After sex I usually want to roll over and go to sleep, but occasionally I do like to cuddle. We are natural-born cuddlers. From the moment we're placed in our mother's arms and realize that snuggled up all warm and cozy next to someone we love is the most perfect place one can be. There's nothing quite like being wrapped in the arms of someone about whom you care endlessly. Or maybe a stranger, too.
In addition to cuddling feeling great, it also has a lot of health benefits, too. Studies have found that engaging in cuddling after sex for at least 15 minutes has a ton of positive effects on your body and relationship. If you have the time to extend that 15 minutes into an extra 20 or 30, then all that great stuff just gets even better. It's the couple (no word on strangers yet) that cuddles together that stays together.
Here are the seven benefits of staying locked in one another's arms longer than usual.
1. It's Great For Your Sex Life.
According to research out of the University of Toronto Mississauga, those who make cuddling a mandatory ending to sex, report "higher levels of satisfaction with their sex lives." It's not just because there's sex going on, but because taking the time for intimacy after the act reaffirms the emotional and sexual bond there.
2. It Makes For A Happier Relationship.
All that cuddling releases oxytocin, which is basically your "good time" hormone. Not only does the hormone run rampant during cuddle sessions, but, "it increases overall happiness," says psychologist, Elizabeth Lombardo. Not to mention, the intimacy that comes with cuddling is important to the health and happiness of every relationship.
3. It Helps Relieve Pain.
Sometimes, with just a touch, things are better. Think about when you were younger — whenever anything hurt, your immediate response was to call for Mom, because her touch was a magical cure-all. While nothing can outdo a mother's touch, the oxytocin released during cuddling can actually ease pain in individuals. It's a perfect combination of hormones and cuddles that can make a physical (or even emotional) ache bearable.
4. It Boosts Affection.
The intimacy that comes with cuddling, especially after sex, cannot be rivaled by pretty much anything in the world. Not only does cuddling make for better affection, but it also allows us to communicate our affections without words, when words sometimes fail us. According to David Klow, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago, "Most people want to feel understood, and communication is the vehicle by which they transmit understanding and empathy. Non-verbal communication can be a very powerful way to say to your partner, 'I get you.' Cuddling is a way of saying, 'I know how you feel.' It allows us to feel known by our partner in ways that words can't convey." So, you know, give your partner a squeeze, a nice long squeeze.
5. It's Good For Your Immune System.
What do we have to thank again for this one? Oxytocin. Without all that feel good action going on, the even greater outer effect of it all is a stronger immune system. You see, happy people don't get sick; they just don't. If you're sick, it's because you're not cuddling enough. It's science, people.
6. It Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease.
When I say it lowers heart disease, I’m also lumping in all the other factors that contribute to heart disease (high blood pressure, stress, anxiety), and saying it lowers them, too. The physical effects that a daily cuddle can have on your heart are amazing. As Holistic Health Counselor, Jodi Geigle, says, “when it comes to health, cuddling is pretty much the new half marathon!” But, in this writer’s humble opinion, it’s even better because you don’t have to leave the bed.
7. It Can Lead To Round 2.
Although you may have just come off of some mind-blowing sex, the dopamine that’s being released during your cuddle session, according to ob-gyn Dr. Renee Horowitz, just increases that sexual desire again and again. You may need a rest, but keeping things close instead of jumping out of bed right after, is just asking for another round of the good stuff. And, as we learned, that good stuff is really good for every inch of you.