What do you do with your extra arm while spooning?
November 10, 2006 3:14 PM   Subscribe

What do you do with your extra arm while spooning?

I'm usually the spooner and I've always wondered exactly what to do with that extra arm. I've tried curling it up between us, putting it above my head under the pillow, straightening it between us and the only thing that seems to work is just putting it behind me.

Any suggestions?
posted by ThirstyEar2 to Human Relations (41 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
He curls it up under my neck, between my shoulders and the pillow. He wraps his arm around my chest and cups my other shoulder, or he takes my hand. My head rests on his shoulder, so his arm doesn't go numb. He's a bit taller than me, so his chin nuzzles my hair.
posted by muddgirl at 3:18 PM on November 10, 2006

I think you're supposed to let the spoonee rest his/her head on the other arm, but this always makes mine go to sleep.
posted by lekvar at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2006

I put my hand on top of the spoonee's head.
posted by janecr at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2006

I'm the spoon├Ęd, but in my experience the spooner usually either rests his head on the free arm or sticks it through the curve under my head/neck area and over the bed.
posted by zoomorphic at 3:20 PM on November 10, 2006

Lay it out in front, under the spoonee's neck. Must use decent pillow for each/both for comfort.
On preview: yes, arm may fall asleep if not good pillows used!
posted by zoinks at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2006

My wife has this theory about detachable limbs. This is the perfect example where you would take your bottom arm off until needed again in the morning. However, until that becomes a reality, between the neck and pillow.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2006

Beware the Saturday Night Palsy.
posted by zoinks at 3:23 PM on November 10, 2006

I rest my head on my own upper arm, crossing my forearm in front of my face and placing my hand on his shoulder.
posted by muddgirl at 3:31 PM on November 10, 2006

I'm struggling to visualise this as I think about it, but I think I rest my arm on my stomach, which sort of puts it in the small of her back out of the way..

I've tried the other method (arm under girls head), but your arm falls asleep and it also means if you want to extract yourself you basically need to move her about like a rag doll!
posted by ranglin at 3:32 PM on November 10, 2006

i thought the other hand was for the other boobie. now i'm confused.
posted by luriete at 3:34 PM on November 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

Place spoonee's head on pillow. Now there's a gap between shoulder and head under the neck. Insert arm in gap.

Pillow is key, otherwise the head rests on the arm, and it falls asleep eventually, as lekvar can attest..
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 3:45 PM on November 10, 2006

Someone really needs to make a bed with a notch in it for the other arm to go under the person without being squashed by that person.
posted by neustile at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

kingjoeshmoe writes "Place spoonee's head on pillow. Now there's a gap between shoulder and head under the neck. Insert arm in gap."


Plus, the pillow spreads out the ehad-weight, so your arm is less likely to go numb.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:54 PM on November 10, 2006

neck-hole all the way
posted by rhizome at 3:58 PM on November 10, 2006

I WISH I had this problem...

But seriously, I remember spooning. I think I would curl my extra arm between us. Wasn't very comfortable. I like the suggestions for putting it under the neck with a pillow.
posted by GS1977 at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2006

When I'm not using a pillow (thus destroying the neck-hole), he will curl his arm up above the top of my head. I'm shorter than him, so he can sort of fit it over the top of my head.
posted by muddgirl at 4:04 PM on November 10, 2006

Put it under the pillow under your own head. Then when the spoonee has gone to sleep, turn over and sleep the way you want. This is one of those "ideal vs. reality" things you're just going to have to accept that, while nice in principle, is crap in practice.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2006

I put it halfway under me, with my hand dug in, knuckles down, under her hips, and by God, she doesn't get away in the middle of the night, and she doesn't flip over and put those cold, bony knees into me, either.
posted by paulsc at 4:39 PM on November 10, 2006

I'm a fold it up under-my own head guy. As others have mentioned, falling asleep like this isn't always optimal. That's why large beds were invented - so you can roll over and have room to sleep.

I still don't understand how I made it through all those nights in college sharing a twin bed with someone else. It was borderline hazardous when my bed was lofted!!
posted by chrisamiller at 4:44 PM on November 10, 2006

I put my other arm all the way behind me. It falls asleep if I put it under my boyfriend's neck or under my own head. My boyfriend puts his arm between neck and pillow.

JohnnyGunn—I've always wished for detachable limbs for this very reason.
posted by smich at 4:58 PM on November 10, 2006

Brodie: You know how when someone lays with their back to you and you lay behind 'em really close and you throw one arm over 'em?
T.S.: It's called spooning.
Brodie: Yeah, but you gotta put the other arm somewhere. You can either lay on it or just shove it between your bodies. The only other option is to stretch it above your head. But sometimes my arm pops out of its socket when I'm sleeping like that. So I was constantly searching for someplace to keep my arm while still laying close to her.
T.S.: And?
Brodie: What do you mean "and"? That's like a metaphor for our whole relationship!
posted by knave at 5:03 PM on November 10, 2006

Many years ago on TV (maybe 60 minutes?) I saw a spot about an inventor who was trying to market his special 'bed with a slot in it to put your arm through'. I've been googling in vain to find it. I guess it never caught on.
posted by serazin at 5:08 PM on November 10, 2006

Punch zombies
posted by idontlikewords at 5:19 PM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

I either go up and under my own head, or under my mate (in the arch that forms above the hips, below the ribs).
posted by Laen at 5:24 PM on November 10, 2006

Boobies. I think that's my favorite word ever. But I digress. I've always put it under the top part of her pillow, closer to the headboard, with her positioned slightly lower than me in the bed. Can't do the arm-between-us thing. It feels too awkward. I like how you call it the "extra" arm!
posted by kookoobirdz at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2006

Discussion of this very topic at a departmental party is how my friend Amy met her husband.
posted by dmd at 7:31 PM on November 10, 2006

I wait until I get uncomfortable, then roll over to the other side of the bed and get some sleep.
posted by dydecker at 7:38 PM on November 10, 2006

as it turns out a 3" memory foam matress topper is soft enough to let the other arm go right under where the top arm is, for a symmetric hug without the arm falling asleep.

but the 3" memory foam was too soft for my back otherwise, so boo. now its the dydecker method for me.
posted by joeblough at 8:11 PM on November 10, 2006

Yeah, when I'm the spooner, I put my arm behind me. When I'm spooned he does the neckhole thing but I find it kinda annoying. Really, we cuddle for a while and then I say, "Okay, I love you but I have to go over there now/you have to stop touching me." Then we fall asleep.
posted by dame at 8:12 PM on November 10, 2006

The pillow-neck-gap, all the way. It amazes me that people don't know this. Ex-GF was 31, and had never had anyone store their arm in the neck-gap before. Incredible. People, this is how spooning works. And it works perfectly. You can even slip your arm out without disturbing her if you have to get up.

Neck-gap, people. Write it down.
posted by fearless_yakov at 8:29 PM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

After briefly attending to the spooning needs of the mate, I comply with the demands of my cat and turn over to sleep as kitty dictates. At that point, it's back to back with the mate, and kitty on my folded arm, which posture I am obliged to maintain under threat of cat displeasure / attack.

Thermally, it works well. Often, I can get in up to an hour of undisturbed sleep before one of them is offended.

Sometimes, I experience multi-species stereo snoring with this setup.

It's hard to be so damn cuddle-able!
posted by FauxScot at 8:30 PM on November 10, 2006 [4 favorites]

hahhah. Reminds me of an ex who I have to admit is still much loved, she would get angry if I didn't hold her all night.

I can't remember how I got over my arm falling asleep but I did of course, she emigrated to another country and my arms have felt empty ever since.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:03 PM on November 10, 2006

The nack-gap thing works great when he's the spooner and I'm the spoonee. I have a small head, fairly broad shoulders and a solid pillow, there's a nice gap for his arm. Also his shoulders are wider and he's taller so he can hug right over me with the top arm and I fit nicely in the gap. Then the cat crawls into my arms (head tucked under my chin) and we line up.

But when I'm the spooner that doesn't work. His head is huge and heavy and his shoulder blades poke into me. So I put my lower arm across the small of his back and smoosh my face into the back of his neck and put my top arm across his narrow waist under his top arm. Then the cat curls up in the small of my back and we line up in opposite order. It's all about finding the fit that works for your respective body sizes.

Then after twenty minutes or so the non-bedroom-owning partner gets kicked out and we go to sleep in our seperate rooms (spooning can occur in either bedroom depending on who is in bed first). Spooning is nice and all, but getting a decent nights sleep is even better.
posted by shelleycat at 11:29 PM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

i think the neck-gap thing is largely dependent on the size proportional to the spoonee. my partner is a foot taller and larger than me. i know if i'm the spoonee, his other arm somehow goes under me. i think under the neck because it has choked me before. if i'm spooning him, i try to remember to put the estra arm behind me. sometimes i forget and wake up with dead arms. like that vacant lot song.
posted by kendrak at 1:47 AM on November 11, 2006

Ah, the neck gap. I have a long neck, and he has nerd arms. Any other pairing and we'd both be screwed. This only works with me being little spoon and him being big spoon, because, well, I'm a good four inches shorter than him. When we spoon the other way round I bend my arm under my pillow and rest my head on it. My noggin falls into the crook of my elbow. Long neck ftw here, really. It's only a hassle if I'm really exausted, and then I just wait for the snores then roll over.
posted by Jilder at 3:21 AM on November 11, 2006

Sometimes, the neck gap appears and I use it, but more often than not , I'll put the "extra" arm out of the way by placing my palm under my head and extending my elbow towards the headboard. It's not uncomfortable.

By the way, we call it "The Stupid Arm."

By the way, way:
My wife and I each have a tattoo of a pair of spoons.
posted by Jon-o at 10:08 AM on November 11, 2006

Neck gap works well. Sometimes, however, the spoonee doesn't like the neck gap thing.

On these occasions, the arm gets curled up into a little claw that we like to refer to as the "T-Rex." RAWR!
posted by kaseijin at 9:39 PM on November 11, 2006

I must dissent--I'm one of those spoonees who doesn't like the neck gap method. The relative heights and densities of the arm and pillow are never quite right--my neck is stretched oddly and gets stiff in short order.

When I'm the spooner, I either tuck my arm under my pillow (which is how I sleep anyway) or curl it up across my chest. I find that pretty comfortable--the arm sort of goes between my breasts, so it doesn't get in the way.

If the physics work out, both partners can cross their arms over their own stomachs and you can awkwardly but sweetly hold fingertips at the spoonee's waist level.
posted by hippugeek at 10:11 PM on November 11, 2006

The other arm is for hoping Allah doesn't smite you.
posted by oxford blue at 7:36 PM on November 12, 2006

I'm awkward and like to have my pillow tucked right up against my shoulder, so no neck-gap. My husband likes to thrust his arm (with some force) right under my head under the pillow, which drives me mad - it's not only uncomfortable for me, it shoves the pillow a few inches off the side of the bed where it has been known to take out glasses of water on the bedside table. I've taken to shifting myself and my pillow a few inches down the bed so his arm goes over my head. When I'm the spooner, my arm gets curled up and tucked under my head.

We call it the spare arm.
posted by corvine at 6:08 AM on November 13, 2006

I tend to worry about any positioning of my extra arm that would cause it to go to sleep. Because should I wake up and find it asleep, I invariably try to move it, and for some reason my brain conveys just enough of an impulse to cause it to move up and then fall whichever way gravity takes it, which could have led to some really embarassing smacks-to-the-girlfriend's-face if not for speedy intervention of the still awake arm.

But after reading this, I'm thinking the neck gap just isn't big enough due to a lack of good pillows. I'll definitely be buying some to work on this, yay employee discount!
posted by ElfWord at 10:31 AM on November 13, 2006

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