These phrasal verbs relate to sex, rather than actually sleeping. The word, “sleep,” is often used as a euphemism for “sex,” particularly when talking about consenting adults. 

The word “sex” is considered quite blunt and still a taboo subject in many parts of the English speaking world. So using “sleep” instead is less direct and more acceptable.

I have also included a few phrases that you can use that refers to sleeping with someone without the sex.


Sleep around

1. (informal, intransitive) To have many casual sex partners. 

This is usually considered disapproving.

  • “Just because you don’t sleep around doesn’t mean you’re not at risk of getting an STI.”
  • “I don’t want to marry someone who sleeps around.”

Sleep together

1.   (informal, intransitive) To have sex together, especially if they’re not married to each other.
  • “I do not want to think about them sleeping together.”
  • “We slept together for the first time last night.”
Adverb: Together – With each other.

“Sleep” with “together” can mean they are sharing a bed. Although “sleep together” always implies sex for adults, this is not the same for children and immediate family.

  • “My sibling and I used to sleep together until we moved to a bigger house.”

Sleep with (someone)

1.   (informal, inseparable) To have sex with someone.
  • “Did you hear? She got promoted because she’s been sleeping with the boss.”
  • “He found out his girlfriend slept with his best friend while they were on a break.”
Preposition: With – Accompanied by another person or thing.

When talking about children or immediate family, it is common to say that they were accompanied by something or someone else while they slept.

  • “Our son used to sleep with his teddy bear when he was a baby.”
  • “It’s fairly common for children to sleep with their parents.”

Expressions for sleeping together without the sex

Here are a few expressions you can use if you want to say that people slept in the same bed without having sex. Additionally, providing more context will also help.

However, keep in mind that some people will always like to believe that something more happened. This is unavoidable.

Sleep in the same bed (with)
  • “We sleep in the same bed, that’s all.”
  • “I had to sleep in the same bed with Wally because the hotel messed up our booking.”
Share a bed (with)
  • “On our trip, we sometimes shared a bed to save some money.”
  • “My mum made me share my bed with my cousin when she came over for summer.”

Original post: 12 April 2021