Physical closeness is generally considered to be a requirement for romance, but not everyone has the same desires when it comes to cuddling. Some people like to cuddle a lot, others only a little, and some prefer almost no snuggle time whatsoever. Experts continue to explore some of the most likely reasons for these differences. What they've discovered can help you find compatibility and happiness in relation to your own cuddling preferences.
Aversion to cuddling can be linked to our hormones. Both men and women produce the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, neurochemicals believed by scientists to affect our desire to cuddle. High levels of oxytocin are more likely to make you want to cuddle, while high levels of prolactin will make you more prone to shy away from physical contact. Oxytocin and prolactin levels fluxuate based on relationships and situations and may occur more readily in some individuals than in others.
Gender and Relationship
For some people, liking or disliking cuddling may be dependent on the depth of their emotional connection with someone. A 2011 study conducted by the Kinsey Institute found that cuddling and general physical touch are an important part of happiness in a long-term relationship. The study indicates, however, that cuddling is more likely to be required for long-term happiness in men than in women.
Some people may be averse to cuddling, but only in non-sexual situations or in situations where there may be confusion about whether or not sex or romance is at play. If someone considers cuddling to be an activity associated with sex or reserved for those who are romantically involved, he will likely find it awkward and uncomfortable to engage in cuddling in any other context. These types of feelings are related to upbringing and experiences and whether or not a person has been exposed to the practice of platonic cuddling.
For some people, not enjoying cuddling may be part of a bigger problem of being generally averse to all physical contact and intimate touch. A condition known as sensory defensiveness can make certain types of sensations, such as physical contact with others, intensely uncomfortable. Touch aversion can also be a result of sexual trauma or child abuse, though it is not a universal reaction. Therapy can provide relief in some cases of touch aversion.
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Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and thecvstore.net. Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.
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