Ah, relationships: They’re complicated little things. Everyone knows the key to maintaining any good relationship is healthy communication, but what role do all those things in your relationship that don’t revolve around talking — like cuddling — play? Turns out, your nighttime spooning sesh does have deeper meaning. If you’re curious what your cuddle position says about your relationship, then you should def check out this expert insight.
In general, body language can be a great way to learn more about the dynamics in relationships, regardless of whether or not they’re romantic. “Body language is an excellent indicator of what’s on people’s minds and the things they’re not saying,” Traci Brown, body language expert, previously told Elite Daily. When it comes to sleeping, body language should be taken with a grain of salt, considering you and your boo probs aren’t being intentional about where you place your bodies when you’re deep in REM. But where you position yourself in bed — and how you cuddle — may just indicate how happy you are with your SO. Here’s what your preferred cuddling positions — from spooning to butt-to-butt to totally entangled — may mean for your relationship satisfaction, according to the experts.
If You Sleep Without Touching But Facing Each Other
Sleeping without touching may indicate some tension between you and your SO, as lots of space between you during sleep usually translates to emotional distance during waking hours. However, that’s not always the case, especially if you two still face each other as you sleep. As psychologist and dating coach, Jennifer B. Rhodes, previously told Elite Daily, you shouldn't expect everyone to enjoy cuddling in general. According to her, people who are empaths, or are particularly sensitive to other people's energy, sometimes struggle with cuddling because they need more energetic space to themselves. "It's often misinterpreted as a lack of interest or affection, but it is not meant that way," Rhodes explains.
Respecting each other's boundaries and having clarity around how you express affection — physical or otherwise — can help create more intimacy for the relationship in the future. And if physical affection is important to you, there are ways to talk to your partner about wanting to cuddle more.
If You Cuddle Wrapped Up In & Facing Each Other
This one can get hot, sticky, and just plain uncomfortable (especially in the summer months), but it may be the position most indicative of a loving, mutual, can’t-get-enough-of-you partnership. Lying entangled in your partner’s arms can be a sign of true relationship satisfaction. “It means your lives are intertwined, that you function as a pair," Patti Wood, body language author and author of Success Signals, A Guide to Reading Body Language, tells Elite Daily. “You probably finish each other's sentences and take care of each other." Cute!
If You Sleep Back-To-Back With Only Your Butts Touching
Don’t worry — sleeping this way doesn’t mean you hate your lover. According to behavioral scientist and relationship coach Clarissa Silva, touching bottoms while you sleep is more intimate than you may think. “Butt-to-butt position seems like distance," Silva previously told Elite Daily, "but it actually reveals that you are highly committed to one another and that your bond is long-lasting. It can represent that you both are invested in one another while maintaining your independence."
If You Rest Your Head On Your Partner’s Chest
Lying side-by-side with your head resting on your SO’s chest (or vice versa) is usually a good indication that there’s a lot of trust in your partnership. "Lying head to chest is a display of dominance and submission in the same way it is a demonstration of trust, affection, and love," body language expert Tonya Reiman previously told Elite Daily. She explains that people will typically only rest their heads on the chests of those they trust. This position also allows your partner to wrap their arms around you, which in turn can make you feel extra-protected.
If You’re The Little Spoon
Wood calls spooning “vulnerable,” pointing out that it’s one of the most sexually tempting of the cuddle positions. She says if you’re the little spoon, the position is sexual but also says, “I trust you.” And if you spoon with a few inches of space between you, Wood said it means “I’ve got your back, you can count on me” — though it’s not as sexual as spooning closer.
If You’re The Big Spoon
"For those who like being the big spoon, it's possible you are motivated by the closeness and sexual tension that this position creates," relationship expert and certified counselor David Bennett previously told Elite Daily.
Ultimately, what matters most is that you and your partner sleep in a position you’re both comfortable in. And while sleeping close together can be a sign of intimacy, sleeping with space between you doesn’t have to mean your relationship isn’t strong or that you love each other less. As long as you’re communicating your love and appreciation for each other in clear ways during your waking hours, don’t worry too much about who spoons who and where to put your feet at night.
Jennifer B. Rhodes, psychologist and dating coach
Patti Wood, body language expert and author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma
Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and relationship coach
Tonya Reiman, body language expert
David Bennett, relationship expert and certified counselor
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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