The Key To a Satisfying Sex Life Is...

by Maria Yagoda

We always knew post-coital cuddling was fun. But if you needed another reason to spoon after sex, science tells us that cuddling after the act is an important part of having a satisfying sex life.

A new, two-part study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior surveyed 355 individuals and 101 couples. In the first part of the study, participants reported that they spent 15 minutes, on average, engaging in cuddly, adorable behavior after sex: kissing, canoodling, spooning, talking about hopes and dreams, etc. In the second study, couples were asked to cuddle longer than they normally would after having sex. Amy Muise, the researcher at University of Toronto Mississauga who led the study, found that the couples who spent more time cuddling after sex were far more satisfied with their relationships and the quality of their sex lives.

Muise's findings might finally expand our notion of sexual satisfaction to include more than just the orgasm. "When people think of sex, they tend to be focused on intercourse or orgasm," she said. "This research suggests that other affectionate aspects of sex are important for sexual and relationship satisfaction."

The news gets better: The nice feelings caused by post-sex canoodling are surprisingly long-lasting — couples reported feeling significantly better about their relationships in a follow-up survey conducted three months later.

The magical effects of post-coital cuddles are especially powerful for couples who have children and may not always make time to appreciate each other's company in bed. "Time spent cuddling after sex had a stronger impact on their relationships than it did for non-parents," Muise said."If you are able, spend those extra moments with your partner."

Of course, initiating cuddling can be nerve-wracking, particularly for newer couples or casual hook-ups. Bustle's Lily Allen writes:

Both my male and female friends have such strong opinions, such anxiety, around when it becomes acceptable to cuddle with a romantic flame. Ladies, attempt it too soon and you’re being needy. Guys, snuggle up too fast and your partner will think you’re just looking for a nurturer with a warm body.

For the sexual well-being of everyone, though, we have to bring the cuddle back.Oh, and if your arm falls asleep when you cuddle, and this is getting in the way of your post-coital canoodling, look no further than the "Cuddle Mattress," which claims to eliminate most forms of cuddling-related discomfort, like sore arms and jabbed sides.

Image: Cuddle Mattress