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
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    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
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    @Kris A dirty mind is a joy forever – mplungjan Jan 28 '14 at 6:44
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    @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
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    " 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

41 Answers 41


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

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Stating the bleeding obvious:

  • The origin of the sexual connotation is that in most English speaking societies, people who are "sleeping together" are also sexual partners.
  • As evidenced by the plethora of confusing answers here, there is no commonly accepted phrase to express sleeping with someone without implying a sexual relationship.
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  • And it is not just us. The word 'coitus' is from the Greek word for 'bed'. So we are not the first society to 'bed' our potential spouses. – Jon Jay Obermark May 1 '14 at 14:29
  • @JonJayObermark: Actually, "coitus" comes from Latin and has nothing to do with a word for "bed," so I'm not sure why you thought that. – herisson Mar 20 '16 at 16:08

Perhaps, "We literally slept together." The use of the "literally" to mean "very" weakens this a bit, but I thought I'd offer it as another choice.

I agree that with American (Western?) culture as it is, you probably can't avoid the implication altogether, unless the person you're sharing a bed with a child or a relative. It also helps if you give the reason for not getting separate beds.

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    Don't blame this on America or on modernness. The polite Hebrew and Greek words for sex are both the result of casting 'bed' as a verb. – Jon Jay Obermark May 1 '14 at 14:32
  • For people with a dirty mind, "child" or "relative" just makes things ten times worse :-( – gnasher729 Mar 20 '16 at 15:39


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. – herisson Mar 20 '16 at 16:10

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

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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An expression I've heard that isn't likely to be misinterpreted would be

We shared opposite sides of the bed.

The meaning is clearly understood even though it can't be literally accurate.

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You could say 'we're room-mates' but, in England, no-one is evvverrr gonna believe you're not having sex. If you share a room. Sorry.

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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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BUNKED is the word you are looking for.

Meaning and Usage:

sleep in a bunk or improvised bed, typically in shared quarters.

"they bunk together in the dormitory"

So you can just say "I bunked in the bed with her" , "I bunked in her house for the night" to mean it in a non sexual sense.

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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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