To some, sex is often viewed as the enthralling, earth-shattering, perspective-altering form of passion worth experiencing as much as humanly possible. Cuddling, however, can subsequently be seen as the boring consolation prize when sex isn’t on the menu. But, what if we were to tell you that cuddling should be looked at as more than just sex’s boring cousin?
In Love U., a new web series by Mashable, Dr. Roshni Raj has analyzed the positive impact cuddling and touching can have on our health and intimate relationships.
“When it comes to cuddling, it is all about the ‘Big O.’ And by ‘O,’ I mean Oxytocin,” explained Dr. Roshni Raj. “Oxytocin is a very positive neurotransmitter that’s released when we’re physically close to someone – when we touch, hug, have sex and yes, have an orgasm. Oxytocin leads to increased feelings of wellbeing, trust and compassion, while decreasing fear and anxiety.”
Dr. Raj went on to explain that Oxytocin levels are at their highest when you first start dating someone. If those levels remain high, there’s a better chance of that relationship lasting longer.
Another benefit of Oxytocin, is that it has the ability to reduce a person’s level of the stress hormone, Cortisol. Thus, when this happens, individuals will experience better blood pressure and less anxiety.
However, the power of cuddling and touching goes way beyond just keeping a relationship in fine form. When it comes to family, Dr. Raj noted when premature twins are placed close together in an incubator, the pair usually become more at ease. What’s more, their heart rates, blood pressure and breathing rates have been known to improve.
“This is probably Oxytocin at work,” said Dr. Raj, who added that studies have shown children are more at ease when getting a needle, if they’re holding the hand of a parent.
“At the end of the day, we all need to be touched,” concluded Dr. Raj. “It’s especially crucial for the health of a relationship. So, make sure you take time to cuddle. And, next time you see someone offering free hugs, take one.”
Free hugs?! We’ll take some!