If you're super lazy, love to spoon, or want to try a new, ~super intimate~ way to sleep with your partner, hello, meet swaddling. It's a sex position that's not quite a sex position: Swaddling is the terms for when two partners agree to fall asleep in the midst of penetration. That can mean penis-in-vagina, penis-in-anus, strap-on-in-vagina, et cetera, et cetera. Any penetration combo you can think of, happening consensually while you sleep, is swaddling.
That's a lot to take in (pun intended). Read on to learn all the nitty gritty details about the sorta sex position you've probably never heard about.
What's the point?
The goal of swaddling isn't to have active, penetrative sex for eight hours. It's more about fostering a deep, intimate connection, says Sandi Kaufman, a licensed sex therapist in New York City. She adds that people who practice swaddling describe it as "sweetly romantic, wonderfully relaxing, and highly erotic."
"It induces a sense of closeness and safety between partners and is a lovely way to sleep if both people are comfortable with it," Kaufman says. "While sleeping, you can't get any closer to your partner."
How do you do it?
According to Kaufman, the two easiest positions in which to swaddle are with one partner laying on top of the other, or in a spoon position. Each option has its ups and downs: Sleeping underneath your partner may not be doable, while swaddling in a spoon position means any sudden movement may cause the penis to slip out (hence ending the swaddle).
If you're doing this with a partner who has a penis, you'll need to commence swaddling while they're hard. They won't stay that way all night, but that's to be expected. If you're doing anal swaddling, use plenty of lube, like you always do. And bonus points if it's silicone-based lube, which takes longer to dry out than water-based options.
Cool. Now how do you do it safely?
Great question. Because you're asleep and staying in a penetrative state for so long, swaddling presents a few different safety concerns from regular, awake sex.
Hetero swaddlers who want to prevent pregnancy shouldn't rely solely on condoms, Kaufman says. While they're great for preventing pregnancy and are one of the only forms of birth control that protect against STIs, a condom may slip off if your partner coughs, sneezes, moves suddenly, ejaculates (it happens!), or goes flaccid after a certain amount of time. Kaufman adds that swaddling ups the risk of the condom coming off inside of you, which can lead to a whole host of problems, including infection and an awkward trip to the doctor.
One workaround to the condom problem is to use internal, female condoms—even for anal swaddling, says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a sex counselor in Virginia. "An internal condom works best, as an erection will not last and the condom can slip off in the vagina or anus," Garrison says. He adds that if you're using an internal condom in the anus, you'll just need to remove the inner ring so it fits properly and stays in.
Anything else I should know?
Both Kaufman and Garrison emphasize that a penis will not remain hard while swaddling, which means condoms can slip off, fold up, or become stuck "high inside a woman's vagina." If a condom slips off inside you, get it out ASAP. Leaving anything inside your vagina for more than a couple of hours puts you at risk for infection, like STIs, pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infection, or bacterial vaginosis.
If you're prone to yeast infections, PID, or UTIs, Kaufman recommends against swaddling. But if you simply must, follow the usual post-sex rule of going pee right after, and wash your vagina and vulva off with warm water as a bonus.
Otherwise, swaddle away to your heart's (and vagina's) content.