Love, Self

To Cuddle Or Not To Cuddle?

couple cuddling

After a rousing romp in the sheets, two things are likely to happen. First scenario: a post-coital cuddle session that even romantic comedy stars envy. Second: one partner (or both) rolls over and falls asleep.

Let's talk about that second situation for a second. Yes, it's incredibly common for at least one partner to hit the hay right after sex. And cuddling isn’t mandatory; there's no "thou shalt cuddle after coitus" commandment that we know of, at least. But new research is claiming that the lack of intimacy after intercourse may leave one partner feeling a bit of a void.

Evolutionary psychologists at the University of Michigan and Albright College surveyed 456 people anonymously online, asking questions like "who falls asleep after sex" and "who falls asleep first when going to bed not after sex?" Though the results aren't incredibly shocking, they do explain a bit—and knock some stereotypes—about post-lovemaking behavior.

The researchers discovered that when one partner nods off immediately after sex, the other is left feeling a strong desire for bonding, cuddling and chatting. So, essentially, they want to continue the physical intimacy they just shared with a bit of emotional intimacy. Seems pretty reasonable, right?

Unfortunately, it's hard to force intimacy upon a person, especially when a good night's sleep after an exhausting sex session is calling. What's even more troubling is how researchers are explaining the tendency to hit the hay. Co-author Susan Hughes believes, "Falling asleep before one's partner may be a non-conscious way to foreclose on any commitment conversation after sex." 


I know what you're thinking—if women weren't so needy men wouldn't feel the need to shut them out after sex. But let me correct you right there, stereotyper: The study did not find that men were more likely to fall asleep first.

Our friends at The Stir believe that if the sex is good, there is no need to cuddle. Lousy lovers, they're talking to you! I half agree—if the sex is really that good, I might not have the energy to morph my body to fit into your little "let's spoon" nook, dudes—but believe there is something nice about a bit of post-coital emotional intimacy. I'm not saying let's debrief and have a long discussion about what just happened, but can't you stare into my eyes for a second before you start drooling on the pillow?

What do you think of post-coital cuddling? Does a lack of it leave you feeling an emotional void?