Sex
Cuddling after sex means you respect each other.

4 Things Post-Sex Cuddling Means About Your Feelings For Each Other

Plus why you shouldn't worry if you don't cuddle much.

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Cuddling with a hookup can sometimes feel like a bad idea. If this is someone you’re casually seeing or hoping to keep at an emotional distance, you might be hesitant to do it. But what does cuddling after sex mean, really? Does it mean your relationship with this person is emotionally intimate and maybe even a little codependent? Cuddling after sex means more time spent together, more physical contact, more pillow talk, and (potentially) more emotional involvement or even commitment. Cuddling is personal. It's no wonder most people argue that cuddling with someone other than your partner is a form of cheating.

But regardless of anyone who is against cuddling, it can be a great thing. It’s often best reserved for relationships that are more clearly defined than a casual hookup or ones that seem like they're heading in that direction. But if you and your casual hookup are DTC (down to cuddle) after sex, that’s fine, too! It’s your sex life, and you make the rules.

Frankly, there are plenty of reasons to cuddle with someone, particularly if you battle with depression or anxiety. Cuddling triggers two chemical reactions in your body that may improve your mood and strengthen your interpersonal relationships. The first is your brain's release of oxytocin — the feel-good hormone, which enhances your empathetic behaviors — and dopamine — the pleasure hormone. The second is the consequent reduction of cortisol — the stress hormone. Basically, cuddling makes you happier, if only temporarily, which is reason enough to get up close and personal. And as for what cuddling means for guys and girls, rest assured that it’s pretty much the same for anyone. We all have these chemicals in our brains.

According to body language expert Yana German, cuddling is good for your relationship, too. Here's what it means if you and your partner cuddle regularly after sex and how.

You Trust Each Other.

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The level of trust you share with your partner has a lot to do with your go-to cuddle position, since some are more vulnerable than others. German says, for example, that spooning is one of the most intimate cuddle positions you can assume. Regardless of whether you're the big spoon or the little spoon, the implication is that both you and your partner feel safe and protected in each other's arms. You are there for each other no matter what.

You Respect Each Other.

Sure, spooning and forking go great together, but that's not the only way to cuddle. According to German, even couples who maintain a few inches between themselves find their own ways to cuddle after sex. She tells Elite Daily, "If you are laying next to each [other], and you're playing footsies, it shows that both of you like to have your own space, but you still want the other person to know you're there for them in your own way."

You Are Comfortable Around Each Other.

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Do you hesitate to cuddle with just anyone? German explains exactly why this might make you feel uneasy. If a couple enjoys cuddling after sex, she says, "they are both very comfortable in each other's presence." You and your partner feel completely at ease lying side by side or face to face. You have nothing to hide (physically or emotionally), and you are unbothered by the lack of personal space either of these positions offers. In fact, you're only thinking of ways to bring them closer to you. Cue pretzel time.

You Are A Happy Couple.

Happy couples will find themselves entangled in each other's arms and legs without complaint. German says it is evident here that "both people love spending time together and enjoy being present in the moment." The truth is, cuddling — however you choose to do it — is integral to the success of your relationship. German explains, "Couples who cuddle after sex tend to enjoy the benefits of physical bonding" that go beyond sexual intimacy.

If your partner doesn’t always want to cuddle after sex, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your relationship. "Sex that is followed by orgasm — especially a strong, whole-body orgasm — can knock a person out and induce a strong desire to sleep right after the climax," sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr previously told Elite Daily. "They may not want to cuddle, or they may not be up for it physically if their desire to sleep is strong."

If you’d like this pattern to change, talk to your SO or casual fling! "Find a time when you both feel relaxed, calm, and present with each other,” Fehr suggested. Ask them what they enjoy about having sex with you, and mention that you’d love to cuddle afterward. "Brainstorm to find a solution that works for both [partners], if both partners want to [...] learn to get over the hurdle,” she said. If the other person isn’t into it (and if this is a deal-breaker for you), it might be time to find someone else who is down for more intimate post-sex activities.

Unlike sex, which can be casual and impulsive, cuddling is more intentional and thoughtful (although sex can definitely be intentional, too). Cuddling after sex is a good indication of an unspoken, emotional connection between two people. If you find yourselves both clinging to opposite sides of the bed post-tumble, it's obvious you're heading in different directions. But if you’re spooning for an hour after you’re finished, you’ve got a solid bond.

Expert:

Yana German, body language expert