Bed Sharing

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Puppy Pile (for poly versions)
Related tropes/genresHuddling for Warmth
See alsoPretend Couple, Smarm, Hurt/Comfort
Related articles on Fanlore.

Bed sharing ("Only One Bed") is a trope where characters discover they have to, or that they choose to, share a bed either for sexual tension or comedic effect. Sometimes the characters suggest alternative solutions, such as sleeping on the floor or the couch, but after an argument about how uncomfortable or cold it must be, they decide to share the bed anyway.

It can be executed platonically or shippily, and can sometimes be found in poly fanworks.

Ship-Based Bed Sharing

In first time pairing stories, the unexpected single bed is the final push, requiring two characters to share a bed and finally admit their feelings.


There are many memes about this trope that point out how excited people get at the idea of characters sharing a bed despite how clichéd it is. By: persnikety-p (2019)

Gen Bed Sharing

Gen bed sharing gets two characters into bed for reasons other than sex. While not always, the trope is usually employed as an off-shoot of hurt/comfort, with the emotional and physical comfort offered after bad dreams, emotional meltdowns, and physical injury. Both characters are portrayed as finding relief with this close contact.

In 1999, a Sentinel fan explained:

All the same, even though both [the genres slash and smarm] are writing primarily about love, I really would argue that there's a difference between smarm and slash, and I think it has something to do with the surprise of smarm. Take smarm's favorite chestnut, Jim and Blair sharing a bed. Well, if Jim and Blair are lovers, then there's nothing very unexpected going on when they crawl in bed together. It's sort of the whole point. But when two straight men share a bed, and are comfortable with that degree of intimacy and that degree of trust -- you're never more vulnerable than when you're asleep, after all -- then that is something unexpected. And that's the kick of smarm for me. That "oh, my" moment when the walls come down, and two friends nakedly express their love for each other without reservation or fear, even though they're "just friends.[2]


  • Bunkies by L.A. Adolf, Star Wars: Luke and Han must share a bed for the night when no double accommodation is available: "Pulling off the second boot, Luke reached for the buckle on Han's belt, opened it, and unbuckling the leg strap of the blaster holster, pulled Han's weapon away from his hip. 'Better men than you have died for less,' Han commented darkly, not moving from the prostrate position in which he’d found himself. 'It's bad enough I have to sleep with you. I'm not going to sleep with fully energized blaster as well,' Luke replied." (1979)
  • The Complete Rack by Emily Vance, Star Trek: TOS: Spock and Kirk share a bed and from their conversation, it is not the first time: "'The Governor indicated there are no other rooms, Spock," he said slowly, "but if you're dissatisfied...' 'No, Captain. I merely thought...' Kirk turned to face him; Spock hesitated. They were somber for a moment, realizing their awkwardness, then Kirk grinned. 'Don't worry, Spock. I promise not to snore.' 'You do not snore, Jim. You mumble.., and generally manage to acquire approximately eighty per cent of whatever space has been provided.'" (1980)
  • Sentinel Con. by Shedoc, The Sentinel: Jim has bad dreams, and Blair makes him hot chocolate, tucks him into bed, and tells him a story: "Blair wondered why he hadn't woken and stilled as he realized his Sentinel was lying beside him, head resting up against Blair's shoulder, hand on Blair's arm. Jim had turned his body in to Blair's and Blair sighed. Obviously the subconscious had taken over and Jim had climbed into bed for protection last night." (early 2000s)

Poly Bed Sharing

In fandoms where teamfic, found family, and OTEveryone relationships are common, bed sharing will often occur in an ambiguous space between ship-based bed sharing and gen bed sharing. Like with gen bed sharing, the impetus is often hurt/comfort; it can also be simple fluff. A poly bed sharing arrangement is sometimes called a "puppy pile."


Trope Subversion

Too Many Beds, an inversion of this trope, gained popularity in 2020/2021. In this setup, the characters want an excuse to share a bed, but are thwarted by Reasons. Of course in the happy versions, the characters end up sharing anyway. Just like the original trope, this can be executed in a fluffy or angsty way, as crack or in earnest.

This prompt featured in the 2020 Reverse Trope Bingo challenge in NCT fandom (K-Pop). It was also mentioned in a 2020 tiktok video by user 'dakotajohnsongf' who asked for "backwards book tropes." A screencap of the comment section shows "Too many beds" as the most popular comment was widely circulated on Twitter on several occasions, going viral in August 2021.[3]



External links


  1. ^ from Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted on Fanlore anonymously with permission.
  2. ^ from Cascade Library Interview with Martha
  3. ^ Tweet by @exaltiora, posted 22 August 2021. 24k likes and 5k retweets as of Sept 07, 2021.