From watching horror films on the couch with my high school crush to waking up beside a partner during more recent (and more serious) relationships in my adult life, I’ve always been a huge fan of snuggling. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy taking things further from time to time, but I find cuddling just way more fulfilling.
It’s so much more intimate than sex.
I’m talking about intimacy on an emotional level here. Sure, having sex requires partners to maintain a certain close proximity to each other, but the closeness of snuggling, no matter how it’s done, can be much more intimate than getting down and dirty. The intimacy of snuggling comes not from sexual pleasure but from reveling in the company of another warm human being. Chest to back or hand in hand, there’s something so profound about innocent cuddling and sex just can’t compete.
Snuggling inspires deep conversations.
If Zayn’s 2016 hit gives us any indication, pillow talk is an essential component of healthy relationships. Some of the most profound conversations couples have tend to happen in bed, and I’m willing to bet they don’t occur between gasps of pleasure. Whether before or after sex, odds are the couple is snuggling while they discuss the next steps in their relationship, disclose personal information, or simply get to know each other better.
There’s nothing selfish about it.
Unlike achieving orgasm, snuggling occurs mutually and without obligation, self-imposed or otherwise. If you seek out a partner for the sole purpose of getting your freak on, more power to ya. But when the sex is over, snuggling is comforting in a way sex rarely is. Sure, both people benefit from the mutual warmth and the smoothness of skin-on-skin contact, but neither stands to win or lose. Snuggling is an equal and shared experience.
Snuggling carries no expectations.
Snuggling is even more intuitive than sex and as such, it can’t really be done incorrectly. Couples don’t have to worry about their own or their partner’s “performance” when it comes to snuggling. There are only a couple of snuggling positions—spooning in bed, cuddling on the couch, or even cozying up on the train—and it’s nearly impossible to do them incorrectly.
It’s good for your physical and mental health.
Sex also has a ton of incredible physical benefits, but for couples who aren’t quite ready to take that step or who are looking to deepen their romantic connection, their physical health will improve along with their emotional health if they snuggle. According to a Toronto study published in Archives of Sexual Bonds, couples who snuggle together are happier and healthier thanks to the release of oxytocin. This chemical can improve heart health, lower stress levels, and increase happiness amongst partners. The best part is, unlike hopping on the treadmill, you hardly have to move to reap the benefits of snuggling.
Snuggling takes less energy than sex.
What was that about not having to move? Yeah, I’m all about it. Whereas with sex, at least one partner needs to have the energy to, uh, achieve success, snuggling just requires time and a pulse. Couples are rarely “too tired” to snuggle—in fact, if done in bed, snuggling is essentially the same thing as sleeping. Great news for lazy people everywhere.
It can be done anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I think public fornication is as hot as the next person, but it’s not entirely socially acceptable, is it? Young and old couples alike can snuggle just about anywhere they please without fear of reprimanding. Planes, trains, automobiles, park benches, and Starbucks are all fair game when it comes to snuggling. No excuse not to seek a mid-day pick-me-up when out and about with your partner.
Snuggling is possible even if you don’t feel sexy.
Some days you overeat, are breaking out, or discover a little extra flab around your waistline and just aren’t in the mood to strip down and get hot and heavy. I get that. This is yet another reason why snuggling trumps sex: you don’t have to get in the mood to snuggle, you just do it. And who knows, you just might be in the mood for sex afterward.
It can improve your sex life, while the reverse isn’t necessarily true.
Couples who snuggle have better sex. Whether it’s because snuggling strengthens couples’ emotional bonds to one another or because it improves your overall health, couples who snuggle achieve more sexual satisfaction. Conversely, having sex as friends with benefits or during a one-night stand won’t necessarily improve your emotional connection to a partner.
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