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Why Spooning Is the Ultimate Relationship Hack

If you told your grandparents that you and your partner love to “spoon” in bed, they’d be baffled. Are you spoon-feeding each other baked beans? Clinking the spoons together in some bizarre musical ritual?

But alas, the spooning we’re talking about has nothing to do with canned goods nor utensils.

For the uninitiated, spooning is a cuddling position where two people lay on their sides, with one person’s back against the other’s chest. The position resembles two spoons nestled neatly together.

This may seem underwhelmingly obvious and simple, but as your about to see, there’s a science to spooning that makes it far more than just a cuddling position.

YES, THERE'S A RIGHT WAY TO SPOON

In order to enjoy a successful spooning session, you’ll first have to define who’s the “big spoon” and who’s the “little spoon.” For optimum comfort, we recommend that the taller partner assumes the big spoon role.

Now, both spoons should lay on their sides, with the little spoon’s back side against the big spoon’s front side. Ideally, the little spoon’s head should rest against the big spoon’s chest, otherwise you’ll get a mouth full of hair and an obstructed airway.

One of the most common big spoon confusions is deciding what to do with your arms. Your best bet is to place your lower arm underneath the pillow your head rests on, otherwise you risk giving yourself the ever-dreaded dead arm.

As for your top arm, the standard placement is around your partner’s waist. If you’re feeling extra intimate, you can hold your little spoon’s hand.

And what about your legs?

The easiest option is placing your legs up against your little spoon. A more advanced option is to stack your legs alternately. And if you want to enhance the envelopment, you can wrap your upper leg around your partner.

4 Reasons to Start Spooning ASAP

It’s no coincidence that couples have been spooning for centuries (here’s a Turkish painting from 1743 depicting the position). Spooning goes beyond comfort and convenience—it’s scientifically proven to strengthen relationships and relax your body.

It Floods Your Brain With Feel-Good Chemicals

Also known as the cuddle chemical, oxytocin is released during spooning sessions—hence the warm and fuzzy feelings. Oxytocin is also known to relieve pain and boost your immune system.

Dopamine (the reward chemical) and serotonin (a mood regulating hormone) are also byproducts of cuddling. 

It Relaxes Your Mind and Body

When you spoon, you’ll notice that your breathing slows down and your muscles become less tense. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.

"Spooning helps our nervous system relax," says Rebecca Hendrix, a psychotherapist in New York City. "We are are hardwired to connect as human beings, and the physical touch and hugging that occurs during spooning lowers our blood pressure and sends a message to our bodies that it’s ok to relax and let go."

It Increases Intimacy

All that relaxation stuff is great, but spooning isn’t all about you. Lying close to your partner is arguably the easiest way to strengthen your romantic bond. In fact, some therapists claim that as little as five minutes of spooning can cause couples to feel closer, both physically and emotionally.

It’s an Easy Segue to Sex

If you drew a Venn diagram of positions in which you can comfortably sleep and have sex, spoons may very well be the only option in the middle.

Your bodies are properly aligned, you’re in bed, and you’ve probably got a stiffy—why not strike while the iron is hot?

"The 'spoonee' can guide their partner in while arching in order to get the right angle," explains sex therapist Sari Cooper. "Depending on each person’s size, there may be some adjusting needed going up, down, or forward in order to get a comfortable fit. Both partners can contribute to the thrusting, and both partners can contribute to stimulating the spoonee so that they are getting aroused.”

The Drawbacks of Spooning

Despite dozens of physical, psychological, and emotional benefits of spooning, some people still aren’t sold on this classic cuddling position.

One writer for Slate (a dude, for context) recently pleaded to suspend spooning indefinitely. There’s no need for such drastic measures, but that’s not to say spooning doesn’t come with a couple of minor complications.

The Awkward Arm Problem

Assuming you’re the big spoon, there’s only so long you can hold your position before your arm falls asleep. But before you shove your partner aside and end your spooning session prematurely, consider these modifications:

  1. Place your arm under your pillow, between your head and your partner’s head. The extra space will create a safety buffer from numbness, plus it’s more comfortable for the little spoon.
  2. If you want a more advanced solution, you can snag one of these tunnel-shaped pillows that creates space between your arm and the head of the little spoon.

Getting Hot as Hell

Bodies basically turn into electric blankets when laying against each other, which can quickly turn your bed into a sweat swamp. To avoid getting overheated in the middle of a spoon session, you’ll need to take some precautions before hopping into the sheets: turning on a fan, opening a window, or dressing lighter can keep you cool.

Couples That Spoon Together, Stay Together

It’s crazy to think couples buy extravagant dinners, vacations, and jewelry to spice up their relationships when they could literally just lay in bed for 15 minutes and spoon. But we digress.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big spoon or a little spoon. It doesn’t matter if you tuck your arm under a pillow or if you’re willing to let it go numb. What does matter is that you start taking advantage of this ancient relationship hack.

Stop spending, start spooning.

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