It turns out, humans are hardwired to crave getting touchy-feely. Physical touch is a basic human need that promotes bonding, attachment and connection.
There are all kinds of benefits to cuddling, no matter how you do it: It produces the “love hormone” oxytocin, which can create feelings of trust and arousal, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
It may help keep you healthy, according to research that finds hugs can protect you from weaknesses in the immune system. It helps you sleep better, research shows this is another thing we can thank the oxytocin for.
Cuddling can give you greater sexual satisfaction, as Murray explains, physical intimacy may lead to getting intimate.
Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer says the way couples position themselves while cuddling can indicate how they “look to each other for support” and how comfortable they are with closeness and intimacy. Here’s what your cuddle style might say about you:
- Spooning- According to Greer, couples who sleep like this see eye-to-eye, enjoy the same things and share a “certain similarity.”
- Head on chest- This can show “one person feeling very safe and secure in their partner’s arms,” she explains. “They feel their partner can support them both physically and emotionally.”
- Back-to-back- Pairs who sleep this way have a mutual respect for each other and each one is comfortable apart, but still want to touch without sacrificing their own comfort.
- Legs entwined- These couples like to have their own spaces, but still crave a connection.
- Face-to-face embrace- Hugging while you sleep means you’re “really into each other.”
- Arm draped across the other’s back- This position says “I’ve got your back” and the person doing the cradling is showing they understand their partner might need support.
- Holding hands- Couples who sleep this way want to stay connected and like feeling secure that they’re holding onto each other.