Editor's Note: Some of the sources for this article requested their full names and locations not be used.
Weighted blanket believers are as numerous as they are passionate. The product, essentially a heavy blanket that usually weighs 10 to 25 pounds, has been around since at least 1999. But it really took off a couple of years ago, about the time the COVID-19 pandemic started. People naturally searched for ways to feel secure as they were increasingly isolated at home. The result: The weighted blanket market size shot up to an estimated $590 million in 2021, according to MarketWatch.
The coveted blanket of the moment—often filled with pellets or made of other hefty material—has taken over TikTok with a weighted blanket "challenge" that involves putting one over your head and seeing if you can remain standing. It's even become a sex position that, confusingly, has nothing to do with a physical blanket: Think reverse cowgirl with the person on top leaning back on their partner's body.
Sometimes we cuddle under them
That's not the only way sex and romance get entangled with the seemingly non-erotic weighted blanket. It's generally used for therapeutic reasons, the thinking being it mimics the pressure of being held by another person and improves the quality of sleep.
There's some science to back this up: The Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders found in a 2015 study that when those with insomnia used a weighted blanket, "they had a calmer night's sleep," including longer sleep bout time (duration), less movement, easier settling down and a more refreshed feeling waking up.
As with anything that wraps you up in bed, there are more carnal implications. You might not know how a weighted blanket will affect your sex life or the emotional state of your relationship. But if two partners both love the tight embrace of a weighted blanket, it can be a satisfying bonding experience.
"My partner and I each have our own gifted by my mother-in-law," Barrak said of the 15-pound blanket they use to encase themselves as they sleep.
"I'm a blanket thief," Barrak's partner, Justin, said. "Having separate blankets has helped us both get better, uninterrupted sleep."
Sex strictly happens over the covers given the heat in Thailand where they live, the couple explained, but, Barrak added, "sometimes we cuddle under them. It's improved both of our sleep, which has improved our relationship overall."
My husband deeply regrets giving it to me
Then there's the opposite situation: a weighted blanket that can interfere with a relationship and make one partner disgruntled. That's especially the case if the partner is not weighted blanket-inclined, they dislike the sensation or simply feel left out.
"I love mine dearly, and my husband deeply regrets giving it to me. He has a lot of rage about my Bearaby," Hailey, who's based in upstate New York, said of her obsession over the weighted blanket her husband Daniel ironically, in hindsight, gave her as a Valentine's Day gift.
"She steals all the covers," Daniel complained. "I don't get any covers. [The blanket] just locks all the covers in place and pushes me off the bed. I think it's a selfish thing for a person to have."
Hailey's relationship with her blanket, which she compares to a big, cozy cotton sweater, remains steadfastly happy.
"He is very angry about it. I don't care. I love it," she explained.
The 'lifesaver' blanket a partner is happy to give
Still, there is harmony to be had in the weighted blanket for couples, even if one half isn't interested in that fabric-induced hug.
"I don't know that he has a particular feeling about it," Faith Broussard Cade, 37, said of her husband, Bendrick, who gave her a weighted blanket, her first, about five years ago for Christmas, before the product became a social-media phenomenon.
The 20-pound blanket is more than a relaxing luxury. It's a "lifesaver," she said. (And while it's heavier than what's recommended for her size, she described the 10-pound option as inadequate "trash.")
Broussard Cade has struggled with ADHD since she was a child, but her anxiety worsened in her 30s after a car accident left her with a traumatic brain injury. Her insomnia became so severe that she asked Bendrick to squeeze her at night.
As a mental health counselor and a former school counselor, she knew about the use of weighted vests to calm children. The benefits of pressure and compression for kids with ADHD are well-documented by counselors. But she hadn't connected the grounding technique to her own issues. The blanket was the "missing piece."
Broussard Cade uses her weighted blanket for sleep. But sex? Not so much. "It gets very hot and too heavy [when in the middle of the action,] so usually it just gets pushed to the side."
During sleeping hours, Broussard Cade's blanket belongs on her side, and Bendrick has his own more typical bedding setup. It helps matters that they have an adjustable split king Casper bed with two mattresses. She does her thing, and he does his. And luckily, the weighted blanket that has given Broussard Cade much-needed sleep doesn't drive a wedge in their love for each other.
"He knows how important it is to me," she said.