In today´s hectic world, people often give up on intimacy and find no time to get physically close. However one of the best ways to stay connected with those you love is cuddling in all its forms: hugging, snuggling and kissing.
Power of Touch
Touch is the very first sense we develop when still in our mother´s womb, and also the last one to fade away when we get old. It is absolutely essential for our emotional and physical wellbeing, as it releases special hormones in our bodies that make us feel good, but inhibits stress hormones.
Wrapping your arms around your partner or favourite fourlegged friend and holding tight is an awesome way to relax and be intimate. It is simply a language of love. Surprisingly, men long to snuggle up more than women. There is no right or wrong way to hug, but these common positions may lead you to experience an epic cuddling session.
The spoon is the ultimate cuddling position. The ”big spoon” – often the larger or more dominant partner – wraps their arms tightly around you with their stomach resting against your back. On the other hand, if you want to feel warm and fuzzy but not claustrophobic, you may assume the ”half-spoon” position.
When sleeping is high on your agenda but you still want to stay connected, you and your partner may face opposite directions with your buttocks and lower backs touching – it is called the ”cheek to cheek”. On your both find a comfortable position to sleep and then you put one leg on top of your partner´s leg in ”the leg hug”.
In the ”honeymoon hug”, you and your partner face each other with your limbs entangled. You are so closely entwined that you can smell the morning breath. But it does not matter, as you can´t get enough of each other.
When you feel the need to be reassured, have your partner lie on their back and hold you with your head resting on their chest. It is called the ”sweetheart cradle”. You can also rest your head on your partner´s bum or lap and use it as a pillow – the latter position makes it easy to snatch a kiss or two.
In the ”arm drapper” position, you and your partner are face to face with your arms wrapped around each other. Great if you want to be romantic, but distracting if you want to sleep.
We Should Cuddle More
Cuddling feels good and is also beneficial to your health. It gives more sexual satisfaction and intimacy. It also releases oxytocin – the ”cuddle hormone” – and leaves you feeling loved and connected with your lover or friend. It boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure. When you are sick, it will help to relieve pain, and promote natural healing. Thanks to snuggling up, you can communicate emotions such as love, gratitude and sympathy.
Kissing is one of the most spontaneous and instinctive parts of human nature and can express a myriad of feelings. In the West, a greeting with a kiss, a hug and a handshake is a common sign of affection and camaraderie. A kiss of friendship, passion or a warm salutation can simply be a magical experience.
A hand kiss is often quite formal, with one person kissing the top of another´s hand. It might be a polite greeting ritual among strangers meeting for the first time, or a romantic interlude.
Air-kissing, often seen in old French movies, is a non-romantic, firendly gesture that involves pursing your lips and leaning in but without actually touching the other person´s cheek. It is especially popular among celebrieties. You may also give someone a peck (a simple, light kiss) on their cheek.
In the Eskimo kiss, two people rub their noses against each other in an intimate and affectionate way without touching their lips. It might be a romantic option for those who do not want risk their lips getting stuck together when it is icy outside.
The single-lip kiss is a seductive move involving kissing the person´s bottom lip while they kiss your top lip (or vice-versa). This kiss is a playful tease – a promise of more to come. If you add to this some tongue action, you will end up with a French open-mouth kiss. It is definitely erotic and private, so best kept for the bedroom. Another kiss with the tongue is the lizard, when you stick your tongue in and out of your partner´s mouth at a quick pace. It is for lovers that are hot and heavily into each other.
The bite kiss consists of subtle and playful bites and nibbles on the nose, cheeks, chin and eventually a kiss planted on the partner´s neck. It is deeply sensual and impulsive and reserved for lovers. A variation of it – the vampire kiss – is a deep and passionate kiss on the neck that includes sucking and a bit of biting.
Many parts of the body, such as the forehead, earlobes, chest, nipples, stomach, torso, and feet are also worth kissing, licking and sucking. But remember, what feels good to one person might not feel so great to another, so stay attuned to your partner´s body language.
Now let´s turn to the more curious kisses, like the Spiderman one, featuring Spidey hanging upside down and his sweetheart standing right side up. It is less risky when done horisontally on the couch. But perhaps, the most peculiar one is the socialist fraternal kiss – a special form of greeting between the male communist leaders. It featured a tight squeeze with a series of three kisses on alternate cheeks or even on the mouth.
Kissing Protocol Around the World
Have you ever wondered how to kiss people in different countries? Knowing the international kissing etiquette is very important, as some countries are very demonstrative while others are not. Kissing in the West can be a greeting, a sign of appreciation or acknowledgment of another person. However, in China, India, Thailand and the Middle East, kissing is considered as a sexual expression and is socially unacceptable.
There are many kissing traditions, such as kissing under mistletoe, a plant believed to bring love into the world, during Christmas. The wedding kiss between the bride and groom at the end of the wedding ceremony symbolises the union of their souls. In line with the kissing bench tradition, two people who kiss on a particular bench on a university campus will end up marrying each other. In Scotland, you kiss everyone present in the room when the clock strikes twelve on New Year´s Eve.
Kissing the Blarney stone in the Castle of Blarney is a famous Irish custom. It is believed that anyone who kisses the stone will be given the ”gift of the gab”. Devout Orthodox Christians kiss icons – religious images of Jesus and Saints – to show reverence and ask for God´s forgiveness, while Roman Catholics kneel before the Pope and kiss his gold ring and hand as a sign of respect.
What Are You Waiting for?
So, what are you waitning for? Hug, snuggle, kiss and caress every chance you get. It is good for your body and soul. Unfortunately, you might have to shelve all this smooching for a while because of the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, when times are bad, what can be better than staying really close to your loved ones.
Strange Facts About Kissing
- What keeps babies, toddlers and young children happy and helps them develop faster is being smothered with kisses and hugs by their parents.
- When you kiss someone, you heart beats faster, more oxygen reaches your brain and your pupils dilate.
- Kissing for one minute burns 26 calories. So, go ahead and enjoy the chocolate cake, but make up for it later with a kissing session with your partner.
- The average person spends two weeks of their life kissing.
- Your lips are 100 times more sensitive than the tips of your fingers.
Short Guide to Kissing and Cuddling by Beata Rostworowska, English Matters 83/2020.