Platonic Cuddling: Meaning, Positions, And Benefits

Happy To Help | | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: October 6, 2023

Platonic cuddling sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But if you understand the cuddle meaning, you will know that it is not so. There is nothing sexual about snuggling with someone you are comfortable with. There is no rule that you have to snuggle only with your romantic partners and even if you are cuddling with your intimate partner, it doesn’t always have to end in partners ripping each other’s clothes off.

It can just be a moment of pure non-sexual intimacy where two people are in close proximity to each other without sex being their main concern. This may come as news to you but platonic cuddling between friends and lovers is a real thing. However, the only problem with this type of cuddling is that it may be difficult for little Joe and Jane to get the memo. This physical contact with the opposite sex or someone of the same sex (depending on your sexual orientation) could result in sudden arousal in both men and women because that’s how human bodies work.

That’s why it’s vital to know the answers to questions like what is cuddling and what is cuddling meaning in different settings. To that end, we have come up with this detailed guide on platonic cuddling and comfortable cuddling positions that can strengthen your friendship and relationship without crossing each other’s boundaries.

What Is Platonic Cuddling?

To understand cuddle meaning in different contexts, you need to first understand what is cuddle. It is the act of wrapping your arms around someone and holding them close as a way of expressing love and showing affection. Now, when we say love and affection, we don’t necessarily mean in the romantic context. It can just as easily have a platonic meaning.

If you want to show someone affection physically and make them feel secure, friendly cuddling is the way to go about it. It’s one of the ways to show care and support to your close friends as well as your significant other. You might be wondering, what is cuddling platonically? And is it even possible? Absolutely. Platonic cuddling is a type of close contact between two adults where no romance or sexual activities take place. 

You can involve lower bodies if you want or just hug each other with the help of the upper body. However, it’s best to not let your genitals or other erogenous zones come in contact with the other person’s body. If you are already romantically involved with the person you’re cuddling with, the way your bodies interact may differ from if it is with a friend, but even then, cuddles between partners are considered platonic only when there is no expectation of it leading to something more. This is one of the ways to show affection to your partner.

Elaborating on what is cuddling meaning in the platonic sense, A Reddit user shares their story of how they often indulge in platonic cuddling and how it differs from romantic cuddles, “I (male) was part of a cuddle party in college and we still meet up for such cuddle parties. At this stage, adult women should know that pressing their butt against a guy’s crotch in bed will sometimes lead to erections. Don’t grind it against her, but if you get one and she grinds against you, it’s probably game on. 

“I don’t intentionally touch breasts with platonic cuddling, but sometimes the friend will grab my hand and move it to or between them. And I warn them if we’re sleeping together (in the literal sense) that there’s a good chance my hands will end up there in my sleep. None of them have ever complained, if we’re cuddling together, they already trust me a lot.”

Related Reading: Platonic Soulmate – What Is It? 8 Signs You Found Yours

Cuddling & Its Benefits

Now, you know the answer to what is cuddling. And you also know that it’s possible to hold another person close as an expression of your affection and fondness toward them, without it carrying any sexual undertones. This intimate act can have a deep impact on our emotional health and well-being.

According to studies, our body releases “feel good” hormones – oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin – during cuddling and hand-holding. These hormones induce relaxation and lower anxiety. As renowned family therapist Virginia Satir has been popularly known to say, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

The bottom line is, we need human contact to thrive. That makes cuddles meaning a lot more profound than most people understand it to be. So whether it it with someone you share a platonic relationship with or an intimate partner, lean in as often as you can to soak the cuddling benefits, which include:

  • Boosts the immune system: The “feel good” hormones being released when you cuddle someone can momentarily make you feel as if nothing can hurt you. Cuddles also increase the production of hormones that fight infections. Cuddling therapy and cuddling services can boost your immune system 
  • Lowers the risk of heart diseases: The bonding hormone relaxes your nerves and calms your high blood pressure. Your heart is happy and you have nothing to worry about. This is one of the benefits of cuddling
  • Deepens your relationship: A little cuddle therapy with your platonic friends or your partner can help deepen the bond you share with them. This is one of the deep bonding tips for partners and friends. You can also build more meaningful relationships with the help of therapeutic cuddling 
  • Reduces physical pain: According to research, touching, hugging, or cuddling can help reduce the sensation of pain. Being comforted by a hug can help lessen the intensity of the pain 
  • Increases self-confidence: Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth are the three most essential components of good mental health. When you receive hugs and cuddles from someone you are comfortable with and share a good rapport with, it increases your feelings of self-confidence and motivates you more to achieve your dreams and goals

Related Reading: How Often Should You See Your Boyfriend? Revealed By Experts

Platonic Cuddling Positions

Sharing their experience of platonic cuddling, a Reddit user shares, “This is a real thing. There are groups and cuddle parties that take place with a professional cuddler present who teaches others how to cuddle without making it a sexual act. My best friend is my cuddle buddy. We get really touchy-feely when we hang out, so I could see this being an okay thing.

“I am pretty particular about who I let into my personal space in relationships and otherwise. But I don’t like how touching between a man and a woman has to be so romanticized. Sometimes, you just want someone, anyone who is a safe and decent person, to sit next to you and give you a hug and stare with you off into the void.”

If you want to cuddle in a non-romantic way — be it with your female friends or male friends you share a platonic relationship with or even your partner — to strengthen your bond with them, here are some of the types of cuddles and cuddling positions you can try: 

1. Bees knees position 

platonic cuddle position - bees knees
platonic cuddle position – bees knees

Let’s start with a simple cuddle position. You can try this at home or a cuddle party. All you have to do is lie on one side with knees slightly bent while the other person rests their head on the bent knees. If you’ve never snuggled up with someone you share a platonic relationship with or the meaning of cuddling in bed with your partner without it leading to sexual intimacy is alien to you, this is one of the best cuddle positions to help you get started. 

Related Reading: Expert Tips On How To Increase Physical Intimacy In A Relationship

2. Cinema position 

cinema cuddle position
cinema cuddle position

What is cuddle meaning? The answer to this question can vary depending on the circumstances and context. When two lean on each other for support and comfort without any expectations of where it might lead to, cuddling takes on a platonic meaning. If that’s what you want to explore, the cinema cuddle position is just right for you.

Let’s say the two people involved here are sitting on a couch watching television and don’t mind cuddling and showing affection. One person can rest their head on another’s shoulder. That’s it! That’s how easy and platonic this kind of hug is. It’s cute, affectionate, and one of the most straightforward ways to draw boundaries between friendships and dating if that’s what you’re seeking to do.

3. Nesting doll position 

nestling doll: platonic cuddling position
nestling doll: platonic cuddling position

For those looking for a sense of safety and comfort in the arms of their close friends or a romantic partner, here is one of the best cuddling positions. One person sits sideways on a couch with their legs apart while the other sits inside the patted legs where the space is created. It’s a great way to create a safe space for both parties involved. A fine example of how cuddle meaning can just be finding a sense of safety and comfort with someone you trust.  

4. Melchior position 

Melchior position
Melchior position

A little difficult but this friendly cuddling position is known to release oxytocin. One person lies flat on the bed or the couch while the other sits on their knees and drapes their body till the torso over them. If you have a long-term relationship with this person and both of you are on the same page about being platonic, then it’s one of the best cuddle positions to try.

5. Honeymoon position 

Honeymoon position 
Honeymoon position 

Don’t be fooled by the name and confuse this comfortable cuddling position with something sensual and romantic. One person lies on the back, whereas the other person is lying sideways. Both their legs are intertwined. Not just a great platonic cuddling position for partners, but you can also cuddle this way with your male or female friend and just talk and share your thoughts and feelings.  

Related Reading: 13 Non-Sexual Touches To Feel Intimate And Close

6. Pyramid position 

Pyramid position 
Pyramid position 

You don’t even have to snuggle to release oxytocin. Just a familiar touch is enough to get the job done. This is one of the most platonic ways of cuddling where two people lie sideways while keeping their backs in touch with each other. It provides a sense of closeness without a sense of discomfort or awkwardness that may arise if the relationship between them is intimate or romantic. This is one of the few cuddle positions that truly bring out the platonic meaning in body-to-body contact between two individuals.  

7. Tarantino position 

Tarantino position
Tarantino position

One of the best cuddling positions for platonic intimacy where everyone involved can feel safe. You and your cuddling partner sit facing each other. One person can lean against a pillow. This person will then bend their knees with their feet flat. The second person can sit near their feet and rest their feet on the chest of the other, and they can place their arms on top of their knees. This cuddle position may come across as a little complicated but is doable and extremely platonic.

Related Reading: How To Tell If A Hug Is Romantic? Get To Know The Secret Behind Hugs!

Things To Keep In Mind While Platonic Cuddling

Another Reddit user shares an interesting experience about platonic cuddling, “I’ve cuddled with a friend in bed before. It was nice. She is/was not single and we cuddle a fair amount when we hang out. For me, it’s just normal. We are both asexual, though, so I suppose it could just be an asexual thing. That’s not to say I don’t find her very physically/aesthetically attractive, which I absolutely do.” 

However, it may not always turn out to be this straightforward and uncomplicated for everyone. A lot of things can go wrong while cuddling with someone regardless of whether or not you have romantic feelings toward them. This is when it can help to be mindful of what is cuddle meaning for you in the given context. With that self-awareness, focus on the following if you want to increase intimacy through platonic cuddling:

Platonic Relationships
Platonic Relationships
  • No-sexual-touch position: Choose a cuddling position where your intimate parts don’t come in contact with their body. It’s natural that touching someone may result in sexual arousal. If you do get aroused, do let the other person know. The safe way to have cuddles with your partner or friend is by selecting one of the platonic cuddling positions listed above.
  • Find a distraction: Just cuddling with your friend or partner may lead to sex. It’s essential to find a distraction that will keep your mind occupied. Watch a series or read books to each other. Or the two of you can just indulge in an interesting conversation. Ask each other questions that will help you in building a strong connection. This will keep your mind off any unwanted ideas, feelings, and thoughts
  • Focus on your breathing: Deep breathing can also keep your mind at ease and won’t put any weird thoughts in your head. Inhale and exhale deeply to avoid sexual feelings getting in the way of platonic cuddling
  • Switch positions if you feel aroused: Don’t hide this and act sheepishly. If you’re turned on by the person you’re cuddling with, be honest about it. If you notice that the other person is aroused, acknowledge it and tell them you would like to switch positions. Don’t get offended by it. Talk to them

Related Reading: Platonic Relationships – Rare Or Real Love?

Romantic Vs Platonic Cuddling

In any and all types of relationships, cuddling is done to show affection, care, and acceptance. However, the meaning of cuddling in bed or any intimate setting for that matter can change depending on your dynamics with the other person and circumstances leading to you engulfing each other in an embrace. The platonic meaning of cuddling is vastly different from what it means when done with a romantic intent. Here are a few key defining factors that will help you understand what is cuddling in a platonic way and how it’s different from romantic cuddles.

Platonic Cuddling Romantic Cuddling 
No touching below the torso Lower bodies coming in contact easily and frequently 
There is no mixing of breaths So much closeness that you are breathing in each other 
There is no sexual intention and no awkwardness before, during, and after cuddling  Romantic cuddling can lead to sex or cuddles can happen with sex as the end goal 
No nervousness or awkwardness Heavy breathing, thumping heartbeat, and even a little bit of sweating is involved 
Both have their clothes on and this tender act of cuddling feels pure and wholesomeCuddles are soon followed by hair sniffing, kissing, and other acts of sexual intimacy

Key Pointers

  • Platonic cuddling is when two people come in close proximity to one another without any sexual intentions or expectations
  • Cuddles is one of the ways to show someone you care about them
  • Cuddling can reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your immune system

Life is too short to wait for a romantic partner to cuddle with. If you have male and female friends/friends from the opposite sex whom you completely trust and you know they won’t take advantage of you during such a vulnerable moment, go ahead and find solace in their arms. Even if you have a romantic partner and want to cuddle with them platonically, let them know. This will allow you to build a deeper connection and a stronger relationship. 

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