Cuddling. Is It Sex?

To cuddle or not to cuddle.  That is the question.  If ever there was a boundary declaration amongst couples, this would be one.   How to read the signs?  Sex expert Miriam Baker is here to interpret the physical and emotional signs and limitations of cuddling as it relates to S.E.X.  

I had a very interesting conversation at a party this weekend about cuddling.

The debate was to cuddle or not, and is it related to sex?

Many patients bring this up in couples therapy.

The differences in perception are interesting.

Everyone has a history with cuddling from childhood on.

Cuddling may be for some just a form of affection and means to soothing.

For others it feels intrusive and suffocating.

What worked in childhood may not work in adulthood.

The idea of spooning or cuddling at bedtime may not be right for everyone.

Your personal style of cuddling may be the most important behavior to explain to your partner.

Holding hands or intertwining bodies can be on the spectrum of cuddling styles.

Science tells us that after sex the window for a cuddle may be short for some because of the refractory period.

This is not a very negotiable experience as personal boundaries related to ‘after sex’ are primitive.

Cuddling is a behavior separate from the sexual experience unless you use cuddling as a way to initiate sex.

Cuddling therefore, is not sex so be careful if it becomes a part of the prelude to sex to make sure there is agreement and dialogue.

If cuddling is primitive to you and you like it as a way to fall asleep you may be upset if your partner needs space instead.

This is not rejection or fear of closeness or about sex but rather, it is about personal space.

Making time for cuddling is an important experience in any relationship, but it’s all about timing.

Being cuddled during the playoffs may feel wrong for you.

The wish to cuddle your iPad on the couch after a horrible day does not mean you do not love your partner.

The take home here is about respecting boundaries in a relationship and working hard to not use unspoken messaging.

Be clear: how do you feel about and what are your cuddling needs?

Making time to cuddle like time for sex feels good if it is conflict free.




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