12 Reasons Cuddling Is More Intimate Than Sex

While many people enjoy physical intimacy, cuddling can be a highly intimate and fulfilling experience for most people. In fact, cuddling can sometimes be more intimate than sexual activity. There are many reasons why cuddling can be such a meaningful and enjoyable form of bonding with a partner.

1. It forces you to be vulnerable

Cuddling can be a very vulnerable and intimate experience, as it involves being physically close and comfortable with someone else. It can also be an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings and be more open with one another. For some people, cuddling can even facilitate communication and make it easier to express emotions. In general, cuddling can be a mutually enjoyable and beneficial activity for both partners.

2. It's hard to cuddle without feelings

It's natural to assume that anyone who engages in a physical relationship with someone else must have some level of caring for that person, but that's not always the case. Some people are skilled at engaging in casual, emotionless encounters. However, snuggling requires an emotional connection; it's not possible to snuggle with someone you don't have an emotional bond with. It would be strange and uncomfortable to try.

3. You're quite literally leaning on someone else

Even the most independent and self-sufficient woman may sometimes need someone to be there for her in times of weakness. Cuddling requires vulnerability and a willingness to let go and allow someone else to provide support. It can be a powerful reminder that it's okay to not always have to be strong and self-sufficient, and that it's okay to ask for help.

4. It fulfills a different kind of need

While experiencing pleasure is certainly enjoyable, it's not the only thing that humans desire. Studies have shown that physical touch, such as hugging and cuddling, can improve mood and reduce depression. Cuddling is essentially a prolonged hug, and it can also increase the likelihood of having a satisfying physical relationship.

5. You're trapped… in a good way

When he falls asleep with his limbs entwined with yours, it is impossible for either of you to separate. Instead, you have the opportunity to observe him while he sleeps, which can be endearing. You may notice cute details about him that you have not previously noticed. Even when you have a strong urge to use the bathroom but are unable to do so because he is blocking your way, it is worth it because of how comfortable he looks.

6. It can actually lead to sleep

After engaging in sexual activity, it is common for one or both partners to leave quickly to avoid the expectation of spending the night. However, when you are cuddled up in someone's embrace, it is natural to drift off to sleep or take a short nap. When you are that comfortable, there is nothing wrong with succumbing to the temptation to sleep.

7. There's no end goal

Sometimes, engaging in sexual activity can feel like it is solely focused on achieving a particular goal, which can remove the enjoyment and intimacy from the experience. In contrast, cuddling is simply about enjoying each other's company without any specific goals or pressures. There is no rush, no need to worry about timing, and no concerns about whether one partner experiences pleasure while the other does not. Cuddling allows you to simply relax and enjoy the moment.

8. Guys don't just cuddle with everyone

Unlike the possibly low standards that some men have for deciding whether a woman is desirable enough to have sexual relations with, most men are selective about who they cuddle with. If a man is content to lay fully clothed next to you and is happy simply to be near you, it indicates a deeper level of affection and connection than just a physical desire.

9. Gentle is everything

It is true that some people enjoy gentle, passionate love-making, but for others, rough or fast sexual activity is preferred. Cuddling is often the opposite, as gentle touch is often the most enjoyable. During cuddling, you can touch each other's arms tenderly, run your fingers through his hair, and savor the feeling of being together.

10. Emotions come out when you snuggle

It is difficult to resist feeling giddy, serious, or emotional (positive or negative) when you are in someone else's arms. Cuddling has a way of bringing your deepest feelings to the forefront, as if they are being drawn out by an unseen force. You may find that you are unable to ignore these emotions while cuddling.

11. There's no time limit

Sexual activity may be interrupted when one partner decides they are finished, but cuddling does not have this limitation. This is because a) cuddling can be enjoyable for an extended period of time and b) it is unlikely that either partner will ever truly want to stop cuddling.

12. You can allow yourself to feel safe

Lying in the arms of someone you love (or could potentially love) can be a truly unparalleled experience. You can let go of your concerns and feel completely safe and secure. This feeling of being cared for and protected is unique to cuddling and can be incredibly satisfying.

Why Cuddling Is Good For You, According To Science

According to a 2020 survey, approximately 90% of respondents admitted that they enjoy receiving physical affection from their partners. In addition to feeling good, cuddling has many health benefits.

1. Not having physical affection can be detrimental

James Córdova, Ph.D., a psychology professor, and clinical psychologist at the Center for Couples and Family Research at Clark University, has stated that a lack of physical touch can have negative effects on our overall health. He believes that cuddling should be considered a fundamental element for well-being. He says: "I honestly think cuddling should be among the most basic prescriptions for human flourishing".

2. It communicates trust with your partner

Córdova emphasizes that humans are naturally inclined to cuddle, which serves as a nonverbal form of communication between ourselves and our parents before we can speak. This ability to share a feeling that cannot be expressed in words continues into adulthood. "The act of cuddling implicitly communicates trust and safety in ways that words cannot," he says. "As human beings, we are born as cuddlers, and we never really outgrow it."

3. Cuddling gives your mental health a boost

Not only does cuddling improve your mood, it can also reduce stress and improve mental health, according to Lina Valikova, MD. "Cuddling increases levels of oxytocin, the 'bonding' hormone, and decreases levels of cortisol, the 'stress' hormone," she explains. A 2018 study published in PLoS One found that participants who received hugs regularly were better able to recover from stressful events compared to those who did not receive physical affection. Additionally, according to Córdova, those who cuddle regularly are less prone to depression and anxiety. He says, "Cuddling activates our parasympathetic nervous system, bringing feelings of calm and ease while settling feelings of anxiety and sadness."

4. It strengthens your immune system

It may seem surprising that something as simple as cuddling could reduce your risk of getting sick, but research published in Psychological Science found that people who received regular hugs were less likely to catch a cold compared to those who did not receive regular physical affection. How does this work? Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, explains that cuddling can boost the immune system, making it more effective at fighting illness by decreasing stress and improving mental well-being.

5. You sleep better when you've been cuddling

According to the Touch Test survey, over 60% of respondents reported that cuddling with their partner before bed helped them sleep better. Dr. Velikova suggests that this may be due to increased levels of oxytocin, which "help you fall asleep faster and get more restorative sleep."

6. Cuddling lowers your blood pressure and helps your digestion

The increase in oxytocin and decrease in stress work together to lower blood pressure, which is beneficial for overall health. Additionally, the oxytocin released during cuddling activates the "rest and digest" reflex, which can be beneficial for digestion, according to Romanoff.

7. It helps you maintain and strengthen your connection with your partner

Sharing physical touch with your partner can be a positive and meaningful way to reconnect. If you are feeling distant or disconnected from your partner, try cuddling in bed or on the couch. You may be surprised at how helpful it can be in strengthening your bond.