Our skin is the largest organ in our body and can serve as a way to receive, feel, and project intense emotions. Author J. Lionel Taylor states in his book, The Stages of Human Life, “The greatest sense in our body is our touch sense…we love and hate, are touchy and are touched, through the corpuscles of our skin.”
Verbal communication is not the only way to strengthen relationships, work through issues, or improve self-esteem. Haptics is the science of applying touch, and studies have shown that communication through touch has unique characteristics that make it an important part of our everyday encounters. Cuddling is one form of haptics that demonstrates the value of physical touch and its ability to contribute to and improve your personal and social life. Cuddling can benefit individual self-perception or enhance the chemistry between partners.
Cuddling & Bonding
Body Language and Nonverbal Communication Expert Patti Wood emphasizes the importance of touch in strengthening bonds. She explains that intimate touch causes the release of oxytocin, which is also known as the bonding hormone. This can facilitate trust and increases bonding characteristics such as comfort, self-disclosure, and rapport. The response that results from cuddling significantly deepens the bond between partners, and ultimately improves the relationship as a whole.
Cuddling & Self-Esteem
Cuddling can help increase self-esteem, which is essential in the development of identity, self-perception, and personal confidence. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. says that feeling wanted, cherished, and valued is a primary result of the internal response to cuddling. The sense of self-worth and self-esteem this causes is critical in personal development and a healthy self-identity in the future.
Cuddling & Stress/Anxiety
Cuddling helps lower stress and anxiety, because it causes a decrease in cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone with a correlation between quantity and stress level. Lowering the amount of secretion of cortisol allows the body to relax. Cuddling’s ability to reduce these levels can be extremely beneficial for managing stress and anxiety. Also, dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in your body in response to physical touch and affection. This can positively affect your mood and helps avoid and fight depression.
Cuddling & Your Body
Cuddling causes the body’s release of serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. Dopamine can improve blood flow while oxytocin’s ability to reduce stress can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and risk of heart disease. Cuddling can also affect the digestive system, because the high levels of the hormone serotonin in the digestive tract helps support healthy digestion.
Cuddling & Sex Life
Post-sex affection through touch, such as cuddling and caressing, has been shown to increase sexual satisfaction. This often makes partners feel more pleased with their sex-life and comfortable in their relationship. The following intimacy creates a sense of reward resulting in a greater desire to have sex again or more often. In particular, couples with children benefit from cuddling and additional affectionate touch after sex. Relationship satisfaction facilitated by physical intimacy is not necessarily limited to temporary short-term benefits. The power of physical affection can promote long-term advantages, increasing overall happiness in the relationship.
Now that you know why a little bit of cuddling can set you up for a healthier life all around, cozy up to a bottle of reBloom and guarantee yourself a night of great sleep.