Why Women Love Cuddling After Sex — And Why Men Should, Too

The science behind oxytocin.

Man and woman showing affection sirtravelalot / Shutterstock 

Having an active sex life can be important for the longevity of your relationship or marriage.

But cuddling after sex can actually be equally as important as the sex itself.

It’s a low effort way of creating intimacy and satisfaction, ensuring you keep your relationship alive for the long run. 

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The Benefits Of Cuddling After Sex

As with all physical intimacy — sexual and otherwise — there are many pretty great benefits that come along with it. 

Snuggling after sex releases oxytocin, often dubbed the "bonding hormone" When this hormone is released, it can make you feel closer, emotionally, and strengthen your connection with your partner. 

In turn, a stronger bond with your partner may also increase sexual desire, especially if you're the kind of person who craves an emotional connection to want sex. 

Another added benefit of cuddling post-sex is that it releases dopamine, a feel-good hormone. The release of both oxytocin and dopamine makes us feel happier and closer. And because of this, stress is reduced in the body. 


With increasing amounts of notifications pinging at all hours of the day (and night), anything that can help you de-stress is worth a try, right?

But beyond the pleasurable experience of cuddling and the release of neurochemicals, it has also been shown to positively affect your relationship as a whole. 

Specifically, feeling satisfied with your post-sex ritual can make you feel more satisfied with your sexual experience. Thus, you also feel more satisfied with your relationship, too.

And (you may have guessed it already), the cuddling part isn’t necessarily essential. What's essential is being satisfied with what you do after sex. That’s where the real benefits to relationship satisfaction as a whole, lie. 


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Why Some People Need Hugs After Sex to Increase Desire

Sex isn’t just a bodily experience. It’s an intimate dance that encompasses all of you — your thoughts, feelings, emotional baggage, and all.

Cuddling after the fact is therefore not just a lovely way to end your intimate encounter, it's a way to boost motivation for sex.

This is especially true if you struggle with the desire for sex in general or find the idea of sex to be pressuring and stressful.

In order to truly want more sex, it’s important to help your brain and body equate sex with something positive because if it doesn’t, you will continue to struggle with low or no sex drive.


Helping it feel sex is good for you can be done in lots of ways — and one of them is snuggling after sex.

A warm embrace can boost psychological closeness and further reinforce that sex is a good idea. Not just because of the act itself, but because of the emotional rewards that follow it during our post-sex ritual.

And for some, the act of snuggling and being close after sex may even feel more intimate than the sex itself. In turn, leading to increased sex drive due to anticipation of what will happen afterwards.

RELATED: The Weird Thing Your Favorite Cuddling Position Reveals About Your Relationship

What If You Don’t Like Cuddling Afterwards?

As beneficial as snuggling after sex may be to relationship satisfaction and desire, it isn’t something you should be forcing yourself to do if you don’t enjoy it. 


Some people naturally seek physical closeness, as it’s an important marker of validation. You feel seen and heard when your partner or spouse embraces you.

For others, that kind of affection may feel heavy or even like an invasion of our integrity or space, especially for those of us who are neurodivergent, physical closeness may be taxing.

Instead of filling you with energy, it may deplete it instead. 

Just as consent is crucial regarding sex, the same is true regarding general physical closeness, too. And letting your partner in on how you feel about cuddling after sex helps ensure you both get your needs met. 

When looking for new ways to get in the mood, it’s important to work out what you want to include in your post-sex ritual.


If hugs do it for you, then go ahead. But if not, don’t fret. There are plenty of other ways of connecting after sex, including things like sharing a meal or watching a T.V. series together.

Sexual Satisfaction & Relationship Satisfaction

How you feel about your relationship and sex life is affected by lots of things. These may be previous experiences, your current emotional state, and your pleasure during sexual encounters, to name a few. 

One way to boost desire and simultaneously boost relationship satisfaction is by cuddling after sex.


The combination of the intimate act of hugging and the neurochemicals released can make the difference between wanting sex again and not feeling so bothered about it.

Now you know the power of cuddling, what will your post-sex ritual be?

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Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and coach who helps people create more sexual desire and intimacy in their relationships. During her 10 years in the helping profession, she’s been featured in Women’s Health, YourTango, The Good Men Project, Thrive Global, Glamour, and more. If you want to increase your desire without pressure and stress, download her free resource The Desire Test.