Why Touching Your Partner Feels So Good, According To A New Study, Plus More Reasons To Cuddle This Weekend
Anyone who has cuddled up to their main squeeze will probably tell you that they have the softest skin on the planet. But when you’re in love you think a lot of wonderful things about your partner that might not be necessarily accurate, which is definitely one of the cool things about love ― it makes us delusional. A new study has confirmed that the luscious skin of your partner you feel isn't actually all that. In fact, it’s a total lie, so you can probably quit using the same moisturizer they do, because your skin isn’t all silky smooth in reality either. The study by the University College of London has found that your brain tricks you into believing your partner’s skin is smoother than it really is, as a way to keep you interested in them.
It is, as the study explains, an “illusion” that their skin feels even softer than your own thanks to our brain being tricked. But trickery aside, the soft strokes that you give a loved one makes you both feel great and creates a bonding, because from an evolutionary perspective, we’re supposed to stay all cuddled up with someone to mate and make babies and all that jazz.
But delusions about your partner’s skin aside, there are other reasons why this weekend you absolutely should get your cuddle on. Here are eight of them.
1. Cuddling Reduces Pain
Cuddling gets your oxytocin pumping. When it’s released into your system it’s one of the best natural painkillers there is. So if you’re all crampy and achy from a long week being stuck at your desk, cuddling can help you unwind and feel good, both emotionally and physically.
2. Cuddling Boosts Your Immune System
Whether it’s a massage, even a quick one, or the loving embrace of someone, that simple touch lowers cortisol levels in the body which, in turn, fights stress. When your stress is in check, your immune system truly benefits. In other words, cuddling keeps you happy and healthy.
3. Cuddling Lowers Your Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
When you have your stress levels under control thanks to all that hugging and your oxytocin has kicked in, your heart benefits, too. Cuddling allows your heart rate to slow down and take a break from all the anxiety that contributes to it racing a bit more than it should. Because of this, your blood pressure benefits, too.
4. Even Just Holding Hands Reduces Stress
Even if you’re not in the mood to hold onto your partner for dear life this weekend, just the act of holding hands with them can make you feel at ease. A study by the University of Virginia found that when loved ones hold hands the stress in the part of the brain called hypothalamus decreases, as people feel safe and secure in just the holding of hands of someone they love.
5. Cuddling Strengthens Your Bond With Your Partner
A 2014 study found that couples who sleep no more than an inch apart are happier than those who don’t get so cozy when they sleep. As for those who do cuddle all night when sleeping, 94 percent reported great relationship satisfaction than those who don’t touch each other when they’re getting some shut-eye. It also helps you sleep better.
6. Cuddling Can Help With Depression
With all that dopamine and serotonin being released with every hug and cuddle session, you're looking at not just an alleviation of physical pain, but emotional pain, too. Cuddling makes your brain happy.
7. Cuddling Is Awesome For Your Sex Life
Studies have found that couples who actually take time to cuddle after having sex, have far more satisfying sex lives. Not only are they experiencing the release of hormones that come with having sex and having an orgasm with your partner, but creating that bond through cuddling after getting it on, is really beneficial to your relationship.
8. Cuddling Your Pet Does Wonders Too
As someone who is not an avid cuddler, when I do cuddle, I choose my dog as my main cuddle partner. Studies had found that even cuddling a beloved pet helps lower blood pressure and improve the function of your immune system. And, let’s be honest, no one in the world is ever going to love you the way your pet does, so cuddle that little bugger all weekend long and don't let go.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new video on what it's like to be a bridesmaid for hire.