Affection signals?

David K. Israel

There was an interesting article in The New York Times last week about a new book called Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing, written by University of Minnesota sociology professor, Dr. Paul C. Rosenblatt.

"It's not a self-help book," [Rosenblatt] said, but an examination of some of the common and often humorous issues couples face when sharing a bed, including spooning, sheet-stealing and snoring.

For the book, Rosenblatt interviewed 42 couples about their nocturnal habits.

"Some mentioned sex, but not a lot," Dr. Rosenblatt said. Most reported that the bed is where they talked. "The bed is where they found privacy and were able to leave behind the distractions and separate interests that keep them apart during the day. There's also something about late night that allowed them to open up and connect."

The subjects he interviewed invariably had their own side of the bed, and responsibilities like putting out the cat or opening the windows before turning in. They usually had rituals like watching the television news before lights out or snuggling before falling to sleep. And they often had signals for when they wanted affection, wanted to talk or wanted to be left alone.

I've heard of smoke signals, traffic signals, even mixed signals, but affection signals? Could someone please coin a word for this, now.