Next time your guy gets on your case about cuddle time—he says he’s too hot, needs his space, doesn’t feel like relaxing—present the evidence. Research suggests that there’s more to cuddling than meets the eye. Lovey-dovey’ness aside, the health benefits of cuddling will surely convince him to make time for it.
Reason 1: It Feels Good
Cuddling releases oxytocin, which is also known as the feel-good hormone. “It increases overall happiness,” says psychologist, physical therapist, and author of bestseller A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness Elizabeth Lombardo.
“Cuddling, holding, and sexual play releases chemicals, like oxytocin, in the brain that create a sense of well-being and happiness,” says Dr. Renee Horowitz, an ob-gyn who recently opened the Center for Sexual Wellness in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Cuddling can also release endorphins, which is the chemical released after a good workout or when you eat chocolate, Horowitz adds, which contributes to that great feeling.
Reason 2: It Makes You Feel Sexy
The most obvious benefit to cuddling is getting close to your partner in the physical sense. Cuddling can lead to fun sexy time or relaxing and loving time post sexual intercourse, but there’s also a chemical plus.
“There is also the release of dopamine, which is an excitatory hormone that increases sexual desire,” Horowitz says. Plus, studies show that sex is healthy for fitness and mental reasons, too. So it’s a win-win.
Reason 3: It Reduces Stress and Blood Pressure
Stress management coach and holistic therapist Catherine A. Connors reminds how physical contact with others can help to reduce stress. “Hugging, kissing, or more physical acts of touch increases oxytocin levels, which is a ‘bonding’ hormone—this chemical reaction can help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety,” Connors says.