Article Thumbnail

How the ‘Weighted Blanket’ Became a Sex Position

In a world where everything — even sex, sleep and relaxation — must be optimized, ‘Sleeping in the Saddle’ simply no longer cut it

Weighted blankets — or gravity blankets — have been helping children on the spectrum or those with ADHD relax since 1999. They didn’t enter the mainstream, however, until 2017 when the company Gravity Blankets raised $4,729,263 with a viral kickstarter campaign and went on to gross about $15 million in sales as of May 2018. Time named the gravity blanket one of the best inventions of 2018, and over the past year, it’s become the best gift for anyone who struggles with anxiety or insomnia, turning into a symbol of our paradoxical need to optimize relaxation. 

But like making a copy of a copy of a copy, the most recent iteration of the weighted blanket has strayed even further from its origins. Because it’s not a blanket at all — it’s a sex position. 

The carnal connotation started with a post in the subreddit r/dataisbeautiful from a couple sharing the account _ILoveThat_, who tracked their sex trends over the course of the year, graphing who initiates, orgasm and oral ratios, and of course, their favorite positions. While the clear winner was missionary, with cowgirl as a close second, within the pie graph between fingering and 69-ing was the “weighted blanket.”

_ILoveThat_ are a 21-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man in college. They have a FAQ section, which is where they share that they came up with the “weighted blanket” in lieu of another favorite position where “she’s the weighted blanket.”

“So the guy lies down,” they write, “and the girl starts by getting into the reverse cowgirl position, but then leans back until she’s almost stacked on top of him. It’s pretty comfortable, and he has access to a lot of her in this position.”

Redditors were mostly satisfied with this explanation. Some corrected the couple, saying that the position is actually called “sleeping in the saddle,” but others co-signed on the new name. Sex therapist Angela Watson confirms that this position was originally called “sleeping in the saddle,” but thinks that “weighted blanket” might be more fitting. After all, much like the weighted blanket optimizes sleep, the “weighted blanket” sex position optimizes the sexual experience. 

“From a purely physiological standpoint, both people involved don’t have to expend a lot of energy to remain positioned properly,” Watson explains. “Both the man and woman are laying down with all of their weight simply falling to the sides, making it an easy position to stay in for long periods of time.”

The “weighted blanket” can also boost sexual arousal by positioning men in a way that makes them more likely to stimulate the g-spot, sexologist and researcher Chanel Jaali Marshall notes, along with increasing intimacy. “It could provide desired skin-to-skin closeness,” Marshall tells me. And similar to how weighted blankets utilize something called deep touch pressure therapy — in which the sensation of pressure from touch releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain — in the sex position, “the full weight of another person on you could be likewise comforting and calm the nervous system.”

The one thing every type of weighted blanket has in common is that they’re not intended for everyone. Only some kinds of anxiety and insomnia call for a weighted blanket, and only some men have the kind of equipment that would call for a “weighted blanket” — mainly, a big dick, several redditors pointed out. “I never want to try a position where I’m forced to have a discussion about not being big enough to make the position work,” Hexbladedad wrote. 

Marshall concedes that the “weighted blanket” might be easier for men with larger penises, but there are ways to compensate. “To make it more accessible for more penis sizes and lengths, the man may want to be raised slightly and not be flat,” she advises. Watson agrees, adding that “a bit of flexibility may be required by both sides” to properly pull it off when working with smaller equipment.

In fairness, the “weighted blanket” only represents a portion of this young couple’s sex life, and even less of other people’s. Either way, they’re probably both (the consumer good and the sex position) approaching their peak in popularity. For the same reason, too: We can only optimize sex and sleep so much before we streamline our way out of enjoying it altogether.