5 Health Reasons for Touching and Cuddling Your Partner

Touching You, Touching Me

Touching You, Touching Me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Touch is healing.  Touch reminds us to pay attention to our body.  When partners or parents and children touch and cuddle in a loving and caring way, each one feels more relaxed, secure and content in the moment.  And that warm, cuddly feeling carries over into all other aspects of life.  Research also shows that cuddling is good for our health.  Read this article and reach out to touch those you love and care about.

5 Health Reasons to Make Time for Cuddling by Ysolt Usigan

“Next time your guy gets on your case about cuddle time—he says he’s too hot, needs his space, doesn’t feel like relaxing—present the evidence. Research suggests that there’s more to cuddling than meets the eye. Lovey-dovey’ness aside, the health benefits of cuddling will surely convince him to make time for it.

Reason 1: It Feels Good
Cuddling releases oxytocin, which is also known as the feel-good hormone. “It increases overall happiness,” says psychologist, physical therapist, and author of bestseller A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, Elizabeth Lombardo.

‘Cuddling, holding, and sexual play releases chemicals, like oxytocin, in the brain that create a sense of well-being and happiness,’ says Dr. Renee Horowitz, an ob-gyn who recently opened the Center for Sexual Wellness in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Cuddling can also release endorphins, which is the chemical released after a good workout or when you eat chocolate, Horowitz adds, which contributes to that great feeling.

Reason 2: It Makes You Feel Sexy
The most obvious benefit to cuddling is getting close to your partner in the physical sense. Cuddling can lead to fun sexy time or relaxing and loving time post sexual intercourse, but there’s also a chemical plus.

“There is also the release of dopamine, which is an excitatory hormone that increases sexual desire,” Horowitz says. Plus, studies show that sex is healthy for fitness and mental reasons, too. So it’s a win-win.

Reason 3: It Reduces Stress and Blood Pressure
Stress management coach and holistic therapist Catherine A. Connors reminds how physical contact with others can help to reduce stress. “Hugging, kissing, or more physical acts of touch increases oxytocin levels, which is a ‘bonding’ hormone—this chemical reaction can help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety,” Connors says.

Reason 4: It Bonds Women with Babies and Partners
According to Dr. Fran Walfish, celebrity doctor and author, cuddling is healthy for people because of the obvious factor of emotional attachment. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that is closely linked to childbirth and breastfeeding, and a recent study shows that it has a biological role in bonding between mother and baby,” she says. “The study, led by Lane Strathearn, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, shows that women raised with insecure attachment themselves are more likely to have difficulty forming secure attachments with their children (and partners).”

It’s healthy to want to be close. “Too little or too much is not good. Observe and explore your own personal comfort zone. You will be a better communicator with your partner on how much feels good and when it gets too close for comfort,” Walfish says. “Your goal is to find a balance between your comfort zone and needs along with your partner’s.

Reason 5: It Helps You Communicate Better
According to David Klow, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago who works with many couples on how to improve intimacy in their lives, reminds us of one great benefit of cuddling and non-erotic physical touch. Most couples in marital therapy complain about communication issues, Klow says. “Most people want to feel understood, and communication is the vehicle by which they transmit understanding and empathy. Non-verbal communication can be a very powerful way to say to your partner, ‘I get you,'” he says. “Cuddling is a way of saying, ‘I know how you feel.’ It allows us to feel known by our partner in ways that words can’t convey.”

Klow suggests thinking of cuddling as a form of communication that can help couples have a more rich relationship.”

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Reach out and touch someone you care about today.  Cuddle with your loved ones.  And watch your aches and pains lessen and your attitude improve.  Contact Dr. Erica for a body mind healing session.

16 thoughts on “5 Health Reasons for Touching and Cuddling Your Partner

  1. Now I know the scientific reason for the reason I like cuddles:-) It makes sense that feel good chemicals are released when you think that a surprise or unwanted touch often does the opposite by getting the adrenalin going.

    Interestingly it was my sons who wanted cuddles, and to sit close to mum, until they were older than their sister. I wonder if that is a general trend? I always encouraged them to ask for cuddles if they needed them. My son will still say to me – “I have run out of cuddles could you give me some please”.

    Just a squeeze of a hand or an arm around the shoulder can be so encouraging and supportive too.

    • Sue,

      Isn’t it a shame that our society makes it wrong for men to want to cuddle. We have this media image of “strong” “independent” even cold men. But that has been changing somewhat. Men do have a task to prove they are men while women have the luxury of not having to prove anything to the world. We, as women, have to develop our own inner strength to cope with relationships and life.


      Dr. Erica

  2. I have to work on this one! I must admit I am not a cuddler. The only thing I like to cuddle with is my dog. Go figure??

    I love my husband dearly and he is a cuddler, but I get all flabbergasted when I force myself to cuddle.

    Maybe it started from birth. You see, I wouldn’t eat anything as an infant. One day I was sleeping on a pillow and my mom picked me and the pillow up. I drank my formula and kept it down for the first time.

    From then on, I would only be fed if there was no human contact. So it must have started from birth. I guess it was some kind of tactile dysfunction.

    Believe me I try so hard to cuddle, but just get all tense. What do you think I should do?


    • Donna,

      I wish I lived nearby. The type of mind body therapy I do would really help you to connect your body tension with the emotional memories. Our body holds onto memories in the form of tension patterns. As those are assisted to let go even a little bit, our mind is freer to explore the deeper meanings.

      Aren’t we all fascinating? That is why I love what I do. My book: Love Me, Touch Me, Heal Me goes into much more detail about that. Parts are available on Kindle. Today it is free until midnight (not sure what time zone though). It’s called “Your Body Believes You.

  3. Dr.Erica,

    As you know I have two grown sons. They are married, one is a father. I love nothing better than to get big old bear hugs from them both. Now, it’s not like cuddling, but for me it’s a wonderful exchange of affection and a real testament to knowing who you are and where you came from.

    I hug people whenever I can, if permitted. I’m not the kind to give standoffish hugs. If you can’t handle a full body press coming from a sincerely humanistic place, then you might not want to hug me. LOL!



  4. Dr. Erica,
    this is a great article and much needed to get to understand more deeply how great and beneficial is Cuddling.

    I am very much into that but only with women in my life… except my ex wife haha 🙂

    As my sons were growing up, I remember them coming close to me when I was on the couch or a living room chair… they knew more than me what benefits cuddling had.. they always come close to me because I always cuddled back.. but did not know about the benefits I only felt them haha 🙂

    For certain I did not know any health benefits.. wow, now I know and it will be a shame if I do not do more haha 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing this much needed positive information for all of us to benefit and share with others as much as we possibly can with the people who know about and the one who does not.


    • Nick,

      Your sons were lucky that you cuddled them back. Some children have very little physical touch and the only touch they receive is painful punishment type of touch. Even just petting an animal can do wonders for your state of mind and physical health.


      Dr. Erica

  5. Where I live hugging is a part of the culture – everybody hugs everybody – and I love it. I remember once playing in a golf tournament on one of the Maui courses with a VIP client from Japan (Where hugging is most definitely NOT part of the culture!) and when we learned we’d won second prize in the tournament before I even thought I gave him a hug. I immediately realized my goof and apologized but he just grinned at me and hugged me back. I could never be with a man that resisted touching and hugging.

    • Marty,

      My first response is “Never say never.” But if you are a warm, hugging person then most probably you will not last with someone who is cool and distant or fearful of closeness. It must be really nice to surrounded by people who are naturally warm and hugging.


      Dr. Erica

  6. Love this Erica…touch is so important…being held, cuddled, hugged…lovely! If ever a reminder is needed you make it clear here, thanks for a wonderful informative post today!

    • Sarupa,

      When we think about loving relationships, even sexual intimacy, we rarely talk about the effect of touch. A gentle touch can soothe a person’s whole day of frustration, can lessen the sense of physical pain, can calm an anxious or panic stricken person. I have had that experience a few times that I held my hand on a person who was in a state of panic and I watched the person calm down slowly and return to normal.


      Dr. Erica

  7. Yes, I use to be one who would not like it period. I was never one who would even display affection outside. That has allot to do with my military raising. I also, felt smothered by it.

    I learn to regret the holding back emotions after about six years of our 19 year marriage. Yes, love it now and beg for more each day.

    Where was this priceless advice years ago?

    Dr. Erica love your articles giving us foundation information to grow with. You never let me down with good advice. You are needed by us all in every different relationship.

    For you bring a Dr. writing a blog and having interaction on each topic you choose to write about. This show a reflections of you being one who shares from experiences you endured and patience you help heal. That is as transparent as it gets. Well done!

    • Wow William,

      Thank you so much for your supportive comments. Just today on my mastermind call we were discussing the value of helping people to learn how to create wonderful interpersonal relationships, not just with their most intimate partners, but with friends, colleagues, neighbors – everyone they relate to in their daily lives.


      Dr. Erica

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