Between Casper, Leesa and their million competitors spraying ads all over yuppie neighborhoods, it’s never been easier to drop a grand on a memory-foam mattress and have it shipped to your door in two days. Don’t you just wanna throw that old innerspring on the curb? These trendy beds all look so tempting! That foam — so soft, so pliable, so easy to sink into! What could go wrong?
Well, for one, you can’t fuck in them. Or at least memory-foam sex is way harder than you think if you’ve depended on a little bounce to assist the bumpin’.
Recently, I ventured out into the world of mattress shopping, and I found a category of review I did not expect: frustrated fellas fresh off a failed frolic, foiled by foam.
Sleep Like the Dead, a mattress-review site, ran an exhaustive study scanning and analyzing comments and reviews for mattresses across the internet, and found that about 40 percent of memory-foam mattress owners say their new bed is “bad for sex.”
How and why does memory foam thwart your sex life? “While memory foam mattresses conform and almost hug your body, there isn’t the responsiveness or bounce that you would experience with either a standard innerspring mattress or a mattress with pocketed coils,” sleep science coach Bill Fish, who reviews mattresses at Tuck.com, tells MEL. “If you are sinking into a mattress while attempting to get romantic it can be difficult, as if the two of you are fighting the mattress to a certain extent.”
So what’s it actually like? We asked experts — and the flustered fornicators, too.
Basically, You Can’t Move
“The sex was hideous,” says Steve from Tennessee. “Squishy, hot, and difficult. You sink in just enough to be immobile if you’re on the bottom. Doggie, the mattress would soak up energy and I’d get exhausted. Missionary, and we’d have to jack her butt up with pillows to even begin to make it work. And the continuing loss of energy into the foam. Other positions weren’t any better.”
“There is no ‘spring’ to them,” warns Mark from Georgia. “You sink in, and you stay sunk in. You have to use pillows and other items to prop up hips and other body parts. In missionary, my knees sink in, but so does her body, which makes the angle of penetration a bit odd, and not so deep without support. You are pressing right through to the box spring — or in our case, the platform bed frame. If you are getting really rough, you will eventually bang something sensitive on something hard. You need a positioning pillow or support pillow.”
It’s Hot as Hell (and Not in a Good Way)
“If I slept next to her, we would both heat up,” Steve laments. “It was horribly hot, and I would sink into it, trapping me in that position. We tried fewer covers, but ended up roasting on the bottom and chilled on the top. I would wake up stiff from being stuck.”
Mark also overheats:
Wherever you are contacting the mattress, you can feel the insulation properties of the mattress. We bought a platform bed frame and have HVAC return right under our bed to help with the airflow, but you still get freaking hot, even without vigorous physical activity going on. Also, for bigger people, the lack of support during sexual activity leads to some interesting things, mainly, divots in the foam from moving around. Stay in one place too long, and try to move, and you realize that you left a body print that takes awhile to go away, so you end up having to flop around from one side to another trying to let the foam regain its shape.
Edge Support Is Crucial, and Foam Mattresses Have None
Dr. Steve McGough, associate professor of clinical sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, says if you want to get her off, you’re gonna need a different surface. Sure, foam mattresses are quieter, he says, but clearly they don’t offer pushback support. “If you’re doing positions where you’re on the edge of the bed, which are often ideal for helping women achieve vaginal orgasm, you need a very firm edge. Foam mattresses often don’t have strong support on the edges.”
What can we do? Try putting a firm pillow beneath her, McGough advises.
What Happened to the Thicc Mattress?
“The other big issue is thickness and height,” Mark adds. “A regular innerspring mattress is freaking tall. Like between 12 and 18 inches. That gives you a lot of wiggle room for support and return spring, whereas most foam mattresses are way under 12 inches. Ours is 7 inches, and no, it’s not a mattress topper. It has not aged well. You can’t flip them because they have different layers, and you can’t really do more than rotate them.”
Does It Really Matter in the Long Run?
“At the end of the day, sex should play a role in the purchase of your next mattress, but let’s be honest, it should be a small role,” says Fish, the sleep science coach. “You’ll be sleeping on the surface for one third of your life, which is probably quite a bit more time spent than the other activity!”
Sorry, Mr. Fish. Fuck a Good Night’s Sleep. I’m Horny. What If I Just Want a New Bed?
Make sure your mattress is as rock-hard as you are. “The general opinion I’ve heard is that a very firm mattress, or one with a strong spring back motion, tend to be best for (heterosexual) male-on-top positions,” McGough says.
Bill Fish went even further and ranked the best mattresses for sex. He looked for “beds that were both responsive and had cooling features. Springs and pocketed coils naturally create air flow and bounce, so the majority of the mattresses on our list excel in those two areas.”
Or learn to adapt. Sleep Like the Dead’s conclusion on memory foam mattresses goes as such: “Some memory foam bed owners love their bed for sex but hate it for sleep, and vice versa. In addition, it seems that people who are willing to adjust their sexual practices to suit the bed, as opposed to fighting it, are more happy with its suitability for sex.”
Hey, there’s always the couch.