What we wear between the sheetsComment on this story
London - Flannel pyjamas, slinky negligees, or nothing at all? Your choice of nightwear might be more significant than you’d imagine.
A recent survey found that couples who go to bed nude are more happily married than their pyjama-wearing counterparts.
We asked five writers to reveal what they wear between the sheets - and how it affects their love-lives...
I love clean sheets against my skin
Brian Viner 52, says: My pyjama years stopped when I was 12, after I read that boxer Muhammad Ali, then a global superstar, slept naked in bed.
So it wasn’t for intimacy with a partner that I rejected the flannel jim-jams, but for the comfort of knowing that I, a flabby adolescent from Merseyside who couldn’t punch my way out of a crisp packet, had at least one thing in common with the great Ali.
I continued to sleep in the altogether after I was married 21 years ago, but eventually started keeping on my discreetly patterned M&S boxer shorts to preserve my dignity during the trudge along the landing for a nocturnal pee. I didn’t want to frighten the children.
My wife sleeps in just her knickers, too. A (mostly) bare night-time embrace continues to be one of the joys of my marriage, even though it is invariably followed by me rolling over to sleep and Jane returning (a little too eagerly, I sometimes think) to her novel.
I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be naked, or nearly naked, in bed. It encourages intimacy, so I can see why being nude in bed makes for happier couples.
There’s also the kiss of clean sheets against the skin - surely one of life’s sensual pleasures?
And I’m partial to the balm of the electric blanket. We live in a draughty old house in the countryside, so between November and March we go three in a bed: Jane, me and the leccy blanket.
The only nightwear that causes the wrong sort of frisson between us is my red Virgin Atlantic eye-mask, which I was given on a flight. I started wearing it two years ago when I realised that in advancing middle age I could no longer sleep through the creeping morning light.
Jane says it’s like waking with the Lone Ranger. I reckon that’s no bad thing.
Pyjamas don’t have to be passion killers
Linda Kelsey, 63, says: While I understand the sensual pleasure of reaching out for your loved one and making contact with warm and fragrant flesh rather than 100 per cent polyester, there’s only so far I’m prepared to go in pursuit of conjugal bliss. Perhaps my lifelong preference for covering up in bed has contributed to the fact I’m twice divorced.
Both my exes had a predilection for night-time nakedness, but finally I have a partner who is as partial to his old-codger pyjamas (purple and white stripes/blue and white stripes, M&S or John Lewis) as I am to my somewhat more stylish White Company grey marl and navy spaghetti-strap numbers.
Of course, come winter, they will be supplemented with a cardi and a pair of socks.
I don’t agree that sleeping naked improves a relationship. I’ve never found jumping into bed without a stitch on particularly sexy - whereas unbuttoning pyjama tops or having a strap slipped off your shoulder once you’re under the covers is like the hors d’oeuvres at the beginning of a delicious dinner. A foretaste of pleasure to come.
Even if you do end up stripping down for the main course, slipping your nightwear back on again is as comforting as being swaddled like a baby. Then, come morning, you can slip to the bathroom safe in the knowledge that your rear view is not being lit by the harsh light of day.
i’ll wear negligees anywhere but in bed
Gillie Coghlan, 59, says: As my husband, Status Quo drummer John, 67, will happily testify, I have no shortage of sexy nightwear. The chest of drawers is crammed with negligees and beautiful silk and satin numbers.
I get a lot of wear out of them - until bedtime. While I will happily wear them around the house, as far as I’m concerned there is nothing nicer than slipping your naked body between crisply laundered sheets, particularly when you have a loved one waiting for you.
Looking back, I’ve slept in the nude for as long as I can remember. I must have worn pyjamas as a little girl, but from early adulthood I took a leaf out of Marilyn Monroe’s book and went to bed sporting only a dash of perfume.
Anything more than that makes me feel horribly constricted. I even sleep naked on the Status Quo tour bus. John doesn’t mind. He would be aghast if I started wearing a nightie to bed. He likes cuddling up against my naked body.
The feeling of skin on skin is a wonderfully intimate experience. You are much more likely to make love if you’re sleeping in the nude, rather than having to wrestle your way out of a pair of pyjamas.
Sexy lingerie may help the seduction process outside the bedroom - but once you’re naked in bed, the average man doesn’t need much encouragement.
Nudity does, on occasion, have its downsides, of course. Whenever John and I are staying in a hotel, I often forget I haven’t got a stitch on, so when room service arrives with breakfast, I end up peering round the door and making grab for the tray, while desperately trying to keep the rest of my body out of sight.
I know I’m unusual. Most of my friends say they wear something in bed, even if it’s just a T-shirt. But as far as I’m concerned, you might as well be wearing a chastity belt.
My Ralph Laurens are made for duvet days
Kay Burley, 53, says: I wear jim-jams in bed no matter what. It’s more comfortable and I don’t compromise on comfort for anyone.
I’m single at the moment, but in past relationships I have always gone to bed with pyjamas on.
I have different pairs for different occasions. If I’m at home with the dogs, then it’s slouch time - and on go my fabulous black and white Ralph Lauren pyjamas.
They’re so stylish and very comfortable - I love wearing them if I’m in relax mode.
There’s nothing better than a duvet day, with a carton of my favourite white chocolate ice-cream, a box set of Sex And The City and my favourite Ralph Laurens.
I bought them in New York several years ago, and although they’re a bit frayed in places now, they’re still wonderful. I’m bereft when they’re in the wash. None of my other pairs quite compares.
If I’m staying with friends, though, I prefer to be more presentable. I have some sensational white satin Marks & Spencer pyjamas that are really sumptuous to the touch. With those on and my toenails painted red, I feel incredibly glamorous - a bit like Audrey Hepburn. But if I’m away working for Sky News, style goes out of the window. Instead, I wear something like the sleepsuit you get from British Airways when you fly first class, which consists of a blue T-shirt and drawstring bottoms.
It’s practical, and it means I can slumber comfortably and not be embarrassed if I’m hauled off to go to work in the middle of the night. I often end up jumping out of bed, pulling on leggings, a shirt and jacket and rushing off to wherever I’m filming.
When I was in Libya during the civil war in 2011, the hotel in Benghazi struggled with the most basic facilities. Clean sheets or towels were luxuries even the inflated room rate didn’t cover. I was very glad of my simple sleepsuit - and a sleeping bag - for the duration of that assignment.
I was even more relieved when I finally returned home to my beautifully ironed Ralph Laurens - and a much-needed duvet day.
Going naked gave us back our sparkle
Kim Carillo, 55, says: Like most couples in the first heady flush of their relationship, my TV producer husband Charlie, 58, and I used to regard sleeping naked as a must.
When we met 12 years ago, we fell passionately in love and any barrier between us - even the flimsiest nightwear - would have been nothing but an annoying hindrance.
But as the years rolled by, and that early excitement turned to settled contentment, the pyjamas began to creep on.
It was just in the depths of winter at first, but eventually all the time. Charlie and I still had a fulfilling sex life, but with our teenage children from previous relationships likely to barge into the bedroom at any moment, covering up seemed more comfortable.
When I read that sleeping naked is the key to a happy marriage, I wasn’t surprised. A couple of months ago we started doing it again - and I can confirm it’s a surefire way to put the sparkle back into your relationship.
It was sparked by a night on which our bedroom was unbearably hot, prompting Charlie to say, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye: ‘Why don’t we sleep naked, like we used to?’ Lying next to one another with nothing on created an immediate intimacy. It’s very difficult to feel distant from someone whose skin is touching yours.
Since then, we’ve slept naked every night. It feels flirtatious and fun, despite the fact we’ve both gained a few pounds since those early days. We’ve had more sex as a result - but it’s the emotional difference which has been most striking.
Any niggles, which usually carry over into bed, melt away. Stripping down all the physical barriers between us seems to make it easier for us to chat and lay bare our thoughts and feelings, too.
Our children have all grown up now, and this is our time to enjoy one another. We’ve discovered that sleeping naked is helping us to feel closer than we have in years. - Daily Mail