It's a standard sitcom scene. The husband, with a hang-dog expression and his pillow, stands in the bedroom doorway as his wife demands he sleep on the couch. The dog house is always the couch.
Does this happen in real life? It might, but not for the reasons I once suspected. It has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with space.
Where I sleep at night depends on the clarity of my husband's airways, how much stress he is under, and what time his morning flight departs. If I suspect that any of these things are going to disrupt my precious sleep, I head to the guest room. My sleeping elsewhere has nothing to do with our relationship and everything to do with a good night's sleep.
Except when I'm annoyed. If I'm annoyed with my husband, I choose to sleep elsewhere because being in the same bed with him is annoying. When I am unhappy with someone, I don't want him in my personal space so I move my person elsewhere. This applies day or night, but at night it affects where I sleep. If I am stewing about something, and that something is in my sleeping space, I will be stewing and not sleeping. If I don't sleep, everyone around me suffers. So I take my annoyance to the guest room.
My husband has never demanded I sleep in the guest room. I can't imagine instructing him to sleep on the couch. If my husband upset me, my goal would not be to punish him. If it were, I hardly think sleeping on the couch would do it. If I were I upset, I would want to be alone, even if on the couch. It's not about sex. It's about personal space and the path to the best sleep.
Just one more way my life is not like a sitcom.
Is it just me? Have you ever sent someone or been sent to the couch for bad behavior? If so, did anyone clutch his pillow in both arms and give you a hang-dog sitcom husband face? Questions like these are what do keep me awake at night.