Essential guidance for anyone who was wondering

The Laws Of Cuddling

The Laws Of Cuddling

Unwritten rules that probably should be written about


Cuddling seems so simple, which is probably why it is barely touched on (hah) in sex ed, or at any other point in life. Nobody ever tells you about the rules and laws, how to get there and how not to mess things up.

A neck massage is a reasonably safe way to test if you like each other’s touches

Neck massages are both fun and relaxing, and also about the only acceptable way for two people to find out if they actually care for the other person’s touches. I have massaged shoulders and it made me wake up to realize I should really take a step back now, and I had women under my fingers who were cozying up to me until they realized they didn’t want to make this mistake after all.

And on the other end of that spectrum, I have done the same and come to the opposite conclusion, continuing my efforts and closing that last bit of distance to spend the rest of the night on a couch among friends who tried hard to look the other way and act like this was all perfectly normal.

And there’s another thing about neck massages: It’s about the only thing a woman can safely ask for, and still have a way to walk things back. In fact, it’s apparently a fun sport to mess with a guy’s head, judging by the amount of encouragement that friends, mothers and married women like to give and that whole “get over yourself” attitude that seems so different to all other kinds of advances one can make. So you better sharpen your swords a little, and do that thing with your knuckles digging into shoulder blades. It’s not witchcraft, but feels like it is.

Cuddling takes more courage than sleeping together

Assuming you’re following a somewhat standard process of two people getting to know each other, learning to trust and eventually thrust, then making that final step of sleeping together comes easier than the steps before that. By the time you’re naked in bed, used to sharing a mattress and blanket, it’s more or less a question of one of you asking the question.

In the same way, breaking the touch barrier for the first time is usually more or less harmless. Each of you can make that semi-accidental touch on the arm, and pull back immediately to make that slightly confused look on your face when you wonder if you really just did that, and the other can act like it’s totally normal and acceptable.

The middle ground is really the hardest part to work up the courage for, and it should be understood as a real sign of trust.

Cuddling is something that is hard to dislike, but somehow a boundary that neither he nor she can safely cross. Women have to fear the wish to cuddle being mistaken as a direct and immediate invitation to fondle and undress, and guys have to fear a neck massage landing them in jail - forgive the exaggeration. I have seen and been in too many situations where two people kept an inch of distance throughout the whole night, and neither of them found the time, place or courage.

Cuddling is not an invitation for sexual advances

One thing that I really dislike about “the average guy” is that they seemingly lack all sense for nuances. This goes for every single step of the way, from a woman smiling at them to conversations and tacky sex jokes to the point where they hold a woman in their arms, and immediately ruin it.

There’s a reason for the “cuddly when drunk” stereotype of woman, to me it’s an obvious way to bring a safety switch into this that they can pull anytime a guy mistakes one thing for another. Pull back, sober up, hightail it out of there and send them a morning-after text explaining they were really just drunk and didn’t mean anything by it. And seeing some guys I’ve met, I would do that very same thing just to stay afloat.

We would all have more chances to cuddle and be cuddled with if someone had taken the time to tell us in sex ed that a warm body snuggling up to you is something different than a hungry look in their eyes and undress waiting to happen. Cuddling is much more mental than bodily undress, and thereby the worst cuddling beats the best sex in my own personal opinion.

Touches and reactions to those touches are a physical conversation

The moment two people touch in more than one place, the rules start changing. You can’t quite walk up to a woman and run your fingers through her hair, but as soon as you are on a couch together that becomes a caring gesture and probably the safest place to touch on her whole body.

The other safe way to touch a woman is that reach-around hug around her stomach, carefully avoiding north and South.

If you stray just one single inch from there, you get into experimental territory. The cheek is just a nano-second away from the hair you were just brushing your fingers through, but it can still create animosity and resistance if you touch it the wrong way, or at the wrong point in time. Running your fingers down her neck is a decidedly sexual gesture, much like touching her lips would be. Breasts, thighs, those are out of the question until late at night as you have established that neither of you dislikes what happened so far.

Even running your fingers down her shoulders and arms can mess things up, because it definitely messes with your mind and hers, and if you find yourself in a position to take her hand and follow the lines in her palm or caress her fingers, those are incredibly intimate touches that can provoke a fight-or-flight response in the same person who just willingly gave herself into your hands.

There is a lot of silent conversation going on in these moments, especially once they start stretching into hours. Can you take a no, or will you keep coming back to try the same thing again? Are you merely acting like you care, or can you actually take her into your arms and get her through the night? All those things that you might not even realize, but that talk is definitely happening as your fingers keep exploring.

The important thing to note here is that neither of these things are unnormal, and also that these rules can change. There’s a high likelihood that you were drunk at night or drunk on life, and once you’re sober again you kind of scratch your head and wonder if that’s really where things were supposed to go. Now you are back on that couch, another day and a completely new set of rules, and a lot of added awkwardness as you try to find back to where you left off.

There are different ways of cuddling, and they mean different things

There is so much difference between an arm around her shoulder, her leaning against you with your arms around her, and her resting her head on your chest and falling asleep in your arms. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but they definitely mean different things. I have seen plenty of relationships that were clearly not meant to be, and about 80% of those had this sickening kind of “look at us, we’re together” and the “touch me in one place, but never two” vibe.

On the other hand, there are those nights when two people can clearly not keep their hands off each other, but still have hashing out to do on the detail side of things. Those are the same in principle, just cute instead.

And if you have ever held a woman in your arms who just belonged there, watching her drift off into sleep and you trying hard not to move or breathe anything other than shallow breaths you’ll know how different that feels.

If you don’t enjoy cuddling, go see a doctor

I have seen and talked to a surprising amount of guys who felt that cuddling was either boring, worthless, or worst of all the guy who said “they” use it as a delaying tactic to find out if they can exploit your weakness. And yes, that guy went through some relationships in the time I knew him, however that happened. I have also had girl friends complaining about a lack of cuddling in their relationships, and that their boyfriends found it boring, and something they needed to get through more than something they enjoyed.

In case that needs to be said: Those approaches to life and love are not exactly healthy, and those relationships don’t usually last all that long. To me, that is an immediate red flag that someone is unable to emphatize with others. There is a reason why I can talk about this topic with a bit of experience, having someone to cuddle with is like someone who actually listens to what you say, and asks you questions back.