night"? – Lester Nubla Jan 28 '14 at 5:43
Well... If you're going to share a bed, even if you clearly specify that you won't "do" anything, sex will always be the implication to others. – Lester Nubla Jan 28 '14 at 5:47
@Kris A dirty mind is a joy forever – mplungjan Jan 28 '14 at 6:44
@LesterNubla I would say "spending the night" is suggestive as well. I guess these phrases are so often used euphemistically we just jump to those conclusions?! – starsplusplus Jan 28 '14 at 10:50
" why would you do that?" Because you're both tired and there's only one bed, or there's no heat and not enough bedding. Because you're a couple who co-own the bed (yes, that's right, couples don't constantly have sex.) I'm sure an intelligent person with a decent imagination can come up with other reasons. – Jim Balter Jan 28 '14 at 20:52

38 Answers 38


is an abbreviation (or acronym) for "Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters," a term coined in the late 1970s by the United States Census Bureau as part of an effort to more accurately gauge the prevalence of cohabitation in American households.

It was later replaced with 'unmarried partners'

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An uglier and more contrived abbreviation was never devised, either before or since. Today, a corresponding abbreviation would have to take account of the acknowledged existence of same-sex partners. – Erik Kowal May 5 '14 at 11:06
"Cohabitation" and "partners" are terms that suggest a sexual relationship. – sumelic Mar 20 at 16:10

This was the original intent of the word 'bedfellows', as in 'Politics makes strange bedfellows.' It is about having to lie next to one another, in the sense of 'You have made your bed; now lie in it.' (They do not mean 'made your bed' by putting on the sheets, they mean 'made up the contents of your bed'.)

You can tell this is not about sex, because such references come from a time when enclosed and heated space was at a premium and people, even at home, but especially in hotels, shared multiple-person beds instead of there being multiple beds in a space, either for compactness, or for warmth.

(Besides the other imagery would paint all politicians as gay.)

You could quaintly revive this, but it may be so cutesy they will just think you are being coy.

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We shared sleeping quarters, or -- less suggestive still -- We {were forced to / had to} share our sleeping quarters. If the reference to being forced to sleep in the same space stands, then even bed could be used without implying that sex took place.

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I would say "went to sleep together".

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Admittedly, English is not my first language, but to me this sounds most correct and free of connotations. I may be wrong, but to me, "we slept together" sounds almost as good (as opposed to "we slept with each other"). – Dolda2000 Nov 5 '14 at 3:36

You could speak of 'sleeping Platonically', or 'Sleeping in a Platonic bed'

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We passed out together.

We conked out together.

We dozed together.

We napped together.

We shared 40 winks.

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I would add context.

"When we arrived at all we could find was a hotel room with a single bed, so we were forced to share one bed".

"We climbed up the mountain, but were surprised by bad weather. It was freezing cold, so we shared one sleeping bag".

"We sleep in the same bed, but that's all".

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Although make love is not dishonorable, the notion 'with the most honorable intentions', should be initially embedded in anybody's mind.

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protected by tchrist Jan 31 '14 at 23:12

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