Cuddling – Is it the Key to Long-Term Happy Relationships?

 

Kissing Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys lud...

Kissing Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Français : Chiens de prairie à queue noire (Cynomys ludovicianus) se faisant la bise. 日本語: キスしてるオグロプレーリードッグ (Cynomys ludovicianus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent article revealed something surprising.  Men, not women, are more likely to be happy in a relationship if they were in good health, if their partner had orgasms during sex, and if they had frequent cuddling and kissing.   Cuddling May Be Key to Long-Term Happy Relationship.

 

Women are more likely to be satisfied with their sexual relationship and that satisfaction seemed to improve over time.  But frequent cuddling and kissing does not necessarily lead to relationship satisfaction for the women.

 

This research, published in the August 2011 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, studied over 1000 couples, men from 40 – 70 years of age and their partners.  The participants were from the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Japan and Spain.

 

As a psychotherapist, counselor, mentor and coach, working with individuals and couples for over two decades, I find some of the study statistics to be too simplistic and the generalization too great.  Researchers always focus on the statistical averages but clinicians focus on what is actually happening with individuals.

 

Some couples do become closer, more cuddly and more sexually satisfied over time.  Other couples become more distant, less cuddly and more like roommates.  Some couples are really cuddly, touching, hugging and even kissing often, but just like siblings, brothers and sisters, with very little sexual passion.

 

The reasons for their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the relationship may have very little to do with whether they are touching regularly or not.  So many factors play into the equation.  Some childhood issues may have never been resolved.  Financial concerns may be looming heavily.  Adult children may be creating insurmountable problems that tear at the couple’s intimacy.  Aging parents and young children, for those in the sandwich generation years, can certainly interfere with feeling a sense of satisfaction with the relationship.

 

What does it take to build long lasting pleasure, enjoyment, sexual satisfaction and relationship happiness?  For many, many men and women it takes the willingness to face their own issues, to learn what the other person wants and needs and values, and to truly share what is real for each.  Often, counseling can bring two people much closer together after the problems and conflicts are presented and all the cards are out on the table.  They can pick up the pieces, reshuffle the deck and create together the relationship of both of their dreams –  at any age.

 

Are YOU ready, willing and able to restore the love and passion and joy in your long term relationship or marriage?  Need some help?  Schedule an appointment  at DrEricaWellness.com

 

Warmly,

 

Dr. Erica

 

 

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21 comments

1 Cuddling – Is it the Key to Long-Term Happy Relationships? { 07.20.11 at 2:19 am }

[…] Cuddling for Long Term Relationship Joy […]

2 Nicole Rushin { 07.21.11 at 12:11 pm }

I think the key here is, as you say, being able to face our own issues. If one person grows or wants to grow and the other partner does not, the couple cannot and does not grow together. Cuddling or not there has to be growth.

3 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 07.21.11 at 3:35 pm }

Nicole,
I agree with you. It is the growth that is most important in a long term relationship, or any relationship for that matter. Sometimes a research study can’t see the forest for the trees.
Erica

4 Linda Thomas { 07.24.11 at 3:16 am }

Hi Dr. Erica,
I was surprised at the study results. This is an interesting subject as it is amazing how some couples share great intimacy their whole lifetimes; while others never achieve it or for some reason it does not last. I think it is difficult for two people to always be in harmony, but those that achieve it are very special and have a lot to share with the world.
Thanks for the great post!
Linda
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5 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 07.25.11 at 12:52 am }

Creating intimacy often has less to do with who your partner is and so much more to do with how you treat love and relationship. So many people are fine when all is well but they want to bale when there are difficulties. Sometimes they lose respect for their partner after years of disappointments and unfulfilled promises. Counseling during the difficult times can make a huge difference between overcoming the issues and getting closer or giving up and creating distance.

6 Julieanne van Zyl { 07.25.11 at 11:58 am }

Don’t most couples want to cuddle a lot more when they first meet? Or for at least a year or two after that? I have an Aunty and Uncle who still hold hands after being together for 50 years! Regards from Julieanne
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7 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 07.26.11 at 1:15 am }

Julieanne,
Most couples do touch a lot, especially sensual and sexual touching, in the early “limerance” phases of a relationship. But couples who have shared lots of life experiences and still feel love, respect and enjoyment being together, are often quite cuddly – unless they did not receive a lot of touch in early childhood. Learning to cuddle and touch lovingly is a skill or habit that is learned or not learned in early childhood. And just like a language, it is difficult to first learn to touch and be comfortable touching, at a later age.

8 Theuns { 07.26.11 at 8:01 pm }

Hi Dr Eric

well even that i am now 11 years single i can agree with what you say.

i also agree that that is must come from both sides , my point of view is that you must 1st be best Friends and the rest will follow normal.

Thanks for this great post.

Regards
Theuns
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9 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 07.26.11 at 8:29 pm }

Theuns, This study shows that men and women are not really so different and that men enjoy affection and closeness. I agree, being best friends can certainly help a relatioship to blossum.

10 Jans Mendoza { 07.27.11 at 9:43 am }

Great article Erica. Cuddling is so underrated nowadays but it is so important. It gives a certain feeling of safety and security. I read one phrase before that says “Argue less, Cuddle more”. Perfectly true.

Jans
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11 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 07.28.11 at 2:02 am }

Jans,
I love that quote “Argue less, Cuddle more.” If more people followed that, we’d have a more peaceful and loving world.
Erica

12 Jenna Waites { 08.10.11 at 4:00 am }

Dr. Erica, this was a fabulous article! It is so great to look beyond the superficial results of a report to figure out what is really going on. Cuddling can be a very important part of a relationship, yet is it the starter to something or an indicator? You brought up some insight and the importance of facing issues and working on things together. Thanks!
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13 Kelley Chappell, PhD { 08.13.11 at 8:45 pm }

Dr. Erica, I would agree with you that it is important not to over simplify or generalize research study results. Relationship satisfaction is complicated. I would say that people that are happier in relationships are more likely to engage in cuddling and have higher levels of sexual intimacy. By this I mean that the level of relationship satisfaction may be what is driving the physical closeness. But I do agree that for men, physical touch and sexual intimacy can often be higher on their list of important factors that determine relationship satisfaction. Thank you for sharing this intersting artcile with us. It is important to recognize that there are gender differences in terms of what men and women look for in a relationship. It is also interesting to see what we do all have in common!

14 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 08.14.11 at 2:52 am }

Jenna,
Cuddling is wonderful, but it can sometimes be used to block and not face important issues in a relationship. If there is good and open communication, then cuddling just adds another dimension of closeness.

Erica

15 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 08.14.11 at 2:54 am }

Kelley,

You so wisely pointed out that it is important to recongize gender differences as well as the ways in which we are really similar. And it is probably true that relationship satisfaction leads to more frequent touching and more satisfying sexual intimacy.

Erica

16 Donna Merrill { 08.15.11 at 2:19 pm }

Well done! I think the most important thing in a relationship is communication. Gender differences do matter. Women are more likely to “spill their guts out” lol – but men have a little trouble speaking emotionally. Understanding that makes a good relationship.
It is so funny because I am not a cuddler but my husband is. It took a long time for him not to be insulted. By communication, he does understand.
In our particular relationship, we are intimate all day long by simple things. Kissing as we pass each other by in the house, etc.
Thanks for this post because I am sure it has enlightened many people in their relationships. Arguing gets nowhere, but the simple touch can turn things around. Thanks again, Donna

17 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 08.16.11 at 3:13 am }

Donna,
Thanks for sharing your own experience. Even though we all have similar emotional and physical needs, the way we express those needs is really unique for each of us. And for couples, each has to learn, accept and support the love language of the other. It is wonderful when couples find ways to contact each other (a kiss, a hug) as they pass in the hall, at different moments during any given day. That provides such a wonderful sense of connection that lasts.
Erica

18 Jaclyn Castro { 09.19.11 at 1:51 pm }

Hi Dr. Erica,

I can relate to what you mentioned with intimacy being affected due to financial concerns. There is someone very, very close in my life that has a terrible marriage mainly because of financial issues.

I was listening to my “Get the Edge” audio from Tony Robbins and he talks about sharing and partnership in this one section of the course. That’s what it’s all about, sharing your day, your problems, your struggles, your emotions, sharing everything with your partner. If there is nothing but irritating comments, bashing on their dreams, etc.. problems such as financial and intimacy is inevitable to arise.

Thanks for posting this. There are so many pieces to an everlasting relationship and intimacy is just a small scope of it. You are helping so many of your blog visitors with their relationship concerns.

Looking forward to coming back here to read and learn more from you.

-Jaclyn Castro
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19 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 09.20.11 at 2:42 am }

@ Jaclyn Castro:
Jaclyn,

It is not really the financial problems that creates the relationship friction. Usually, it is the fact that intimacy has not really been developed. Each person does not really share their deepest feelings and fears and concerns. Financial problems bring hidden emotions to the surface. Especially if one partner chose the other for financial security, when the finances become scarce, the love seems to dwindle. Was it truly love from the start?

There are many really poor couples that enjoy life together, cutting corners to save what little money they have, and sharing all the love they have to give.

Dr. Erica

20 Steve-Personal Success Factors { 10.24.11 at 2:27 am }

Dr. Erica, thanks for the very helpful article. It’s so helpful for couples to understand that their physical relationship is an outgrowth of their emotional relationship, as well as their own personal issues. I thought it very interesting that you, as a therapist, need to often teach couples who did not experience touch growing up to be ready to give and receive the same.
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21 Dr. Erica Goodstone { 10.24.11 at 2:44 am }

Steve, You would be surprised how many people are not comfortable with basic touch. That can be a huge problem if their partner wants the touch and they want to avoid it.

Dr. Erica