April 6, 2021
So last week’s post was kind of heavy. In case you didn’t read it, last week I wrote about some of the things that Z and I might struggle to do as a couple, things that feel like they might be impossible. This week I’m going to be talking about something that we have struggled with, but have actually found ways to overcome; cuddling.
Cuddling is absolutely one of my favorite things in this world and something that I think should be a part of everybody’s self-care practice. At one point I looked into becoming a professional cuddler (that was before Covid-19 reared its ugly head). I believe that people need cuddling, I know that I do, and that a good snuggle could convince most people to agree.
Cuddling was something that I insisted Z and I find ways to do, no matter how challenging. And at first it was challenging. First of all, Z sleeps on a twin bed and the first time we met IRL that was all we had to work with. I spent our first few times cuddling with my butt hanging off the bed, trying desperately not to fall to my death. Now that we have my bed to push up to Z's, I no longer have to worry about death, instead I have been able to worry about modifying a few of my favorite positions for our unique needs.
So consider this post a type of cuddle-sutra. It could be especially helpful for any people out there who happen to be trying to cuddle human sized teddy bears with squishy little bird bones, but if you don’t happen to be in that situation I hope you can still enjoy reading about our success for a bit. And if you stick with it I might even throw in some tips at the end, for taking your snuggling game to the next level (of course, I have no proof of my expertise, but I have managed to win a few hearts with my next level cuddles).
Koala cuddles have always been some of my favorites. The basic gist is that you lie facing your partner and drape your top leg and arm over them as if you were a Koala climbing a tree. Z and I have modified this position so that instead of my top leg resting on his waist, and possibly breaking his spine, I put that top leg in between his two legs, replacing the pillow that he’d normally need there. Behind him is a set of pillows to keep him from falling backwards. I also like to store my pesky bottom arm either tucked between us or up under my head with a pillow on top of it to pad it and support my neck. The benefit of this position is that your face is only inches from your partner’s, so you can kiss or make doe eyes at them all you want. This closeness can also be a downside if either of you have stinky breath. Z and I have found that this is a great way to listen to some music, an audio book, or just to do nothing at all.
This is a classic and there’s a reason, it just works. In case you are unfamiliar, this is where you lie with your partner, butt to belly. One of you wraps yourself around the other from the back and gets to eat your partner’s hair for a little while. This can also be adjusted to work with your average bird boned teddy bear. Z and I can make this work with either of us as the little spoon, but I usually let him have it. This time my body replaces the pillows that normally go behind Z’s back and actual pillows go between his knees. My pesky bottom arm goes up to pillow my head once more, though it sometimes reaches down to play with Z’s hair. Benefits of this position are: it’s very comforting to surround your partner in a loving little spoon and it is the perfect position for watching some TV or a movie.
3. The hairy armpit
I made up the name for this one because it’s probably too rudimentary to have an actual name. For this Z lies flat and I replace the pillow that props up one of his bird boned teddy bear frog legs. I stick my head in the crook of his armpit and there it is, a hairy armpit. This position is great for having casual conversations.
4. Spider pose
For this, both partners should be propped up to be in a reclined sitting position, facing each other. This is pretty easy for us because Z’s bed can sit him up and I can just stick some pillows behind me and sit up. I put my feet on either side of his hips and take his hands in mine. And that’s it, we are two little spiders who are ready to have a deep conversation about web building. This one is a little less cuddly since the main contact is just hand holding, but eye contact can also count, so when in doubt cuddle with your eyes.
Bonus tip! No matter what position you choose to cuddle in, my biggest tip for snuggle success is to find a way to be in tune with your partner. My favorite way to sync up is by being attentive to the rate of my partner’s breathing (or heart beat if I can feel it). You can breath in tandem with them. Make sure they can feel you breathing or hear it. If they are pressed against your stomach make sure that you are breathing into your abdomen, if you are pressed against their neck let your breath blow across them. Draw small circles on them in rhythm with their breath, tap them softly, or gently run a finger rhythmically across their hairline, brushing their hair back. When I worked in daycare these rhythms were what I used to get kids to fall asleep at naptime. If it can get children to fall asleep, you know it’s relaxing.
Overall, just get creative with your partner. Use pillows and blankets so that you can both be comfortable. Our bodies are not flat, so lying against a flat bed might not be ideal for you. Make sure that your body and the body of your partner are supported physically so that you can both be there to support each other emotionally. Be open about trying new cuddling techniques and positions and find what works for each of you.
And of course, my biggest tip of all is DON’T have a twin bed. Z needs to have one for turning in the night and his step-dad literally built me another twin bed, so that we can push the two together and have a bigger surface for cuddling and living in sin.
So there it is, Z and R’s ultimate guide to cuddling, hopefully with many more positions to come!