Displaying affection to loved ones comes easy for most people, as individuals of all ages enjoy being close to those they care for. Whether you're teaching your children about how to receive appropriate affection from the right people or explaining the complexities of dating to your teen, it may be necessary to emphasize the differences between cuddling and spooning.
Who to Cuddle With
Cuddling is appropriate for most types of loving relationships, such as between a parent and child, between siblings or even a couple in a romantic relationship. Acts of cuddling can including hugging, or one person draping his arm around the other while the two are in a sitting position. Holding hands, rubbing a person's back or kissing while holding someone's face can be considered cuddling. While cuddling is an intimate act that shows love, it doesn't necessarily have to be private. For instance, a couple sitting next to each other and holding hands while watching a movie in the living room is appropriate for the children to see.
Who to Spoon With
While spooning can be nonsexual, it is an intimate act that's usually reserved for couples. However, some parents tend to spoon their young children to soothe them or help them get to sleep. When discussing different types of affection when your child is of dating age, it's important to stress that spooning can lead to other physical acts in the relationship. Spooning is when two people lie on their sides; the taller person usually lies behind the shorter individual. The two people's bodies are curled into the shape of a spoon, and the taller individual will often place his arm around the loved one in front of him. In this romantic position, the couple can feel each other's heartbeat. The position often leads to sexual intimacy, and men who engage in spooning with their partners usually have a high sex drive but experience difficulty in verbalizing their emotions, according to Dr. Audrey Nelson, author of the book "You Don't Say."
Benefits of Cuddling
Cuddling produces a hormone called oxytocin, which promotes a sense of closeness between the two people sharing affection. Oxytocin is also the same hormone that mothers release when breastfeeding their children. For this reason, it is important for parents to cuddle with their children, as the act reassures the child of her parents' love. Nonsexual cuddling is also essential for couples. According to a study conducted by the Berman Center for Women's Health in Chicago, couples who cuddle have more satisfying relationships.
Benefits of Spooning
Spooning benefits couples and also promotes oxytocin production and a sense of security. When couples feel secure and comfortable with one another, they are more likely to enjoy a more fulfilling sex life. Spooning also tends to appeal to women more. Women prefer the closeness of spooning after sex, while men release prolactin, a hormone that promotes sleep after intercourse. However, spooning can help to relieve stress for men, as cortisone, the stress hormone, is reduced in the body when couples are in the spooning position, according to Professor Stuart Brody, a sexual psychologist from the University of Paisley.
- "Cosmopolitan" magazine: What His Cuddling Body Language Reveals
- Female First: Sex Positions - Spooning
- "Men's Health" magazine: How Sex Can Save Your Life
- MSNBC; Relationship Survey Makes a Case for Cuddling; Jane Weaver; February 2006
- Primal Page; Cuddling and Holding As Stress Reducers and As Possible Stress Increasers; John Speyrer