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Whatever Happened to Sexy, Sexy Waterbeds? A Brief History

"She'll admire you for your car, she'll respect you for your position, but she'll love you for your waterbed." The waterbed undulated to 20 percent of the bed market by 1986. Now, they're gone. What happened? They were too sexy.


As the Atlantic spells out in its brief history of the sexiest bed ever, the waterbed, in one form of another, had existed in the dreams of doctors and sci-fi authors since the 1800s. But the materials and technology to build it—namely, vinyl—didn't arrive until the 20th century, when Charles Hall designed the modern waterbed in 1968 for his Master's Thesis project at San Francisco State University. His goal was to make more comfortable furniture. Instead, as the Rebecca Greenfield writes, it became "The Bed of the Sexual Revolution." Hugh Hefner's ocean-sized waterbed was covered in Tasmanian possum fur.

And that was its undoing. By the 1990s, it was old and icky, like the dudes who boned on them in the '70s and '80s. Tempur-Pedic mattresses, cold and cheesily space-aged, are the alternative mattress of today. But people just sleep on them. [The Atlantic]

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i think the biggest thing was the inherent risk of a leak... I'd much rather have a foam bed tempurpedic thing than a waterbed. Get too sexy on the waterbed and it springs a leak.