Let's Cut To The Chase: Is Cuddling Cheating Or Is It Harmless?

by Gigi Engle

Outside of my fam, I’m affectionate with about three people on this earth because I literally hate everyone else.

Yet, when I do like you, I want to basically smother you in my love. Therefore, I cuddle my friends pretty indiscriminately.

As you can probably guess, I have many male friends. Gay males, mostly, because why the f*ck would you hang out with anyone else?

Of course, there is some room for diversity. I do count amongst the small group of people I can stand a straggling, cynical lesbian and a token straight male friend.

The lesbian is impossibly gorgeous, and the straight guy is little, Jewish and an incredibly stereotypical New Yorker. You know who you are, people. Everyone else, I hate you. JK. But not.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand: cuddling.

I’ve never considered cuddling to be “cheating.” I just cuddle everyone. It’s so comforting and nice to be held by someone. Cuddling, and how you define it, is pretty dependent on how you feel about it, isn’t it?

For me, there are never emotional feelings involved with my little love muffins. It isn’t the same as when I’m with my boyfriend. I just love to cuddle.

It never actually occurred to me that there were real FEELINGS and EMOTIONS involved in cuddling in certain situations.

In our writers’ meeting, I begged the question: Is cuddling cheating? The question that I was having so much trouble answering turned into a 30-minute discussion.

I went into this thinking cuddling wasn’t really cheating. I mean it’s just cuddling! There isn’t any penetration involved. How could that be considered being unfaithful?

But then I got to thinking. Cuddling really could be considered emotionally cheating if it’s between a straight male and me.

I mean, for me, I don’t have anything but platonic love for the friends I cuddle, but that really isn’t the case for everyone.

In fact, cuddling actually increases happiness. It releases the neurochemical oxytocin, which can increase feelings of relaxation and calmness.

You know when else your brain releases oxytocin? After you orgasm. Hmmmm…

So, the chemicals your brain releases both during a cuddle sesh and a sexual encounter are completely identical. Your brain can’t really tell the difference between cuddling and sexual satisfaction.

This is something to consider.

When I asked my boyfriend his thoughts on the matter of snuggles, he said, “I think it would be okay if you cuddled someone if you told me beforehand.”

Under what circumstances would I be in a position to tell him beforehand, I wondered?

“Like if you said: ‘Mike, I know you’re really busy on Tuesday nights, so I’m going to get some cuddling elsewhere.’ It would be all right, maybe. If you didn’t tell me, that would be dishonest,” he stated earnestly.

Which brought me to another idea. Under what circumstances does cuddling begin?

You’d obviously be alone, maybe watching a movie. This means you’re alone with another person who is not your boyfriend, probably in the dark, snuggling. This whole situation sounds a little bit odd to me.

Why am I alone, snuggling with a guy who is not my boyfriend? If you’re in a position to snuggle, you’re in a position to f*ck. That kind of changes things.

Plus, in many cases, you’re showing someone physical affection and emotional love. And that love might not always be so platonic. Hey, we all have hormones.

When I asked one of my friends about it, she said she would consider emotional cheating to be worse than physical cheating:

“If you’re horny, you f*ck someone. Okay maybe it was a one-time thing. I can get over that. That is a physical mistake. But if you’re emotionally cheating on someone, you’ve basically already checked out of the relationship, which is much, much worse.”

Of course, there are exceptions to cuddling being emotionally cheating. If a male friend’s grandmother just died, and you decide to snuggle him as a means to comfort him, that really isn’t cheating.

Sometimes, people need to be comforted. You’re being a good friend. That isn’t dishonest.

It’s clearly a very confusing situation, this whole cuddling business. So, I thought further about this conundrum.

I had to self-reflect a little bit, which always gives me anxiety, but I did it for you, my lovely readers.

So, I asked myself the question that needed to be asked: How would I feel if my boo were to cuddle another girl?

I immediately felt shivers up my spine. I. Would. Not. Be. Chill. With. That.

If my boyfriend were to snuggle another girl, I would be f*cking furious. That, to me, would be cheating. It was so interesting to me to understand this because it really altered my view on the whole subject.

If I would consider my boyfriend to be unfaithful if he were to cuddle another girl, how could it be unreasonable for him to get pissed if I were to cuddle another guy? I mean, just because I know there weren’t any emotional feelings involved doesn’t mean he knows that.

I guess that is what it really comes down to. If you’re about to engage in any form of affection with someone other than your SO, ask yourself this: How would I feel if my SO was about to do this exact same thing?

If your answer is you wouldn’t like it, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

So, when it comes to cuddling, put yourself in your partner’s shoes. You know you wouldn’t like that sh*t. So, don’t do it.

When it comes down to it, unless you’re cuddling with your gay husband, your best GF or to comfort someone after a tragedy, cuddling is actually cheating. Yikes.