• Hugging

Hugging is done by millions of people every day, and for many reasons. Hugs can be warm, affectionate and soothing, they can be routine with little emotion, they can be ceremonial and emotion free, or a hug could be a prelude to more serious touching or sex.

Regardless of the reasons for hugging, some science has shown there are benefits to hugging, from easing stress to boosting the immune system1 by releasing the feel good body drug oxytocin.2

Other terms similar to hugging include cuddling, embracing and snuggling, which again can be between friends and family, or between intimate friends and lovers. (As with any act where one person physically touches another, obtaining prior consent is important.)

The sourced articles below should provide you more information on hugging and some of its benefits.

  1. The Magical Health Benefits Of One Hug A Day

    “Hugs are more than just a friendly greeting—they’re a surprisingly powerful health booster you’ll want to take greater advantage of every day. …
    [1.] Hugs can boost immunity …
    [2.] Hugs can lower stress …
    [3.] Hugs can increase your self-esteem …
    [4.] Hugging promotes trust …
    [5.] Hugging can reduce depression …
    [6.] Hugging is critical for survival …
    [7.] Hugging shows appreciation …”

    Erica Lamberg, rd.com, accessed on 8/15/2019

  2. Health: Hugging Provides Health Benefits

    “Hugging is more than a friendly gesture: When researchers at Carnegie Mellon University exposed more than 400 people to a virus, those who received ‘social support,’ including hugs, were less likely to get sick. ‘Being hugged more frequently was associated with a decreased risk of infection,’ wrote the study’s author, Dr. Sheldon Cohen. … Got nobody to hug? No problem—hug your teddy bear, say researchers at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Hugging an inanimate object that comforts you, such as a stuffed toy, can boost your self-esteem, lower your fears and possibly ease your depression and anxiety.”

    Mary Mihaly, columbusmonthly.com, 2/19/2019

  3. Hug It Out: Study Shows Hugs Really Do Make Us Happier, Especially On Hard Days

    “‘This research is in its early stages. We still have questions about when, how, and for whom hugs are most helpful,’ says Michael Murphy, one of the study’s co-authors, in a statement. ‘However, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict.'”

    Study Finds, studyfinds.org, 10/4/2018

  4. Sexuality In Later Life

    “Physical problems can change your sex life as you get older. If you are single, dating and meeting new people may be easier later in life when you’re more sure of yourself and what you want. If you’re in a relationship, you and your partner may discover new ways to be together as you get older. Talk to your partner or partners about your needs. You may find that affection—hugging, kissing, touching, and spending time together—can be just what you need, or a path to greater intimacy and sex.”

    National Institutes of Health, nia.nih.gov, accessed on 10/3/2018

  5. Why Some People Hate Being Hugged, According To Science

    “So why is it that some people love a good hug, while others abhor them? According to experts, it may have something to do with how you were raised.”

    Melissa Locker, time.com, 9/4/2018

  6. What Are The Benefits Of Hugging?

    “According to scientists, the benefits of hugging go beyond that warm feeling you get when you hold someone in your arms. Read on to find out how. …
    [1.] Hugs reduce stress by showing your support …
    [2.] Hugs may protect you against illness …
    [3.] Hugs may boost your heart health …
    [4.] Hugs can make you happier …
    [5.] Hugs help reduce your fears …
    [6.] Hugs may help reduce your pain …
    [7.] Hugs help you communicate with others …
    How many hugs do we need?
    Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” While that may sound like a lot of hugs, it seems that many hugs are better than not enough.”

    Erica Cirino, Medically Reviewed by Karen Cross, FNP, MSN, healthline.com, 4/10/2018

  7. This 34-Year-Old Gets Paid To Cuddle People

    “It all started five years ago, after Hess divorced her undemonstrative high school sweetheart because she could no longer live in a ‘touch desert.’ She was working a boring job as an installation coordinator at a security company when she read a story about a guy charging $2 for ‘deluxe’ hugs. Something clicked. … What are the boundaries? All touch must be non-sexual and consensual. There’s no massage, everyone must be clothed and there can be no touching in areas which would be covered by a swimsuit.”

    Jane Wells, cnbc.com, 4/2/2018

  8. This Couple Orgasms For 18 Hours A Day Just By Hugging

    “Scott and Melanie, from Texas, told Phillip and Holly that they can both reach climax through everything from hugging and dancing, to just breathing. They’ve been together for nine years, and have started practising tantric sex – which means they don’t even have to be touching to orgasm.”

    Paisley Gilmour, cosmopolitan.com, 9/27/2017

  9. The Sexual Science Of Cuddling

    “Cuddle freely and cuddle often, before and after sex. If cuddling leads to sex, that’s great, but make sure that there are plenty of times you cuddle with your partner in which nonsexual touch is the final destination.”

    Sarah Hunter Murray PhD, psychologytoday.com, 8/28/2017

  10. Iowa Supreme Court: ‘Hugs Can Constitute Sexual Conduct’ For Teachers

    “The court found that ‘hugs can constitute sexual conduct’ when they occur within the context of a broader pattern of sexual exploitation by a school employee. … ‘It is important to note that nothing should prohibit teachers from hugging students for reassurance, comfort, or in congratulation without putting themselves at risk of being charged with the crime of sexual exploitation,’ Justice Bruce Zager wrote in the court’s opinion.”

    Stephen Gruber-Miller, desmoinesregister.com, 8/28/2017

  11. You Can’t Get HIV From Hugging

    “Don’t believe the myth – there are only a few ways you can get infected with HIV, but hugging and touching someone isn’t one of them.”

    AVERT, avert.org, 7/12/2017

  12. How Hugs Heal — Have You Had A Hug Today?

    “Cuddling, a longer form of hugging, with your partner, releases more dopamine and may increase your sexual desire. Hugging may also reduce fear of, and worry about, mortality. One study found that even hugging an inanimate object, like a teddy bear, may reduce these fears.”

    Dr. Joseph Mercola, mercola.com, 5/20/2017

  13. Cuddling: The New Foreplay

    “What researchers found was that sex led to longer-lasting positive emotions when it was accompanied by affection. And don’t think it was just women who wanted loving touches and hugs. Both men and women in the study said affection was important. … And when sex isn’t possible for a couple, for whatever reason, Debrot and her team said the results suggest that being affectionate in other ways could still be beneficial.”

    Candy Sagon, aarp.org, 3/15/2017

  14. Court: Hugging Could Be Sexual Harassment

    “Does this mean you need to ban hugging in your office? I don’t think so. But what you do need to do is take complaints seriously. If someone–male or female–says ‘I don’t like hugging,’ then no one should hug that person, and it shouldn’t be held against him or her. Don’t say things like, ‘The whole team hugs! It’s how we bond!’ or anything that implies that a lack of hugging is synonymous with a lack of team membership.”

    Suzanne Lucas, inc.com, 3/1/2017

  15. What It’s Like To Go To A Cuddle Party

    “Cuddle parties were born in 2004, when Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski – part of the grassroots adult sex-education movement in the US – began hosting them in their Manhattan apartment. Thirteen years later, there are cuddle parties in every major city. ‘They are part of the *affection revolution,*’ say organisers, caused by a touch-neglected society. Mihalko is now a speaker on sex education topics, including ‘Negotiating Successful Threesomes’. While Baczynski trains ‘professional cuddlers’ paid by corporations to provide ‘cuddling seminars’ at the office.”

    Anka Radakovich, gq-magazine.co.uk, 2/1/2017

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Footnotes

1. rd.com, 1/17/2018

2. worldhealth.net, 2/25/2018