Cuddling styles and what they say about your union - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Cuddling styles and what they say about your union

A couple’s sleeping position can say a lot about the kind of relationship they have and how they really feel about each other. An individual’s subconscious controls the way they sleep, so sleep-fueled body language can serve as an interesting insight into what might be going on, even if they are unaware of certain things while the sun is up.

A sex researcher and relationship therapist, Dr. Sarah Murray, said, “Physical touch is a basic human need that promotes bonding, attachment, and connection. It starts from the moment we are born with skin-to-skin contact between infant and caregiver. And while physical touch may look different as we get older, the need for touch continues all throughout our lives.”

Also, a study conducted at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, revealed that an individual’s favourite sleeping and cuddling positions, and the distance apart they sleep from their partner, provide insight into their relationship.

It’s often an afterthought while one falls asleep next to (or while holding hands with) one’s partner, but if one is not already taking cuddling seriously, it’s about time one did.

Whether one snuggles on the couch, in bed, or on a blanket in the park, it’s an important part of a relationship. Not only can one’s preferred position—for cuddling, of course—reveal how one feels about each other, but there are also many health benefits that come from a good spooning.

Also, a relationship expert, Olabisi Ola-Soetan, said that it was normal and intuitive for people to crave touch.

She said, “Can you see now though that it’s a normal human phenomenon. For instance, you’d see children wanting or even hugging and cuddling without being taught. We all intuitively know that hugs and kisses are good for us and the people we share it with.”

The information below from scientists, psychologists, therapists, and relationship counsellors interpret what some couples’ cuddling positions may mean.


If you and your partner sleep in this cuddling position it means you see eye-to-eye. A family therapist and relationship expert, Dr. Jane Greer said that couples who embrace spooning were “merging their bodies together as one, so you may see them dressing alike or enjoying the same things.” There’s even “a certain similarity” to these pairs, she added.


This position is reflective of a mutual respect for each other. Each of you is comfortable apart and cognizant of the other’s space, but you’re still there for one another. Greer added, “You want to touch, but not to the point where you feel too enveloped,” or like you’re sacrificing your own comfort for theirs.

Head on chest

When you sleep with your head on your partner’s chest, it is a protective sleeping arrangement. It is also called the ‘Sweetheart’s Cradle’ position. It “can speak to one person feeling very safe and secure in their partner’s arms,” Greer explained. “They feel their partner can help support them both physically and emotionally.” It also means that the couples aren’t afraid to constantly show their feelings; they’re very tender and care a lot about each other. The position typically means that the man is more bossy and domineering in the relationship.

The leg hug

The leg hug is a little unclear, as it can indicate a number of things. If only one person is doing the “hugging,” it could signal that they are craving a connection with the other. And since your legs are first to react in a fight-or-flight situation, they’re often the most honest part of the body.

If you’re both intertwined, you’re equally passionate, and the emotional and sexual connection is strong. Just like your legs, your lives are blended and balanced. A third interpretation of the leg hug is that since the contact is so casual, it could imply you’re ambivalent about expressing affection or just had a fight but are trying to maintain a connection, despite heated emotions.

 Face-to-face embrace

While this cuddling position might seem reserved for the honeymoon stage, Greer said hugging while asleep meant the couple is “really into each other,” and that didn’t necessarily have to fade away. Couples who do this “don’t want to miss anything.” They might share their food, personal business, and intimate details about themselves with each other.

Arm draped across the other’s back

This position indicates “’I’ve got your back,’” Greer stated. The person who’s doing the cradling is communicating an understanding that their partner might feel neglected or needs support.

If you realise that your partner has suddenly taken to the other side of the bed, that might mean they are “much less comfortable with physical affection and touching” at the moment and could signal a problem. “But if this is a usual occurrence, it just means that you’re confident in the relationship and don’t require “shared space,” said Greer.

Though this one may look like a standard spoon, the chasing sSpoon is usually a little lopsided: One person has moved away from the centre of the bed, and the other “chases” to physically reconnect. According to Sleep Positions, The Night Language of the Body, the chasing spoon can simply mean that one partner wants more space in the bed. The other, less literal interpretation is that the partner doing the drifting wants to be pursued.

The liberty lovers

Another position more common with some couples is, the liberty lovers sleep back-to-back, but with space between them.  A psychologist, Corinne Sweet, carried out a study that found 27 per cent of couples fall asleep this way. Despite facing opposite directions and not touching, this position actually indicates they are connected and secure. One can be close without touching, sharing a bed but independent. One can be said to be the kind of couple that’s okay doing things alone but can’t wait to be back together to share stories and recount one’s day.

Holding hands

A psychotherapist and relationship coach, Toni Coleman, noted that like massage, kissing, and hugging, “research shows that touch, like holding hands, releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that gives you that feel-good buzz.’’

Coleman added that if a partner was not in the habit of hand-holding, one should try to do it more, as a surefire way to boost intimacy. “It invokes a positive feeling about one another, so you both feel sexy and wanted. It’s almost like foreplay,” the psychotherapist stated.

Benefits of cuddling

Cuddling does not only speak about one’s relationships, it also has an emotional connection. But no matter how you do it, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting access to those extra perks of a good snuggle.

Ola-Soetan added that cuddles could be beneficial to people. She stated, “Cuddling can be really good too and release some great feel-good hormones that want to make you come back for more.  It also gives an emotional connection and helps build physical intimacy.”

Production of ‘love hormone’ oxytocin

This little hormone basically goes into hyperdrive when one makes physical contact with someone. This means cuddling has the potential to release a lot of it. Oxytocin can also create feelings of sexual arousal and trust, earning it the nickname the “love hormone.”

Murray said it was the influence of the hormone that made cuddling good, noting that its presence accounted for many of the other positive effects of getting close to someone. (Fun fact: This little hormone is also responsible for signalling contractions during childbirth and milk production postpartum.)

Reduces stress and anxiety

Feeling anxious about a big presentation coming up or stressed about a big problem at work? Make time for some spooning. Murray stated, “Oxytocin also makes us feel more settled and safe in our bodies. Cuddling, as a result, can play a role in reducing stress and anxiety and increase our feeling of calm.”

Strengthens immune system

Vitamin C intake can fight common cold but it’s also good to incorporate cuddling as part of one’s wellness regime. Research from Carnegie Mellon in 2014 found out that hugs—as an example of social support, in general—could protect one from weaknesses in one’s immune system often brought on by stress, especially if that stress was caused by fighting with someone. It ends up that the more social support one feels like one has, the more support one’s body has to fight off illness.

 Lowers blood pressure

To put the theory of stress reduction to the test, researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill devised a study to see the direct effect physical contact with someone one loves could have. In the exercise, married individuals or those in long-term relationships were asked to recall a recent event that was particularly stressful. Half of them were told to give their partner a 20-second hug before telling the story while the other half just sat with their partners. The results? The blood pressure and heart rates of those who did not get a good cuddle were significantly higher than those who did. Oxytocin really is the hormone gift that keeps on giving.

Ensures sexual satisfaction

It makes sense that when one feels closer to one’s partner emotionally; it’s easier to feel closer to them in other circumstances as well. Researchers have found that couples who cuddle after sex reported increased sexual satisfaction, not to mention that physical intimacy cold often lead to getting intimate, Murraynoted.

But that being said, Murray cautioned against only seeing cuddling as a means to initiate sex. If it always leads to getting down to business, she explained, someone might turn down snuggle sesh if they aren’t interested in going any further in the moment. “The unfortunate part of this is that we may actually want to cuddle with our partner for a number of other reasons,” she said, adding “but we may miss out on these nice feelings because we don’t want to give the impression we’re in the mood for sex.”

Aids sleep

No, it’s not just because you’re already feeling more sexually satisfied that catching those intimate moments suddenly seems easier post-cuddle. Research in the journal Regulatory Peptides has shown that oxytocin also promotes sleep in the brains of mice. There’s no official word on whether that benefit carries over to humans, but why not use it as an excuse to embrace your inner cuddle monster anyway?

Sources: women’shealth,,,,,

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