Can you confidently say that you know how to cuddle?
You snuggle up with your romantic partner, and it’s one of the most cherished gestures in any relationship. It is a deeper kind of connection that extends beyond physical contact. It holds more significance than you might initially think.
In research done by Penn Medicine, displays of affection like snuggling, holding hands, and cuddling result in more than simply fleeting moments of magic. In fact, they are beneficial to our health in general. For example, cuddling often facilitates weight loss, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the immune system.
Cuddling isn’t just about physical proximity; it’s a deliberate act of therapeutic touch that sets the tone for a loving atmosphere, which is exactly why you should know all the ways to cuddle.
So, whether you’re new to the cuddle game or looking to up your cuddle game, we’ve compiled a list of all the positions you should know!
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Cuddling is a natural human behavior that benefits our physical and mental health.
According to Webmd, when you cuddle with someone you care about, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin that calms you and makes you more likely to deal better with stress.
Penn Family and Internal Medicine Longwood physician Paula S. Barry confirms that oxytocin, sometimes called the “feel-good hormone” or the “cuddle hormone,” is synthesized by the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland during moments of physical affection. This release prompts what many describe as “warm fuzzies”—a surge of feelings associated with connection, bonding, and trust.
Interestingly, the more oxytocin released during an affectionate moment with a loved one, the more you desire to hug, touch, and hold hands. This demonstrates positive feedback that can strengthen your relationship while promoting long-term personal well-being and general health.
However, Dr. Barry emphasizes that the positive effects of physical touch or hugs depend on a caring relationship; unwanted physical contact can have the opposite effect, releasing cortisol levels and inducing stress.
That’s why partners need to know each others’ love language. Instead of body contact, your girlfriend or boyfriend may want to be emotionally intimate with you instead. Remember, there are many ways to show your love, and knowing how to cuddle is just one of them!
How to Cuddle: 13 Key Positions to Know
Spooning is a common cuddling position where partners lie closely, with one partner’s front against the other’s back. This position allows for close physical contact and can encourage feelings of comfort, intimacy, and security.
According to Webmd, spooning can be platonic cuddling or an introduction to sexual activity. It goes on to say that setting boundaries is important if the person you’re spooning with isn’t your romantic partner. It can be awkward if one person feels sexually charged while the other does not.
Now you just have to decide if you want to be the big spoon or the little spoon.
This position is ideal for couples who wish to cuddle while looking into each other’s eyes. Sit or lie across from one another and rest your heads on each other’s shoulders to do this. You can hold hands or wrap your arms around each other.
According to Good Housekeeping, it allows partners to lock gazes, increasing emotional and sexual connection. The closeness causes the production of oxytocin, the “happy hormone,” leading to feelings of closeness and relationship satisfaction.
This cuddling position is like a warm, cozy nest for couples who want to feel super close. It’s perfect whether you’re just starting or you’ve been together for ages. Your partner lies on their back and holds you while you lie on your side and rest your head on their chest.
Healthline says it is frequently utilized when couples need to be nurtured. Your partner lies on their back, holding you with your head on their chest. Style Craze agrees- a sweetheart cradle is a soothing cuddling type that promotes feelings of well-being and trust.
Like spooning, half-spoon allows partners to maintain a comfortable cuddle while allowing for more personal space.
Good Housekeeping describes the position as one person resting on their back and the other on their side. The person lying on their side rests their head on the upper chest of their partner and wraps their arm over their body. The partner lying on their back also wraps their arm over their partner.
Imagine wrapping your arms around your partner while they scroll through their phone, occasionally giving you forehead kisses in between sharing articles or memes. You find yourself laughing, thoroughly enjoying their affectionate touch. How sweet is that?
This is one of the more common sleep positions for many couples. Sleep.com says it is the most popular cuddle position, beloved by 42% of people.
It is ideal for couples who want to feel close without getting too touchy. It involves both partners lying on their sides facing opposite directions, with their backs touching. It fosters a sense of closeness and connection, making it an appealing option for long-term partners.
Interestingly, Women’s Health notes that having a preference for this position implies that both partners have mutual respect. They are comfortable apart and mindful of each other’s space, but they are still there for one another.
In a lounge chair cuddle, one partner sits on a couch or bed while the other partner sits in front and leans back to rest their body on the partner sitting on the couch or bed who wraps their hand around the partner leaning their body.
According to this Yahoo Finance article, this position provides a sense of security and safety. It’s a relaxed way to cuddle and is great for extended periods like watching your favorite TV shows together.
Ensure that the person in the rear is lying on something supportive, so you’re both comfortable!
Cuddling in bed isn’t the only way to bond with your partner or a loved one. You can experience some of the most meaningful cuddles when standing.
The standing spoon position is a great way to cuddle while doing other things, such as cooking or washing dishes. Stand facing each other and wrap your arms around each other. One person can even rest their head on the shoulder of the other person.
The Lap Pillow
Another traditional cuddling posture is the lap pillow cuddle, in which one partner rests on their back with their head on the other’s lap. The spouse with their head in their lap can relax by closing their eyes, while the partner with the lap pillow may stroke their hair or massage their scalp.
This position shows your partner that you care and want to care for them. It’s also a great way to relax and de-stress after a long day.
Simply sit on the couch or the floor with your legs crossed to do the lap pillow cuddle position. Then, place your partner on your lap on their back, with their head on your chest or shoulder.
The Leg Hug
This simple and adaptable cuddling position can be enjoyed in various settings, whether on a bed, floor or sitting.
Both couples lie or sit closely to each other while one partner puts one leg on top of the other person’s partner’s leg. Remember that you might have to adjust to make the other person comfortable.
The Butt Pillow
In this position, one person lies down on their stomach while the other person rests their head on the person’s buttocks.
It’s a playful position that allows for space for both parties. You two can do your own thing while still being in each others’ presence. Plus, it’s a great butt-squeezing opportunity!
The Honeymoon Hug
According to Healthline, this position is reserved for people who are still in the honeymoon stage of their relationship and who aren’t necessarily newlyweds. Lie on the bed and gradually entwine your arms and legs with your partner. Lean in close to see their face, then look into their eyes as you talk or sleep.
Described by Jonathan Bender on Sleep.com as a ‘real fit check,’ this form of physical intimacy involves one partner laying their head on the other’s chest, akin to the safety bar on a roller coaster locking you in place as the other partner wraps their arm around.
Honeymoon hugging is about more than just physical touch; it’s about feeling totally connected.
This cuddling style involves enveloping yourself and a cuddle partner in a cocoon-like blanket, ensuring full-body contact and creating an intense sense of physical intimacy.
This style of cuddling not only fosters a deep connection but also syncs heart rates, promoting a perfect position for people seeking intimacy and comfort. It’s truly the perfect hugging position for your partner at night!
The Bear Hug
Bear hug cuddling style is a full-body embrace that does not require a bed or chair. Partners can stand and envelop each other in a tight, secure embrace.
One of the defining features of the bear hug is the sense of safety it provides. It allows partners to fully trust and rely on one another.
How Often Should You Cuddle?
According to Psych Central, how often you cuddle in a relationship is totally up to you both. This is because physical touch means various things to different people. It’s a personal experience; what counts most is how it resonates with each of you.
Virginia Satir, a family therapist cited in the Times of India, suggests a hug quota for optimal well-being. She proposes that we need four hugs daily to survive, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth. Given this, most of us may be suffering from a hug deficiency!
Cuddling plays an important role in building a strong connection in long-term relationships. It is not just about being close physically but also about developing a strong emotional bond.
While there is no universal rule, couples should find a cuddling frequency that works for them. Some people like a nightly cuddle, while others prefer longer, more frequent cuddle sessions.
The most important component is open communication with your spouse to guarantee you are happy and at ease. After all, it’s all about discovering what gives you joy and comfort.
How to Train Yourself to Be a Better Cuddler
There’s no exact science to cuddling; it’s an art anyone can learn, and it’s pretty obvious how you’re supposed to do it.
The issue is how you can improve it for your partner or anyone else you’d like to cuddle with. Remember, cuddling is for everybody, not just lovers.
1. Use your Instinct
You can’t cuddle with someone whenever you feel like it. What if they’re not in the mood? Or they may prefer a particular style or cuddling position. What if the person prefers the big spoon or the little spoon?
If you’re not sure when it’s okay to cuddle, you can always ask your partner.
2. Just go for it
If you don’t want to ask your partner, you can start by putting your arm around their shoulder or waist. If they’re okay, you can cuddle in whatever way feels comfortable for both of you.
Also, remember that being in a comfortable position is important so that if your partner is new to cuddling, they can enjoy it and look forward to it again.
3. Don’t crowd them
Respect your partner’s space.
Do remember that your partner is not a scratching post or a beanbag. You should not overwhelm them with all your limbs unless prompted.
If you are the type that loves to cuddle often, putting your arm around them is good enough, and you can always get closer as you get more comfortable.
4. Encourage full-body contact
You should encourage full-body contact to increase the level of intimacy. Whether it’s the comforting form of a bear hug, classic spooning, sweetheart cradle, or bear hug positions, optimizing these positions encourages a lot of skin-to-skin contact, which makes the whole cuddling experience unique and enjoyable.
5. Know which type of cuddling to use
Knowing which type of cuddling to use can greatly influence how comfortable and close you feel with your partner.
There are different types of cuddling for various occasions and locations. These are as follows:
a. The Arm Cuddle: You can do this anywhere, anytime. Just gently drape your arm over your partner’s shoulder or around your waist. Draw them closer, and voilà! You’ve got a cuddle. It’s a warm touch that instantly creates a sense of intimacy and comfort.
b. The Hug Cuddle: This is when you share a hug with someone and find yourself holding that position a bit longer than expected. It’s perfect for those moments when you’re lying on the bed, craving a little extra closeness from your loved one. The eye contact and the extended physical connection enhance the sense of trust.
c. The Full-Body Cuddle: It involves using all your limbs, even your legs, to cuddle with your partner. While this position fosters a deep sense of intimacy and comfort, it’s important to be mindful of not overdoing it, as it can lead to discomfort or even stress hormone release.
d. The Little Spoon Cuddle: This is when the little spoon subtly moves closer to the big spoon to kickstart a cuddling session. It’s a playful and endearing way to initiate a cuddle without saying a word. This position creates a strong sense of trust and connection between partners.
e. The Lap Cuddle: Perfect for binge-watching or road trips. One person can do all the cuddling while the other enjoys a comfortable spot on the couch or sits on the other’s lap. It’s a playful and comfortable position, allowing easy conversation and human contact.
f. The Thigh Cuddle: This involves cuddling with your partner’s thigh instead of their whole body. It often happens when you’re lying down with your head on your partner’s lap or when they’re reading on the couch. It’s a playful and intimate position that encourages eye contact and strengthens the connection between partners.
g. The Waist Cuddle: A higher variation of the lap cuddle, offering even more surface area for cuddling, especially if your partner has a beer belly. It’s a comforting position that allows for a strong sense of trust and intimacy between cuddle buddies.
h. The Back Cuddle: This happens when your partner is standing, and you decide to cuddle them from behind. It’s perfect if you’re taller than your partner, creating a playful and intimate connection. While it may require a bit of a stretch, it’s a comforting position that fosters a sense of trust and closeness.
6. Know when to stop cuddling
Knowing when to stop cuddling is as important as knowing how to cuddle. Pay attention to your partner’s cues and body language. It might be time to gently step back if they start to seem uncomfortable or restless.
Remember, even though cuddling offers many health benefits, like reducing stress hormones and promoting the release of oxytocin, it’s important to respect each other’s boundaries. There are always other ways to show affection anyway.
Now that we’ve explored all the various cuddling positions, do you have a favorite?
Regardless of your preference, what truly counts are the benefits of cuddling. Whether you choose to stand, sit, lie in bed, or stay on the floor, the most important thing is to be comfortable and enjoy your cuddle buddy’s company.
While cuddling isn’t always a planned activity, taking advantage of the occasion can do wonders for your relationship. So, whenever these special moments arise, make sure to always time for them.