Sometimes I lie awake because the mattress feels too soft, or the blanket is too thin. I am often left sleepless by the confusion of contact with another human body. But regardless of the mattress itself, sleeping in someone else's bed always feels as oddly uncomfortable to me as wearing a stranger's underwear.

The bed is the most intimate piece of furniture in a home – the daily imprint of a body and its scent never quite disappears, no matter how often the sheets are washed. We mark our territory on our bedding with strands of hair stuck to the comforter, drool on the pillowcase, sticky films from unwashed bodies.

Memories of the beds I've slept in are redolent of insomnia and sweat, of weary eyes staring at the static ceiling of strange dark rooms, of lying uncomfortably motionless while listening to the hypnotic breathing of the person beside me.

Memories of my lovers' beds are often more vivid than the memories of the lovers themselves.