I’ve been sleeping naked for over 22 years. I know it’s been that long because until the age of 14, I wore pyjamas – and never once considered that there might be an alternative. It was only in the summer of 1995, when I belatedly discovered masturbation – and by extension, my own body – that going to bed at night without exchanging one set of clothes for another began to seem not just appealing but essential.
It’s no coincidence that the two developments occurred in parallel. I sleep naked these days out of habit and because, ultimately, it’s more comfortable, but there’s always been a sexual aspect to it as well, which I guess is why I’m writing about it here. Right from the start, on those sticky, sweaty, school holiday nights, I’d lie face-down and grind my cock against the cool bedsheet, seeking relief from both the nocturnal heat and my own raging hormones. Or I’d grip the duvet between my thighs and squeeze tight, till I could feel myself throb with a desire that I was still only just beginning to understand.
Nascent sexuality can be confusing and scary, but it’s thrilling too. Even as teenagers, our lives are largely monitored and guided – if not outright controlled – by parents, teachers, and other adults. That process of exploring our bodies, our impulses, and our fantasies for the first time is a form of liberation; it’s one of the ways in which we start to take ownership of our own lives, however hesitant and nervous we initially might be about doing so. For me, sleeping naked was an important piece of that jigsaw, because it represented a tangible delineation of the boundary between childhood and adolescence.
And I used to wank so often like that, especially once I got to university! I’d settle down for the night, grab a porn magazine or a sheaf of stories I’d printed off Literotica, and line up both lube and tissues, so I didn’t have to get out of bed again afterwards. I may never have joined the boy scouts, but where student masturbation was concerned, I always came prepared. Though to be honest, the tissues were generally there as back-up – at that stage, I usually just came all over myself, knowing that even if I didn’t scoop it up and lick it off my fingers, I could wash away any residual stickiness in the shower the next morning.
I was single for most of that period – actually, with the exception of one six-month relationship, I was single all the way through till the age of 22 – but that in no way reduced the pleasure I took from sleeping (and waking up) naked. Nor has entering a relationship ever changed the nature of that pleasure. Even when I don’t masturbate or have sex at night, it’s the best way I’ve found of getting (or keeping) myself low-level horny; the kind of simmering background hum that can boost endorphin levels and stop you sinking into a listless torpor.
I really value things that make me feel physically energised in that way. It took me a long time to group together in my head all those superficially disparate activities – running, massage, dance classes, sleeping naked, posing for nude photos, and a whole load more – and realise that a common thread ran through them. Or ran through my response to them, at least. Each one functions as an immediate mood enhancer; a physical shortcut to improved mental health and happiness. If I’m not running much, if I’m not interested in taking filthy photos, or if I’m regularly getting into bed without first flinging whatever I’m wearing onto a nearby chair, there’s every chance I’m also feeling shit about myself in some way – whether I’m aware of that yet or not.
So yes, these days sleeping naked is both an enjoyable way of feeling intimate with myself(/Liv) and an act of self-care. It also makes sense to me on a more basic, logical level. After all, none of the reasons for wearing clothes really apply in bed. Forget fashion for a minute – we cover our bodies in order to fulfil a small number of practical and social requirements:
- Stay warm
- Preserve modesty
- Protect ourselves against the elements and external objects
- Make movement more comfortable
Snuggled under a duvet, safe from the outside world – and from the disapproving eyes of a society that prefers to see the human body covered up in most circumstances – I don’t need to add another layer of material in order to sleep. In fact, on the rare occasions in deepest winter when I doze off without removing my PJ bottoms, I invariably wake up in the middle of the night, sweaty, wriggling and restless, longing for the cool relief of the sheet against my skin.
So while they may feel lovely and cosy when I’m curled up on the sofa in front of a movie, in bed pyjamas do nothing but get in the way. They make it harder to sleep, harder to fuck, harder to masturbate, and harder just to enjoy being aware of my own body; which is why, 99 times out of 100, I leave them where they belong – on the bedroom floor.