Apart from enjoying the warm embrace of someone you're into, cuddling after sex has its benefits. Mainly, your body releases the feel-good chemical oxytocin, often called "the cuddling hormone." But no matter how good it feels for some people, cuddling after sex isn't everyone's cup of tea. Maybe your partner isn't into the idea of pressing your hot, sticky, post-orgasm bodies together, and they just need time to cool down. Or perhaps cuddling feels a little too intimate, especially if you two are just friends with benefits. Your sexual partner could also have a completely different aversion to cuddling that you have no idea about.
Whatever the case may be, if you want to cuddle after sex and your partner never does, consider talking to them about it. Maybe you'll change their mind and find a compromise. Maybe you won't. But either way, unpacking why they seem to be uninterested in cuddling you after sex can help shed some light on what makes them tick, what your needs are as a duo, and how you can resolve issues in the bedroom together.
Here's what two sex and dating experts had to say about how to approach the post-coital cuddling conversation with everyone's needs and well-being in mind.
There May Be Physiological Reasons Your Partner Doesn't Want To Cuddle
According to Shan Boodram, a certified sexologist and ambassador for sex toy brand TENGA, there are a number of reasons why someone might not want to cuddle right after sex — one being the "post-coital blues," Boodram explains. Formally known as post-coital tristesse (PCT) or post-coital dysphoria (PCD), people who experience this condition often withdraw after sex or feel an intense comedown. Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, the resident sex and relationship expert for Astroglide, acknowledges that next to pre-existing sadness or trauma, your partner's physiological reaction to sex could be why they're feeling down. "Some folks feel sad after sex because of the hormonal and chemical high followed by such an intense release," O'Reilly tells Elite Daily. "It can feel as though you’ve just come down from a high."
Some people may crave physical affection if they're feeling down after sex, and some people simply may not. "Instead of cuddling they may prefer to do something else to boost their mood like eat, watch something, be alone for a bit, or sleep," Boodram tells Elite Daily.
Irene Fehr, a sex and intimacy coach, also cites post-orgasm tiredness as a reason why cuddling might not be on the menu for your partner. "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," Fehr tells Elite Daily. "They may not want to cuddle or they may not be up for it physically if their desire to sleep is strong." She also adds that cuddling might feel uncomfortable for some people because their bodies become hyper-sensitive after sex.
They Might Also Be Worried About Being Vulnerable With You
Apart from physiological reasons, your partner may be worried about the level of vulnerability cuddling after sex may invite. "The social implications of cuddling are a form of deep intimacy. So, in order to keep their own distance, or to ensure you can keep yours, they opt out of touch outside of the sexual act itself," Boodram explains. Fehr agrees, saying, "When things slow down and you no longer have to do anything, cuddling after sex is a very tender, vulnerable activity — a time to put down your guard or performance, and face each other in the raw. It is intimate, and it can feel intimidating and scary for many people who might otherwise hide behind sexual performance or an emotional wall."
Talk It Out In A Safe, Light-Hearted Way
There could be a chance your partner might feel differently about post-coital cuddling if you explain why it's important to you, but you won't know until you talk about it.
When bringing this up to your partner, Fehr suggests you don't have this conversation during sex or in the bedroom. "Timing this conversation during or after sex puts your partner into a highly vulnerable position to have to answer not only while they're aroused or relaxed post-coitally, but also when they're extra open," she says. "In a way, it's a manipulative tactic because it traps them." Apart from not "trapping" your partner into this discussion, you also shouldn't have what Fehr calls a "fly-by conversation," meaning, one that takes place while you're doing something else.
Instead, Fehr says, "Find a time when you both feel relaxed, calm, and present with each other." Then ask them questions about what they prefer to do after sex and why, or about their boundaries and what would make them feel more comfortable. Ask them about their favorite parts of getting intimate and what defines good sex for them. Hopefully, your partner will ask you these questions back, Boodram says, which will allow you to express your needs, too.
If They Want To Understand Where You're Coming From, Work Together To Find Solutions
"Brainstorm to find a solution that works for both [partners], if both partners want to [...] learn to get over the hurdle. This piece is important," Fehr says. "Finding solutions only works if both partners want to find a solution."
One way to approach this problem-solving is to draw from what your partner has told you about why they don't like cuddling. If their reasons are physical, maybe there's a way you can make them feel more relaxed and comfortable while cuddling. If the reasons are related to emotions or intimacy, see if there's a way to make them feel safe or to slow things down. Fehr suggests trying out a short, non-sexual cuddling session as a trial run.
If They're Not Interested in Problem-Solving, Ask Yourself The Hard Questions
There's a chance that even after you express your desire to cuddle after sex, your partner still won't be interested. Even though this can be frustrating, their feelings are valid. "Ultimately, it's going to be very difficult for the person who needs post-coital cuddling to feel fully satisfied and complete with sex," Fehr says. So, you will probably have to ask yourself if not cuddling after sex is something you can go without. Likewise, your partner will have to ask themselves if they can fulfill your needs, or if you're asking too much.
Whatever the outcome of your conversation with your partner, approaching your talk with intimacy, patience, and understanding will be helpful. This could be a golden opportunity to reconnect as partners and really improve your sex life. Ad even if cuddling after sex seems like just a "small thing," remember: Even the "small" things are always worth a conversation.
Shan Boodram, certified sexologist, TENGA ambassador, and author of The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance and Getting What You Want
Irene Fehr, certified sex and intimacy coach
Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, a relationship expert and sexologist