There are many, many credible psychological studies that talk about the human necessity of physical touch.
That’s not to say I always did this perfectly (especially in college, when it was so easy to be hanging out in someone’s room or apartment, whether that was in the next building, or just down the hall, until the wee hours of the morning).
Was it technically spending the night if I was back in my bed before the sun rose?
And if you’re sleeping in the same bed of a member of the opposite sex and you’re NOT experiencing sexual temptation, then we’ve got a different issue for another blog… And it was never fun to wake myself up, get it together, and drive home in the wee hours of the morning – or shake him awake and kick him out.
Look, whether you’re in a committed relationship, or just crushing on someone, or whether you were up late watching a movie and it just got so late and you accidentally fell asleep… It would have been much easier, and way more comfortable, to just stay.
If we’re striving to live the virtue of chastity, and be pure in all of our relationships, there’s something to be said for common sense here.
As it gets late, and the room gets dark, and the couch (or bed) is so comfortable, we lose a little mental clarity and become more likely to make poor decisions.
Right would have been tucking myself into my own bed at a reasonable hour, ignoring the temptation to go over to start a movie at the time I was usually brushing my teeth. There’s another issue to consider here – even if nothing impure was happening, even if we really were just asleep, there’s a huge potential here to cause scandal. but what is the person stepping out of their dorm room at 6am for a sunrise run (rumor has it there are people who do this) supposed to think when they see me stumbling bleary-eyed down the hallway in the same clothes I was wearing yesterday? and even giving the appearance of sinful behavior can seriously mess with others’ holiness.
The Catechism clearly states: “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged” (2287). If people make assumptions that I’m sleeping with my boyfriend (or hooking up with a guy who is a friend), then they might also assume it’s okay to sleep with their boyfriend or girlfriend. So why is it so tempting to sleep – simply sleep – next to someone you like?
Having healthy physical contact with others can alleviate a lot of the loneliness and frustrations that lead us to sinful behavior in the first place.