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The Case for More Cuddling

By Carol Church, Writer, Family Album

Reviewed by Victor Harris, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida

Do you like cuddling? You might be thinking: Come on….who doesn’t?

Well, not everyone is a big snuggler, spooner, or whatever you want to call it. And actually, what we’re really talking about here (for the purpose of this post!) is cuddling after sex. So… do you stay awake to kiss, snuggle and talk intimately, or are you the type to roll over and fall asleep?

Post-Sex Snuggling Matters

If you’re thinking…well, it might be more the latter, there’s something you may want to know. Even if your performance between the sheets was outstanding, you and your partner might both benefit from a little more “spooning time.” In two different studies, researchers recently found that long-term couples’ relationship and sexual satisfaction was more connected to the length of so-called “post-sex affection” than we might expect. Here’s the lowdown.

In the first study, about 200 people (mostly married or cohabiting) answered a number of questions about their relationships and sex lives. For instance, they were asked how often they had sex, how long it tended to last, how physically affectionate they were with their partners, and how satisfied they were with their sex life and their relationships overall. They also said how long, on average, they tended to spend spooning, cuddling, talking romantically, or otherwise being affectionate after sex.

More Cuddling = More Satisfaction

Overall, people who spent more time being cuddly and loving with their partners after making love were more sexually satisfied—and more satisfied with their relationships in general. This wasn’t because they had more sex…or longer sex! Cuddling seemed to have its own special effect.

And in a second study, about 100 couples answered similar questions, but did so daily for a period of about three weeks. They also answered the same questions again three months later. In this study, men and women reported higher sexual satisfaction on days when post-sex snuggling lasted longer…..which then led to more relationship satisfaction. Three months later, more snuggling was again linked to better relationship qualities.

Not Because Happy People Cuddle More

Could it be the case that high relationship satisfaction leads to more snuggling, rather than the other way around? It’s a good question. However, the researchers looked at this, and didn’t find much support for that possibility.

In the end, it seems that couples, at least in these samples, simply seem to find post-sex affection to be uniquely rewarding and satisfying. It may seem obvious, but sometimes we might all need a reminder: cuddling is pretty great.

References:

Muise, A., Giang, E., & Impett, E. A. (2014). Post Sex Affectionate Exchanges Promote Sexual and Relationship
Satisfaction. Archives of Sexual behavior, 43, 1391-1402. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0305-3