The Best Cuddling Positions to Improve Intimacy—Sans Sex

Try all 12 expert-approved ways to cozy up.
12 Cuddling Positions to Improve Intimacy—Sans Sex
Photo: Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
The Knot Contributor
  • Hayley writes articles on a freelance basis for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in sex and relationships.
  • Her work has appeared in The Knot, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and more.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hayley was a full-time editor at a business publication.
Updated Aug 17, 2023

Whether you're spooning in bed on a lazy morning or snuggling on the couch to watch your favorite show together, when it comes to the best cuddling positions, there are so many ways to cozy up. And whiling away the hours intertwined isn't just for new lovebirds, BTW. Cuddling can actually improve the intimacy and connection you have with your significant other.

We spoke to real cuddling experts—like sex and relationship expert Carmel Jones and relationship and sex tantric expert Tara Skubella—to discover the best cuddle positions and the benefits of cuddling, too.

Learn everything you need to know about the best cuddling position, all the runners-up and why you and your lover should try them all (immediately) below.

What Are the Benefits of Cuddling?

The real question: Are there any cons to cuddling? Absolutely not! Cuddling has long been known to have so many wonderful benefits.

Cuddling releases "happy chemicals."

You know those happy chemicals everyone is always talking about? "Cuddling releases vast amounts of oxytocin, dopamine and other natural happy chemicals," Skubella shares.

When you decide to cuddle with your partner, those cuddle-induced chemicals actually light up in your brain. This can increase the bond and safety you have with your partner.

It's an invitation to be close without sex.

Sometimes, you just want to be physically close with your partner—without the expectation of sexual intimacy. Cuddling is the perfect invitation for that. While there is nothing wrong with touching to engage in sex, there is something nice about touching solely to be close.

It provides a nurturing love.

Who doesn't want true, soft and nurturing love? Cuddling can help to foster that and so much more. "[Cuddling] softens the space between people to experience a nurturing love, which can help support a deeper connection," explains Skubella.

It's good for your mental health.

Another benefit of cuddling? It's really good for your mental health, too! According to Jones—and multiple scientific studies—cuddling has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and in some cases, it may even improve your heart rate.

Two women cuddle and laugh together
Photo: Bobbi LockyerRefinery29 Australia - We Are Many Image Gallery / Getty Images

12 Best Cuddling Positions for You and Your Partner

It's pretty clear—cuddling up with your partner is really good for both of you. But if you're not akin to being a cuddle monster, you might need some inspiration on where to start. These are the best couple cuddling positions, according to the experts.

1. Spooning

  • What it is: The tried-and-true classic. Spooning is one of the best ways to cuddle up easily. Think of you and your partner like puzzle pieces: With both of you laying on your sides, one of you holds the other from behind.
  • Why you should try it: If you're looking for the best cuddling positions for sleeping, this one is for you. It's an easy go-to and can allow you and your partner to be close while still comfortable enough to fall asleep together.

2. Belly-to-belly

  • What it is: This one is just as it sounds. Both you and your partner lie together, facing each other, with your bellies touching.
  • Why you should try it: When you assume this cuddling position and lie belly-to-belly, you and your partner can cultivate a space for eye gazing and opening channels of communication. "Belly-to-belly can be vulnerable for some couples because we aren't used to opening our body energy centers with a partner," Skubella explains. "It is a beautiful way to intentionally play with our energy through breath."

3. Leg interlock

  • What it is: This cuddling position is one of my personal favorites. Whether you're lying on your back or facing each other, intertwine your legs with your partner's.
  • Why you should try it: This is perfect for anyone who wants to touch while watching TV together or working on your laptops from bed. It's a versatile and simple way of letting your partner know you're near.

4. Standing

  • What it is: Although it may not seem like it, many experts consider standing and holding your partner close a version of cuddling. (I'd say so, too!)
  • Why you should try it: This form of cuddling is perfect for when you're in public. Whether you're waiting in line at a store or standing on a street corner together, you can get close with your significant other and feel safe.

5. Half-spoon

  • What it is: It's like spooning, but with a twist! One person lies on their back, while the other cuddles up to them on their side—hence the half-spoon.
  • Why you should try it: We love this one because both people can get a different cuddle experience: The person on their back (being spooned) gets to feel held, while the one spooning gets to lay their head on the other's chest and hear their heartbeat. It's a romantic, sweet and loving position to try.

6. Embracing each other

  • What it is: Think of this like a hug, except you're each lying down while embracing each other.
  • Why you should try it: Who doesn't love hugs? This is one of the best couple cuddling positions for feeling held and holding at the same time. Both of you can be intentional and loving.
Two men cuddle together on a bed
Photo: Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

7. Head on lap

  • What it is: It's just like it sounds. One of you will put your head in the other's lap while lying down. The other can remain sitting or laying on their back.
  • Why you should try it: This is one of the best cuddling positions for watching TV. If it's time to watch your weekly show together, you can still snuggle while not being too distracted.

8. Nuzzle Cuddle

  • What it is: Both partners lie on their side while one nuzzles their head and face into the other's neck or chest.
  • Why you should try it: A little nuzzle is a true sign of affection. This position lets you breath in your partner, get close to their skin and even give quick access to kiss their neck sweetly.

9. Rump-rest

  • What it is: In this cheeky cuddling position, one person lays on their stomach while the other rests their head on their partner's rump.
  • Why you should try it: This can be a silly, fun and cute way to show affection to your partner. Cuddling doesn't have to be so serious, after all!

10. Back-to-back

  • What it is: Lay back-to-back with your partner in bed, facing away from each other.
  • Why you should try it: This comfortable pose is another one of the best cuddling positions for sleeping. It'll prevent you from breathing heavily on one other, or overheating while sleeping.

11. T-Time

  • What it is: One partner lies on their back, while the other lays their head on their stomach with their body is outstretched. Your bodies together should make a T-shape.
  • Why you should try it: This cuddling position is perfect if you want to feel close—but still free enough to move around or get up easily if you need to. Close but not too close!

12. The Lap Nap

  • What it is: This one is comfy, cute and loving. Cuddle up between your partner's legs on the couch and lay on their chest. A little lap nap.
  • Why you should try it: This one makes for perfect cuddling during TV time, while you're on your phone or if your partner is giving you a shoulder massage.

No matter what cuddling position you decide to try, remember that all cuddling is good cuddling. "Prioritizing cuddling can help us soften and open the body as a whole," Skubella notes. "It represents a nurturing form of love."

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