Though we’re the Sleep Help Institute, we know that you’ll use a mattress for more than just sleep. If you’re looking for a guide to the best mattresses for sex, you’ve come to the right place. This resource will help you understand what factors and design elements have the biggest influence on how well a mattress facilitates sexual activity.
At the same time, choosing a mattress that is great for sex shouldn’t come at the expense of one that provides a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep. For this reason, we’ll help make sure you’re choosing a bed that will be great for both sleep and sex.
You can scroll through this guide for all the details or click here to jump straight to our recommendations for the best mattresses for sex.
What Makes a Mattress Good for Sex?
The best mattresses for sex tend to share certain similar characteristics:
Appropriate Firmness Level
Firmness is a critical consideration for both sleeping and sex. An extremely firm mattress has virtually no give and can be uncomfortable to move on top of. This can make sexual positions uncomfortable or even painful. On the other hand, an extremely plush mattress is easy to sink into so much that you can feel stuck, and if plushness limits motion, this can disrupt sex.
With clear drawbacks to both very firm and very plush mattresses, the best mattresses for sex are usually medium-firm. Firmness is commonly rated on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the most firm), and the best mattresses for sex usually fall in the range of 4-7.
In addition to firmness, the feel of the mattress is affected by its resilience. A mattress is described as resilient if it quickly retakes its shape after weight or pressure is removed. A resilient mattress may also be described as having a lot of bounce or springiness. Resilience is widely-regarded as a key feature of the mattresses that are best for sex. Resilience prevents getting stuck in the mattress and facilitates quick movements on the bed.
A noisy mattress can be distracting during sex and can also be the death knell for any sense of discretion. Cheap, poorly-constructed materials are far more likely to be squeaky or noisy during sex.
An active sex life puts more stress on the mattress, especially on its comfort layer. A mattress that with poor-quality materials is less likely to be able to hold up to this additional strain. If the mattress starts to give out, it can stop being supportive or comfortable enough for sex or sleep.
Sexual activity can involve numerous types of movements over the entire surface of the mattress. Consequently, having consistent support for all of these movements can be important to maintaining a robust sex life. The best mattresses for sex maintain a high level of support even around the edge, which is the weakest point for most mattresses.
What Makes a Mattress Good for Sleep?
Since you’ll spend thousands of hours resting and recovering on your mattress, it’s important that the mattress serves you well in getting a good night’s sleep. This section goes into more detail about the key characteristics that make a mattress good for sleep.
A supportive mattress responds to your body’s weight proportionally so that it can help with proper spinal alignment. Spinal misalignment can lead directly to back pain and discomfort in the night, so supportiveness is one of the single most important elements of a good mattress.
Firmness / Comfort
If you’re not comfortable, it’s unlikely that you’re going to fall asleep easily or stay asleep. A central part of comfort is the firmness of the mattress. A medium to medium-firm mattress is the most comfortable firmness level for the vast majority of sleepers.
Mattress manufacturers and retailers are notorious for giving their products elaborate names and trumped-up descriptions of their internal parts. While this can sound appealing, remember that the proof is in the pudding. No amount of marketing spin can make cheap materials perform as if they were the top of the line. A mattress built with high-quality materials is more likely to deliver excellent performance, and it is also more likely to last for many years.
We look at a few key aspects of a mattress to evaluate its build quality. First, we look to see if the manufacturer provides in-depth specifications. This includes a listing of the thickness of each layer, the composition of the layer, and ideally some further detail about its build (such as the density of the foam or the number of innerspring coils). We are inherently skeptical when a company does not openly list this information on their website to be easily found by any shopper.
Second, if these specifications are available, we look at the comfort layer. The comfort layer is the topmost part(s) of the mattress that most directly supports the person on the bed. If a comfort layer is very thin (2 inches or less) or is made with low-density foam (3.5 PCF or less for most foams), then we question whether it will be able to offer adequate support. A mattress with a thin comfort layer is less likely to be able to handle the rigors of an active sex life.
Third, we look at the rest of the mattress to try to sniff out any weak spots. If the mattress has low build-quality in any one layer, it can degrade the performance of the whole mattress. For people who want a mattress that will perform well for sleep and sex, it is important to have a mattress without any clear weak points.
Track Record of Customer Satisfaction
Claiming to have a mattress that customers love is one thing. Actually having a history of verified and positive customer reviews is another. We analyze data from numerous sources to determine how well-received a mattress is once it is actually being used by real people.
What Other Features Should I Look For?
In addition to the characteristics that make a mattress good for sex and sleep, here are some other important features to be on the lookout for when mattress shopping.
- Value: as the number of companies making mattresses has grown and as more and more mattresses are sold online, competition has pushed down prices even for high-quality products. There are excellent options available at many price points, but no matter how much you budget for a mattress, you want to make sure you get excellent value. Comparison shopping and looking for discounts or promotions can help ensure you get the best price available.
- Free shipping: when you buy online, you’ll normally find that shipping is included at no extra cost. It’s an excellent feature that helps keep your overall purchase costs low. But if you decide to buy in-store or opt for a mattress with a charge for shipping, keep in mind that this will need to be factored into your total budget.
- Customer-friendly returns: central to the growth of the online mattress industry has been the no-risk sleep trial. This means that you get to keep the mattress in your home and try it out for a period of time with the option to return it and get a full refund. 100 nights is a common timeframe for sleep trials, but this can vary depending on the mattress seller. Because testing out the mattress at home can give a more complete sense of how well it works for you, we strongly suggest looking for a mattress that comes with a long sleep trial that makes returns free and easy.
What Types of Mattresses Are Available?
There are five main mattress types that are on the market.
Foam mattresses use layered foams to achieve a particular level of responsiveness and firmness. Typically, there is a thicker layer of support foam at the bottom of the mattress with thinner layers of softer, more supportive foams, such as memory foam, in the comfort layer. When a person puts pressure on the foam, it compresses in response.
Innerspring mattresses are what most people first think of when they think of the interior design of a mattress. These mattresses have a support system of metal coils that compress and spring back when pressure is applied and then taken away. Innersprings usually have a softer comfort layer made up of foam and/or a pillow top with a fiber fill (such as polyester or quilted cotton).
Latex mattresses are, as the name implies, made with latex rubber that is either naturally or synthetically produced. Latex in this context may also be referred to as “latex foam” by some companies. Latex tends to be a heavier material and is known for its ability to quickly bounce back to its original shape after it compresses.
Hybrid mattresses involve a number of different design elements, specifically an innerspring support core with a comfort layer of foam or latex. We differentiate between a hybrid and an innerspring based on the thickness of the comfort layer. We typically classify a mattress as a hybrid if the foam and/or latex comfort layer is 3” or thicker.
Airbeds have a support core that is an air chamber that can be inflated or deflated at a moment’s notice to adjust the feel of the bed. These mattresses usually come with a remote or a connection to a mobile app that can control the air chambers. In some cases, this support core may be topped with foam or latex for added support.
Which Mattress Types Are Best for Sex?
While it’s important to consider the specifics of any individual mattress, we can give a general outline of how these different mattress types stack up when it comes to facilitating sexual activity. Here’s how we rank them:
Latex provides a lot of bounce, and this is exactly the type of responsiveness that can make movement during sex feel smooth. Latex also tends to hold up well over time and has fewer edge support issues than most foams.
Honorable Mention: Innerspring, Hybrid
Both hybrids and innersprings use coils as their primary support core, and the springiness from the coils usually helps to accommodate an active sex life. Within these types of mattresses, though, there can be a lot of variation in how the comfort layers are designed, so be aware that some models may have plusher materials that can inhibit sex.
About Average: Airbeds
Airbeds allow for the bed’s feel to be quickly adjusted, which can help make sure that the mattress is set to a firmness level that will be comfortable for sex. However, they may not provide as much bounce as our higher-ranked mattress types, and if there is a foam comfort layer, this could affect its suitability for sex.
Proceed With Caution: Foam
Foam mattresses receive the greatest number of reports from customers about issues with inhibiting sex. Memory foam is the biggest culprit as it does not have a lot of resilience and can cause people to feel stuck in the bed.
What Are the Top Mattresses for Sex?
Our top two choices for the best mattresses for sex are both all-latex mattresses.
It’s good for sex because it is composed entirely of high-end latex that offers the right amount of both firmness and resiliency for sex.
It’s good for sleep because latex also offers support and because the company makes this mattress available in a number of different options for thickness and firmness, allowing you to choose what best aligns with your preferences.
The drawback is that it’s heavy and difficult to move. The company also does not provide the comprehensive materials specifications that we typically like to see.
It’s good for sex because it has a high level of bounce that supports active movement on the bed such as the movement involved in sexual activity.
It’s good for sleep because it is offered in two different firmness levels and can provide resilience and responsive support to help with spinal alignment.
The drawback is that it comes at a higher price tag and may not fit the budget of many customers. It also has a $99 charge deducted for return shipping if you return the mattress.
For more detailed information, check out our Zenhaven mattress review.
If you’re looking for a mattress that is good for sex but that isn’t all-latex, these mattresses are also excellent choices.
The Saatva Mattress
It’s good for sex because it has two sets of innerspring coils, including one set of microcoils, that provides the requisite bounce for sex. It also offers more edge support than many comparable mattresses.
It’s good for sleep because its foam comfort layers can offer additional support that complements the resilience of the coil-on-coil design.
The drawback is that the mattress comes with a $99 return shipping charge if you decide to return the mattress during your sleep trial.
You can read more about this mattress in our Saatva mattress review.
The Leesa Mattress
It’s good for sex because even though it is built entirely of foam, its topmost foam layer, made of Avena foam, is designed with more resilience than memory foam to give it more a latex-like bounce.
It’s good for sleep because it offers a medium-firm feel that is comfortable for most people while also being responsive enough to offer relief for the body’s main pressure points.
The drawback is that it may not be robust enough for sleepers who weigh more than 250 pounds because the top Avena foam layer is only 2” thick while the foam layer beneath it is of a lower-density.
More in-depth information can be found in our Leesa mattress review.