Cuddling, snuggling, canoodling — no matter what you call it, cuddling has likely been an important part of your relationships. It comes with a whole slew of benefits, including stress relief, increased intimacy or closeness, even higher sexual satisfaction with a partner. With so many perks, you never want to underestimate the power of a good cuddle.
While no cuddling position is objectively better than the rest (everyone has their own preferences), there are a few we consider top picks. Each cuddle position says something a little different. Here are a few of the best cuddle positions you might want to try during your next cuddle sesh.
Spooning is a classic cuddle position. It involves one partner playing “big spoon,” and wrapping their arms around the “smaller spoon” while lying close to each other. Spooning isn’t always a sexual act, but it certainly promotes sexual intimacy — it’s like cuddling with benefits. Whether you like to spoon or be spooned might speak to the dynamics in your relationship. For example, if you prefer being the little spoon position, that might mean you like being protected or letting someone else take the reins. If you prefer being the big spoon, that may suggest you are feeling like the protector of your partner at that moment.
2. Being Small
Dana McNeil, founder of San Diego’s The Relationship Place, finds the position that she calls “being small” to be particularly helpful with couples. It’s great for cuddling on the couch, and involves one partner snuggling up on the lap of the other. “When you don’t know what to say, when there aren’t words, if you can get into your partner’s lap and snuggle up kind of like a child, it’s a great way to say, ‘I need to be held, to have that comfort, to feel protected,’” Dana tells O.school. Being Small is the perfect position for couples looking to build closeness without having to say anything at all.
3. Cheek to Cheek
In this position, you and your partner are back to back, with your butt cheeks and lower backs still touching. It’s a good option for those in newer relationships, or in situations where one party is on the shy side, when full comfort with each other is still in the works. If you don’t necessarily want to be vulnerable, but still want to stay close and connected, give Cheek to Cheek a try. As an added bonus, you have easy leverage to initiate a flirty game of footsie from this position.
4. The Stronghold
The Stronghold is characterized by one partner laying their head on the chest of the other, usually being held by one of the other person’s arms. Dana advocates for this position because while cuddled up to your partner’s chest, you get to hear a heartbeat.
Not only is this soothing, but it makes it difficult for couples to escalate with each other.
“It keeps you wanting to speak to each other in softer voices, and makes you more open,” she tells O.school. Similar to spooning, the position you take in The Stronghold might indicate something about your personality. If you like to lay your head on your partner’s chest, it could mean you to have someone to lean on. If you make up the other half of the equation by holding your partner to your chest, you could be feeling more like a caretaker.
5. The Honeymoon Hug
Anyone who’s been through the rapture of the honeymoon stage knows it means you and your loved one just can’t get enough of each other. You always want to be connected, even in your sleep. Not even morning breath can warp how crazy you are about the other person. In The Honeymoon Hug, you lay facing each other in bed with all of your limbs intertwined. Dana is quick to recommend this position, along with others that involve the affinity that comes with being face to face. “When you don’t have a way to protect your face, that sensitive area, that’s good when you’re trying to create intimacy with each other,” she says. “So much is expressed through your eyes, and your lips are exposed as well.”
6. The Pretzel
Trying to figure out how to cuddle while sitting? Here’s a position for you. The Pretzel involves sitting across from your partner with your legs interlaced. Just like The Honeymoon Hug, this position gains from the face-to-face aspect and the trust that comes with it. The Pretzel is a great position to try if you have something important to communicate to your partner, and it would be better conveyed in a cuddling position that isn’t associated with sleep or sex. With her clients, Dana suggests cuddling in order to discuss an injury you’ve felt from your partner. According to her, it’s harder to stay in an anger space when you’re physically connected, and so it’s a perfect way to ease tension prior to an emotional conversation.
Cuddling is so important because it taps into a treasure trove of happy hormones. We not only get to experience fun, physical affection from a partner, but we also get a boost of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Because of this, all cuddling positions are worthwhile in their own way. No matter which method is best for your relationship, build in that time to hug and hold your special someone instead of allowing cuddling to take a back seat. It’s healthy for your relationship, and your body as well.