How to Cuddle: Discover The Surprising Health Benefits and The 15 Best Cuddling Positions You Can Try Today

Updated September 27, 2023  

How to cuddle: 15 cuddling positions and health benefits of cuddling.

Let me tell you:

Cuddling is a heavily underestimated form of intimacy.

I dug deep into the world of cuddling and found that it can be one of the best bonding experiences. (I haven't been a big fan myself, but I am now)

In this post, I will share the surprising benefits and the 15 best cuddle positions you can try.

Prepare yourself for getting your Master's Degree in cuddling.

Let's dive right in:

8 Scientific Benefits of Cuddling

According to the famous author of '5 Languages of Love' by relationship expert Gary Chapman, physical intimacy has long carried an emotional power to everyone who experienced it.

From holding an infant to hugging your spouse before going to bed, touch is a sign of affirmation that they care for you.1

Touch is an essential human need.

For many, hugging, kissing, and cuddling are ways they show their affection.

Cuddling has surprisingly many benefits that you may not be aware of!

1. It acts as a medium to communicate what you feel 

Some people use touch as a means to communicate.

People who use touch as a love language feel the happiness or sadness of their spouse, children, or friend through hugging or cuddling.2

Briefly holding hands with someone you love also conveys shared feelings of adoration. 

2. Cuddling is shown to decrease stress 

When you experience a painful event in your life, it can leave you feeling devastated and unmotivated.

By giving your loved ones the support, they need as they go through these trials, hugging them gives them the confidence they need to persevere.

How to cuddle someone who is in distress?

A bear hug will do!

Giving your loved ones support through touch could reduce stress.

It works wonders for those who need comforting, whether they're cuddling with somebody or self-soothing touch (e.g., placing your hand on top of your heart).3

Cuddling reduces cortisol responses to psychosocial stress.

Plus, cuddling and hugging benefit both parties!

3. It takes away some of the pain

Studies have shown that people who were given social support through cuddling or hugging experienced less pain.4

Social touch through cuddling alleviates pain, increases happiness state and decreases oxytocin levels.

Body contact places their bodies in a relaxed state. 

4. Hugging or cuddling keeps you healthy 

Are you occasionally getting hugs from friends or family members?

It turns out that touchy-feely people may have healthier and happier lives as some of the benefits of cuddling, as one study pointed out.5

Physical touch can help you avoid getting sick,

One study assessed a group of 40 healthy individuals for cold susceptibility after exposure to the virus.

Individuals who receive social support and hugs are less likely to catch a cold.

And for participants that did see the illness reported fewer symptoms. 

Related: Healthy Marriage Checklist: How to Have a Successful Marriage

5. It keeps fear at bay 

For mothers, it's not uncommon for children to ask to be cuddled before going to sleep, fearing 'monsters underneath the bed.' 

Your love partner may be feeling anxious about an upcoming job interview after being laid off from work.

Hugging or cuddling your partner shows your support and want the best for them.

Cuddling your loved ones gives them a confidence boost to battle internal conflicts they are currently facing.6

Hugging can attenuate negative mood on days with interpersonal conflict.

6. Cuddling helps make your heart stronger 

A study conducted during the COVID-19 outbreak showed that 'touch deprivation' caused higher blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration because of the associated anxiety and fear of physical distancing.7

Touch starvation increases stress, depression and anxiety, triggering a cascade of negative physiological effects.

One of the benefits of cuddling your partner is reducing these fears and showing them you're there to support them.

7. It makes you less susceptible to common illnesses 

When you get a hug from a friend or special someone, your body releases the feel-good or love hormones called endorphins.

Physical contact minimizes the risk of catching common illnesses like colds.8

Greater social support and frequent hugs protect people from increased susceptibility to infection.

When you have a solid immune system, your body is more likely to fight off stress and anxiety, knowing you've got people to help you.

Showing affection or affirmation through cuddling keeps the motivation going!  

8. It helps you sleep better 

Hugging or cuddling enables you to sleep better, too! 

One study showed that physical touch (such as massaging and cuddling) lowers neurotransmitter substance P, a hormone associated with pain.

Patients who received 30-minute massages twice a week for five weeks showed decreased pain and better sleep quality.9

Physical touch helps you sleep better.

Best Cuddling Positions (how to do it and what they mean)

1. Spooning 

Cuddling position: spooning.

Spooning is a position that allows you to get cozy and comfortable with your partner.

No matter what size they are, the big or little spoon choice doesn't matter as long as one person plays each role comfortably. 

  • Have your partner lie with you on both sides while facing the same direction. 
  • The 'big spoon' belly portion should press the back of the 'little spoon.' 
  • 'Big spoon' wraps their arms around 'little spoon.'

2. Hold hands

Cuddling position 2: holding hands.

Holding hands is a symbol of love and trust.

When you're holding your lover's hand in public, it can be hard not to feel good and enjoy the moment.

This physical touch is close enough for comfort but gives your partner enough space. 

  • Sit or stand side by side.
  • Lean your head to their shoulder.
  • Slip your hand into theirs.

3. Lotus hug

Cuddling position 3: the lotus hug.

Also considered an 'extreme' hug, this is an intimate cuddling position you could give your partner.

Full body contact gives a calming effect to soothe away stress and anxiety.

So, how to cuddle your partner after having a rough day at work?

Take some time for a lotus hug from the person that matters most! 

  • Sitting upright, one partner sits cross-legged. 
  • Then, the other one sits on their partner's lap while facing them and wrapping their legs around the other partner's body. 
  • Both partners embrace each other.

4. Sit closely face to face

Cuddling position 4: sitting closely face to face.

Being close to your partner while sitting face-to-face creates a sense of stability and connection.

It can be comforting and reassuring but still allows some space for individuality!

  • Sit closely together.
  • You can put your hand on your partner's leg or try placing your arm around their shoulders. 
  • Put your head on their shoulder while staring into their eyes.

5. Double Knot

Cuddling position 5: the double knot.

While cuddling in the double knot position, you can experience an intense sense of togetherness and reap the emotional benefits of your relationship.

When you're looking for ways to cuddle after sex, this is a good validation you could give your partner!

  • With their backs against the headboard, one partner sits up on the bed. 
  • The other partner comes in and sits in between their partner's legs with their back against their stomach.
  • The partner seated in an upright position then wraps their legs around their partner.

6. Bum Cuddle

Cuddling position 6: the bum cuddle.

Considered the 'butt cheek-to-cheek,' this cheeky cuddling is adorable.

It's playful but gives you the emotional support you need from your partner.

Whether you're having some misunderstanding or just looking to pass away the time until sleep visits you both, the bum cuddle is a sweet gesture you could give your partner in letting them know you care.  

  • Both partners are facing the opposite direction while in a side-lying position. 

  • Butt cheeks and backs should be touching each other. 

  • You can bend both knees or have one leg stretched as the other playfully touches your partner's foot. 

7. Turtle Cuddle

Cuddling position 7: the turtle cuddle.

The turtle cuddling position lets your partner feel safe and protected.

This unconventional cuddle-hugging embrace may be what your doctor will recommend if you're looking for extra love from your special someone! 

  • Facedown, one partner lies with arms curled towards the body while the legs are tucked underneath (just as you would visualize a turtle would do). 
  • The other partner then kneels and hugs them from the back with folded torso and arms wrapped around the other in a warm embrace.

8. Honeymoon Hug

Cuddling position 8: the honeymoon hug.

How to cuddle when you can't get enough of each other?

This sweet hug-cradle combination is the perfect cuddle you could give your partner when you don't feel like getting out of bed yet.

The honeymoon hug energizes the body with bodies touching each other while boosting your love tank to the brim. 

  • Lying on your sides while facing each other, entangle your limbs. 
  • You can playfully kiss or touch each others' faces, hands, or arms while reassuring them you are there for them.

9. Seated Hug

Cuddling position 9: the seated hug.

Hugs are a great way to show your love, even when seated!

This hug-cradle hybrid can be more comfortable and sustainable, particularly if you and your partner have blatant height differences.

Plus, the seated position allows for deeper breathing, making it easier on the back. 

  • You and your partner should sit side by side. 
  • You could look at each other while the side of your stomach, hips, and thighs touch each other. 
  • One partner could wrap their arms around the other while the other hand holds the other partner's hand.

10. Thigh Cuddle

Cuddling position 10: the thigh cuddle.

Like the bum cuddle, the thigh cuddle is another comfortable and playful hug.

In this position, sleep is a priority, but you still want to feel close to your partner. 

  • Lie in your most comfortable position. 
  • Place one leg on top of your partner's leg as you both fall deep into sleep. 
  • It might become uncomfortable after a while, so adjust accordingly.

11. The Half-Spooning

Cuddling position 11: the half-spooning.

What are the benefits of cuddling with the half-spoon position?

Lying in your partner's arm with their chest over yours is an intimate position.

You feel cherished and loved, which can help foster feelings of adoration and emotional support for you both sharing this sweet moment! 

  • As one partner lies openly on their back, the other partner lies on their side facing the other. 
  • The partner in the side-lying position places their head on the other partner's shoulder or in the crook of their arm.

12. The Bottom Pillow

Cuddling position 12: the bottom pillow.

Feel like lazying around on a summer afternoon with your partner?

This bum pillow cuddle is a great way to make each other comfortable and relaxed.

Because cuddling doesn't have to involve always hugging each other, this position is a fun way to let your partner know you're comfortable being around them. 

  • One partner lies on their stomach with half of their body upright. 
  • The other partner lies on their bottom comfortably.

13. Head-to-chest cuddling

Cuddling position 13: the head-to-chest.

As you rest your head on your partner's chest and feel the warmth of their body next to yours.

This position reminds us of what matters most: our humanity.

The head-to-chest cuddling position is a favorite for couples who want to be close and feel their partner's heartbeat on a windy afternoon.

How to cuddle this sweet position? A romantic flick should come to mind! 

  • Lie down next to each other in your most comfortable positions. 
  • One partner's head rests on the other partner's chest.
  • The partner lying flat on their back, places their arm around the other in a warm embrace.

14. Lap pillow

Cuddling position 14: the lap pillow.

You've seen this in countless romantic movie scenes.

The lap pillow is a romantic way of showing adoration for your special someone, and it's also a playful gesture both parents and kids can give to each other when you're out for a picnic displaying trust and openness. 

  • One person sits upright while the other lies on their back with their head resting on the other person's lap. 
  • Snatching a kiss (or two!) is highly advised for lovers. 
  • It's an excellent position for parents with kids to talk about anything and everything comfortably. Playful cheek smooches and tickling should be on the agenda!

15. The arm draper

Cuddling position 15: the arm draper.

The arm draper is a perfect cuddling position before sleep hits your eyes if you're feeling romantic.

It's also made for a pre-tense before a hot yoga session!

  • On a side-lying position, both partners face each other.
  • One partner tucks his arm while the other partner places their head on the folded arm.
  • The free arm of both partners gives the other a gentle embrace.

16 Tips for Cuddling

Some people may be more into cuddling than others.

For example:

New couples enjoy the warmth and comfort of snuggling up next to their partner while watching TV at home on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But some days, you don't know how to cuddle when your partner comes home with some bad news.

Cuddling is a pretty versatile activity.

This art form will also work wonders after some matrimonial polka - or looking for a romantic position before getting it on.

So, here are some of my best tips to help make the most of your cuddling sessions!

1. Just wing it

So you're socially awkward and may not know how to get into the mood of this.

You will be missing out on the benefits of cuddling because of overthinking. 

The best way to cuddle is simply by going with your gut.

If you feel like pulling them close or holding their hand gently but firmly in yours—do so!

It's essential for the other person involved (they'll appreciate it!) and for yourself.

It will help if you let go of inhibitions and trust your instinct.

Put your arm around their shoulders and go for it. If they like it, they will make it obvious. 

Related: How to Show Appreciation to Your Partner - 23 Practical Tips

2. Don't make it complicated

We all want our relationships to be intimate and unique.

There's nothing wrong with just putting your arm around this person while watching TV or cuddling up on the couch together for some movie time. 

When you're looking for different ways to cuddle in every possible situation, you'll be missing out on the reason for this.

Being there for your special someone is what matters most.

3. Go with the flow

The best way to make sure that cuddling doesn't feel forced is by adjusting the position of your body with theirs.

If they want more than just an arm around their shoulder, sit closer so there's no distance between you.

There's no math to doing it right, but you will feel what cuddling they want at that moment from your partner.

4. Share the same sheets

Sharing a sofa with someone you like may feel awkward and stiff at first.

It is even more true if you're sitting close together and watching something boring. 

Try grabbing one of those heavy blankets from behind your head to break the ice (and don't even think of snoring!).

You can even use it as an excuse to get closer. Be creative!

5. Small details matter

It's always good to show your partner that you care about them.

Play with their hair, rub their back or leg, and give gentle strokes when you are cozying next to each other on the couch.

You will know how to cuddle then when the right time comes. 

6. Make them feel comfortable

This is for new couples who are still learning new things from their partners.

Your partner may not be as affectionate and may feel rigid when you're alone watching a movie on the couch. 

One of the many benefits of cuddling is that it could easily make your partner comfortable to be themselves.

You can ask them if they're comfortable, put your arm around their shoulders, and give them a gentle hug.

This should instantly melt away apprehensions they may have about the date! 

7. Put on a lovely smelling perfume

There's no point in learning (and mastering!) how to cuddle when you have B.O. 

The most important thing to remember is that you will be close enough to smell one another, so don't forget the deodorant and a lovely-smelling perfume.

Make this moment a sweet-smelling one! 

8. Have fun

Don't make this an intensely emotional activity if you want to cuddle.

You can tickle or goof around until you naturally fall into a comfortable position for both of you.

9. It doesn't need to turn into a make-out session

Although this could be the case, cuddling could also mean being there for your partner because you enjoy their presence. 

If you are nervous about cuddling leading to sex, don't assume that is the end goal.

Cuddly times can be all about being close with your partner and feeling the love - no strings attached!

Related: Sexless Marriage Advice: 10 Tips to Fix a Sexless Relationship

10. Be like butter

Some people are not naturally born smooth.

And if you're someone thriving on awkwardness, you can take baby steps towards being 'smooth like butter.' 

You can try cuddling your way by caressing their ears.

You can also compliment how they look if they get a new haircut. Just keep it honest and don't overdo it.

11. Don't cuddle when you have a cold

For obvious reasons.

If you have a cold or allergy coming, cuddling may not give you the 'oxytocin boost' from the activity, and it may bother and put your partner at risk of catching a cold.

But it doesn't mean you're not entitled to one (as long as your partner permits it!). 

12. Some cuddle sessions don't last that long

Romantic flicks have a way of exaggerating this.

If your partner's arm is tucked underneath your head, chances are it will get painful on their end.

Check in and ask if they are still comfortable.

Go for what's natural, and stop thinking about cuddling in a specific position for hours. 

13. Pets make lovely cuddle buddies too

Cuddle sessions are also fun with your furry friend by your side.

Your dog or cat may even appreciate this activity and make your bond more special! 

14. Let your partner lead

Sometimes, you will not always be leading the cuddling sessions.

Do what feels natural. Some days you need to get your partner to lead.

They may take your hand or wrap their arm around your waist as you sit on the porch, feeling comfortable around your presence.

It's fun to switch every once in a while. 

15. Just one pillow can do the job

The benefits of cuddling don't just run on having your arms, legs, hips, thighs, or bums touching each other's skin.

Let's be honest:

Some cuddling positions can get uncomfortable after the nth hour. 

As sweet and loving as it can sometimes be, not all cuddling sessions end up like the ones we see in rom-com flicks.

Adding a pillow to the mix solves that problem!

16. Add some snacks

Cultivate your budding relationship with popcorn on the one hand and ice cream on the other.

Why not share the same snacks and cuddle as you watch a movie together?

Food could even bring you closer together.

Read Next: Best Marriage Advice: 100+ Tips for a Happy Marriage from Experts

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About the author 


Sebastian loves analyzing statistics about anything that has to do with the dynamics in a love relationship. He enjoys researching why people behave the way they do (and drinks horrendous amounts of coffee when he's in the zone).

He uses his knowledge to help couples in troubled relationships reconnect with their partners and create a perfectly imperfect relationship.

Dowload my free 14 mistakes ebook 

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