It's official: There is a day for just about everything, from National Sacher Torte Day (Dec. 5) to National Heimlich Maneuver Day (June 1), and that includes National Cuddle Up Day (Jan. 6). I like this one, though. Not that I have a personal vendetta against the celebration of sacher tortes or Heimlich maneuvers, but I don't have a particular penchant for either of those. I do, however, love to cuddle. As such, partners who love to cuddle are the best partners, as far as I'm concerned. I can't suffer non-snugglers.
Cuddling doesn't have to be relegated solely to the bed. It can be done on the beach, in the tub, on a rooftop. I had a little snuggle atop a set of cliffs in Scotland recently, staring up at the almost-blue sky. I've had snuggles on trains and in the back of cars. Planes, for sure. Really, as far as I'm concerned, any time is a good time for a cuddle.
There are scientific reasons to grab your lover and settle in for a long snug. Dopamine and serotonin are released when you touch someone, which "can boost your mood and help curb depression," reports Women's Health Magazine. And "the closer you and your partner are while you sleep, the more likely you are to feel happy with your relationship," they reported, as per a survey by the Edinburgh International Science Festival. (Edinburgh — the very spot where I did some outdoor snuggling!)
You also release oxytocin when you have a good cuddle, which "contributes to us cultivating and maintaining intimate, healthy relationships," says Connections.Mic. Oxytocin is pretty badass, they write: "According to Paul Zak, an expert on the beloved hormone and self-proclaimed 'Dr. Love,' oxytocin is the 'moral molecule behind all human virtue, trust, affection and love, a "social glue" that keeps society together.'"
Plus, regular snuggles reduce stress. I'm going to go as far as saying it's virtually impossible to feel incredibly stressed out at the same time as a good snuggle. Thank oxytocin for that: It's an incredible stress-melter. This can lead to feeling more connected with your partner, sporting more confidence and even having a better immune system, according to Life Hack.
I'm always down for a waking snuggle — bonus points for creative cuddling, in spots normally reserved for eating breakfast (kitchen snuggle!) or writing a paper (library snuggle!). But I especially adore all-night snuggles, which means I do best dating people who also know the value of a good snuggle. It's not all in my head, though; studies point to "suggestive evidence that couples' emotional closeness and physical intimacy during the daytime and prior to bedtime may promote sleep," reports Connections.Mic. So a little library snuggle + a pre-sleep bedtime snuggle x a longterm bed snuggle = a good night's sleep. Sounds about right.
I suppose I should interrupt this cuddle lovefest to point out that there are men and women out there who don't like snuggling. Some could be said to hate it, even. I've come across a few — the types who will do an obligatory two-minute spoon before turning over and seeking refuge on the opposite side of the bed for the night. I don't fault them for their preferences. I just don't find them good matches for me. And they might be a little extra stressed, since they're missing out on all that oxytocin.
Human touch is just that important. In a study comprised of married women, the ladies were told that they might receive a mild shock, and their anxiety levels were measured to increase, but their anxiety came back down when they held hands with a male experimenter, and came down even more so when they held hands with their husbands, reports Greatist.
Even chimpanzees love to cuddle. There's a study out there called "Stress reduction through consolation in chimpanzees," and it makes a very convincing argument that "affiliative interaction," AKA cuddling, after a conflict, makes it all better. After two chimps got in a fight, a soothing cuddle from a third party calmed the stressed chimp down. The study "shows that consolation in chimpanzees reduces behavioral measures of stress in recipients of aggression." I am totally with you, chimps!
Look, if you're not down with cuddling, I'm probably not down with you. Some women are mystified by the whole phenomenon. Others downright hate cuddling. Others have compiled lists to detail exactly why they hate snuggling so much. And why they hate the phrase "snuggle bug."
Much has been poured into this particular subject of debate. Whole articles have been written to decode men's cuddling styles or women's aversions to cuddling and what it means. Let me be the first to say: It's not that deep. Cuddling is just fun. And it releases a whole bunch of oxytocin.
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