You probably love nothing more than cuddling on the couch with your boyfriend, especially on a snowy winter night. Turns out, it’s one of the best things you can do for your relationship. A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2012 confirmed that your relationship really will get deeper and stronger if you’re into cuddling. Here’s what you need to know about what they found.
- The result was seen across the board, but especially with women. Out of the 514 people who answered questions on a survey online, 338 were women. It makes sense since we tend to think of cuddling as something that women like a lot more than men (even though if you asked your BF, he would probably say that he loves cuddling just as much). Maybe that’s because we see females as the nurturing ones in the relationship.
- Men love to cuddle too. That being said, men do enjoy cuddling, at least according to study author and expert Robin Edelstein. As she told EliteDaily.com, “So although there are stereotypes about men not enjoying cuddling or doing it only for the purposes of sex, we didn’t find much evidence for this in our data.” See? You totally knew that your boyfriend is just as big a fan of cuddling as you are.
- The study looked at two types of intimacy. The researchers wondered if cuddling is always totally sexual or if it can be what they call “nurturant intimacy.” This is pretty interesting since there are definitely two types of cuddling: when you’re watching a Netflix show with your partner and literally watching the show or when you’re in bed and, well, you both know what you’re thinking about. These are both super special experiences and create a real bond between you and the person that you love. It’s awesome that both types of cuddling were given equal weight in the study.
- Cuddling hadn’t been studied in a serious way before. As the study authors wrote in the abstract, “Touch is a critical factor in intimate bonds between romantic partners. Although cuddling is a key expression of intimacy, it has received little empirical attention.” It’s pretty crazy that it took until 2012 for cuddling to get the recognition that it deserves, but at least it finally did.
- It’s a chicken and egg type of thing. What comes first: do you cuddle with your boyfriend at night because you love him or do you fall for him even more every time you get close to him? It’s actually both. As Edelstein told EliteDaily.com, “Our findings suggest that people feel more loving and affectionate toward their partner when they cuddle. They also cuddle because they feel loving and affectionate toward their partner.” Sounds good, right?
- The results were super positive. As you might have guessed, the study results saw cuddling in a super positive light… as long as couples cuddled for a good amount of time and it happened on a regular basis. So if you think that sharing the couch with your boyfriend once a week while you watch a few episodes of whatever show you’re bingeing counts, that’s not going to cut it. In order to truly deepen your relationship, you need to be cuddling at least a few nights a week. Which should be no big deal if you’re in love.
- Cuddling doesn’t always lead to sex. It’s easy to assume that every time you get super close to your boyfriend, especially if it’s already nighttime, that means that the two of you are going to have sex. The researchers found that based on the survey answers, cuddling was “somewhat sexual” but that wasn’t necessarily the point of it.
- But cuddling on a regular basis does positively impact your sex life. The researchers found a connection between the female study participants who cuddled with their partners on a regular basis (and were happy about it) and their sex lives. This is definitely something that you would have assumed, of course. There’s something nice and comforting about assuming something and then seeing that research backs it up. Since cuddling makes you feel intensely close to the one that you love, of course that would increase your desire. The same thing goes for if you’re both already in bed and it’s late at night. So the next time that you’re with your significant other, feel free to cuddle them like crazy. And tell them that cuddling all the time will make everything (including the sex) even better. You probably won’t get any complaints.