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Defining Cuddling, Spooning, and Other Comfy Words

When discussing scientific phenomena, it’s important to define your terms. After all, if you think that spooning and cuddling are the same thing (as some people seem to,) you’ll be awfully confused when we rail against the former and celebrate the latter. As a result, we felt it was necessary to dedicate a post to explaining what we intend when we use many common touch-related words. See our definitions after the jump! View full article »

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Oxytocin: More Good News

We’ve been waiting for this one to become available for a long time. Ladies and gentlemen, a talk by neuroeconomist and oxytocin scholar Paul Zak has gone online at TED.com. In it, he details his personal research on the “cuddle hormone,” suggesting that its effects may be even greater than previously imagined. Zak argues that oxytocin is the “moral molecule,” responsible for human goodness—and he brings the science to back it up.

All Cuddle Labs fans should watch this video. Zak’s research on oxytocin has uncovered yet more reasons for the work that we do. Cuddling deserves consideration! This talk explains why.

Oxytocin: The Real Elixir of Love

I don’t know about you, but I always dreamed of discovering a magical potion that would melt away my sorrows and fill me with a sense of warmth and love for all humanity.

Love Potion

Of course, as I grew older, I realized this was an unrealistic goal. And then I started my research on cuddling!

Turns out, humans naturally produce an amazing chemical that really can improve our lives all around. If you’ve read other Cuddle Labs posts (or the title of this post) you’ll know the chemical to which I refer is… OXYTOCIN!

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Cuddle Away the Cold!

Penguins covered in snow

It's cold.

The winter is bearing down upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. We can think of no better reminder of this fact than that it’s snowing today in New York… and it’s not even Halloween yet.

It’s only going to get colder, but there’s no sense in lying down and taking it. Lie down and fight it! Cuddling’s a great (, free!, fun!) way to keep warm while the mercury falls, which makes this the perfect time to start brushing up on your snuggling skills. If you’re staying inside today (Halloween weekend be damned), find somebody to stay in with you—even if it means you have to coax them into going outside first. You’ll benefit from increased warmth as well as increased oxytocin levels.

“Cuddle more” is the most important suggestion that we give vis-à-vis cuddling, and that message is certainly at the core of this post. But, if you need some extra help (maybe some advice on technique) check out our most important posts so far! You’ll be on the way to a cuddling black belt in no time.

And either way, stay warm, and stay cuddle-hungry.

Children Riding a Sled in the Snow, Cuddled Together

We hope this image inspires you to achieve cuddling excellence.

Today’s post was scheduled to discuss the physiological benefits of the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin—our raison d’être. But when a friend linked us the call for Occupy Portland’s “MARCH to Occupy Pearl District,” scheduled for tomorrow, we realized that transmitting another idea of ours might be more useful.

Occupy Portland Rally Poster

100% of people should cuddle, but we'd settle for 99%.

You see, he quoted one part of the post specifically:

Camp Meeting starts at 4:00 PM, with a Potluck at 7:00 PM, and a CUDDLE PARTY at 10:00 PM. We plan on staying the entire night. {Caps ours.}

Including a cuddle party in this event is a great idea precisely because of oxytocin. Released by social touch, the hormone will help to bond the protesters together, as well as increase their contentment and reduce any anxiety associated with their actions. Considering that the protesters are already convinced of this, however, we felt that it would be more useful to discuss the physical act of cuddling en masse—and the pitfalls and benefits associated with it.

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Do Guys Like Cuddling?

Only girls like to cuddle, right?

It’s generally accepted in Western culture that cuddling is an activity that women like, and that men agree to because we like sex. This belief has confused me a great deal, as someone with a Y chromosome and a “why wouldn’t you cuddle” attitude… After all, I’m pretty sure I could convert any theoretical male cuddling skeptic in one move, with the question: “you do realize that boobs are often involved in cuddling, don’t you?”

Cute Girl Hugging Koala to Her Chest

Male koalas, in particular, have reaped the rewards of this principle.

As is always the case when we are presented with a belief that contradicts our personal experience, or vice-versa, we should investigate using scientific principles. Borrowing from the field of psychology, the easiest (but least rigorous) method of inquiry we can employ is the case study. And by far the easiest and least rigorous case study I can drum up is… me.

Physical social contact relaxes me, makes me happy, and makes me feel more comfortable around those I’m interacting with—and I like that it makes them feel the same way. My very existence logically disproves the maxim that “guys don’t like to cuddle”.

If you came here from Yahoo! Answers, that should about solve your problem, but feel free to stick around. For everyone else, this is a laboratory, and I don’t expect you to believe me “because I say so.” In order to evaluate the more plausible claim that “most guys don’t like to cuddle,” we’ll need to start talking quantitative analysis. View full article »

How to Cuddle Without Spooning

In our last post, we made a case that the spoons position is totally played out. But infuriatingly, we failed to give you a better option. That was our evil plan… we were hoping to get you to come back.

Now that you have, we can present you with our first recommended cuddling position. Of course, one of the reasons we’d like to reduce your spooning time is so that you can experiment with new ways to cuddle for yourselves. But, just in case you need some scientific inspiration, allow us to present the structurally-sound PROM DANCE.

Scientists Cuddling Face-to-Face... A sort of floor hug.

Pajamas Recommended for Cuddling--Lab Coats for Doing Science Only. (We promise to get better pictures soon.)

Read on to learn more about this wonderful position. View full article »

Is Spooning the Best Way to Cuddle?

Picture people cuddling.

Most people instructed to do so will imagine a couple laying in bed, one behind the other. This is, of course, the classic spooning position:

Human Figures Spooning

Indeed, spooning is how people generally tend to get their cuddling in. It’s convenient: if you’re already lying down, the spoon position is just a half-turn away. And, it’s intuitive… just hugging someone from behind while lying down, really.

But, are you really in love with spooning? It certainly does have its downsides. From the well-documented standup fodder that is the “spooning dead-arm”, to its universally dismaying but rarely discussed heat-transfer issues (no cuddling in summertime?), spooning presents cuddlers with a number of challenges. The more persistent among you have no doubt powered through these, possibly even attempting solutions (arm up under the big spoon’s head? creatively placed pillows? thermostat at 45 degrees?) None of these fixes, though, is totally successful—they fail to maximize comfort and closeness, or do so only at the expense of spontaneity.

So, have we come up with the ultimate solution to spooning’s flaws? No. In fact, this post isn’t about perfecting the spoon. It’s about dethroning it. Let’s get this out in the open: spooning sucks!

Don’t get your PJs in a twist, Spooninites. We’re clearly not about to cut in on your cuddling time. We’re not even saying you should never spoon again… necessarily. But we do think that if you give us a page or two, we can at least convince you that the spoon is undeserving of its place at the top of the cuddling hierarchy. And frankly, you’ll be a better person for it.

The word “spooning” must cease to be synonymous with the word “cuddling.” Let the revolution begin. View full article »

The Basis of Cuddling Technique

In our first post, we claimed to have isolated the variables that lead to good cuddling. Today, we’re actually going to teach them to you. And just as any good recipe begins with its ingredients, a good cuddling position takes the human body into account first and foremost.

Over the course of our history, humankind has made astonishing progress in the study of the body as a weapon. The martial arts have formalized the use of the most dangerous parts of human anatomy, developing precise techniques to handle nearly any situation. It is easy enough to think of the “weapon” parts of the body—the fist and foot as used for punches and kicks; the elbow, knee and shin as traditionally utilized in muay thai; even the head can be brought to bear in devastating attacks.

Football Headbutt

Not a recommended cuddling position.

Allow us to be the first to suggest that the human body is at least as much pillow as it is weapon. While the peripheral parts of the body mentioned above can be quite uncomfortable indeed, most of your center mass is soft and perfect for cuddling. The chest, stomach, lap and butt are essentially human cushions, and should be utilized whenever possible during cuddling. Likewise, the involvement of the “weapon” parts of the body should be controlled. Today, we pioneer the vestial arts. View full article »

Cuddle Labs Field Study!

Hey guys! If you got caught up in the Cuddle Labs hugfest that occurred tonight and found yourself in possession of a card, it would mean a lot to us if you’d just post a comment and let us know that you came by. Let us know who you are below! :)

We’re still a very young organization—but our next post will begin to express our plans for revolutionizing how people cuddle. In the meantime, spread the oxytocin! Try your best to expand your cuddling horizons! You don’t have to hug a dozen strangers on Saturday night, but everyone can try to physically connect with someone at least once per day.

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