The Emotion of Cuddling
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Health and Wellness

The Emotion of Cuddling

What is actually an emotion?

The Emotion of Cuddling

When I lay awake at night, I think of you. I think of your body wrapped around my body. Your arms and legs around me. Your sweet body touching the every essence of my body, making me feel safe and not afraid. While I am not exactly afraid of being alone at night, I tend to have a lot nightmares so your presence makes those nightmares go away a lot quicker. I miss the feeling of your warm arms making my body feel warm again. They are like little toasters on my body allowing me to feel comfortable to sleep. It is innocent. It is beautiful. They are cuddles not meant for sexual desire or pleasure. They are cuddles simply as a means of showing our love; our infinite amounts of love for one another.

There is an assumption that cuddling is correlated with sex.

But according to Sarah Hunter Murray Ph.D., cuddling doesn't have to lead to sex. While cuddling is highly important to one's sexual experiences, and it does make sexual experiences a whole lot better, you should be able to cuddle, kiss, and make love to your partner as if they were words that stood on their own for deeper meaning.

As we are almost 3000 miles away on two separate ends of the continent...

I think of you the moment I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes I hold onto my stuffed animal at night wishing that when I would wake up in the morning, I would have you in my arms instead. I dream of the moments were share together. I hope these moments could be our reality.

Sometimes when I think of our cuddles, I cry wishing you were there. But other times I laugh or smile and think of the beautiful moments we share when we can lie together awake at night, with your head pressed against mine ever so gently. I look forward to the moments where we can lie in bed together and say nothing to each other, but think everything wonderful of each other. With that, can we say cuddling is an emotion on its own?

If cuddling were its own emotion, it can be associated with the touch from another.


In research conducted by Anders, Edelstein, Wade and Samples-Steele (2013), cuddling can be perceived with nurturance and sexual intimacy. From a questionnaire that included both qualitative and quantitative data, 514 participants reported saying that the nurturance aspects of cuddling were more important to them, but participants noticed an overlap between cuddling and sexual intimacy. Moreover, if cuddling were an emotion it would include the couple's interpretation of cuddling.

Emotions are in the moment

According to Lisa Feldman Barrett (2017), emotions are constructed in the moment rather than held universally. Debunking traditional psychological research on emotions, the emotions we develop do not stem from a single region of the brain. Scientific testing such as fMRIs show that various areas of the brain light up when an emotion such as fear are activated. Furthermore, if emotions are constructed in the moment and they are not universal, can we argue that there is room to develop new emotions such as cuddling. If we can argue that cuddling is associated with happiness and feelings of security, we make it a new emotion all together.

Consider words in other languages

In other languages, Barrett addresses how there are words like liget: a powerful energy running through and out of the body. Liget has no direct translation in English. The word doesn't have any direct meaning in English to mean happiness or sadness. It encompasses multiple variables. Similarly, cuddling encompasses multiple variables such as one's longing for their partner, happiness or safety when their partner is around.

On a further note, even though there is no previously conducted psychological research to demonstrate cuddling as an emotion, it is an interesting phenomenon to address. With that said, never forget to love your partner. Cuddle them and remind them of how much you love them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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