What Does Cuddling After Sex Mean? It Depends On How You Do It, Experts Say

Am I the only person who thinks that cuddling with a hookup is the absolute worst? I doubt it. I mean, what does cuddling after sex mean really? For me, it means that my relationship with this person is emotionally intimate and maybe even a little codependent. Cuddling after sex means more. More time spent together. More physical contact. More pillow talk. More commitment. It's no wonder most people argue that cuddling with someone other than your partner is cheating.

It's not that I'm against cuddling. I just think it should be reserved for relationships that are more clearly defined than a casual hookup or ones that seem like they're heading in that direction.

Frankly, there are other 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.

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.


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, 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 be intimate after sex. She tells Elite Daily, "If you are laying next to each 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.


Remember when I said I wouldn't cuddle with just anyone? German explained exactly why this made me 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.

Unlike sex, which can be casual and impulsive, cuddling is more intentional and thoughtful. It's 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.