How I Learned to Stop Hating Myself and Kind of Like Cuddling

Do you like to cuddle? Or does the warmth of an affectionate human body cause you to shudder and recoil like a witch smelling children?
Publish date:
December 13, 2012
intimacy, cuddling, affection, self-hatred

Years ago, I went out on a date with a guy that culminated in your basic drunken, athletic first-date sex. (I'm a fun first date.)

After we had our respective orgasms and switched off the webcam (I'm a really fun first date), my skin started to crawl with the post-intercourse fear of seeming too needy. Which is actually a pretty needy thing to worry about, but I was like 20 and insecure and really concerned about proving that I could totally have sex without getting my emotions involved, lest a guy think I was like, some typical girl.

It's a sad fact of our woman-hating culture that so many young women spend so much time scrambling to disassociate themselves from traits stereotypically associated with our sex. It's kind of like Stockholm syndrome, or I guess you'd call it internalized misogyny.

When I was a teenager, I used to boldly proclaim that I hated feminism, thus aligning myself with the dominant culture and more importantly, making boys totally like me more. Anyway, I grew up and realized that most "girl stuff" is super dope and that women friends will save your ass while your male friends are checking it out and became a big-time feminist and everything so it all worked out okay eventually.

But back to casual sex.

After we had it, this guy assumed I was spending the night, instead of what I usually did, which was slip out the door after eventually finding my panties, because God forbid he find them later and like, examine them. Furthermore, as I lay there next to him in bed, he flung one arm around me and pulled me close to him in a manner that can only be compared to a big spoon.

"You don't have to do that," I said nervously.

"I like it."

Oh. Okay.

In my mind, cuddling (like "Sex and the City" and taking baths and having emotions) was Grade A chick stuff. In pop culture, it's always the woman who wants to snuggle up to her stiff and unyielding bedmate, presumably squeezing the manly vitality out of him like a preening, insipid boa constrictor. The man, of course, waits until she falls asleep to wriggle and squirm out from under the grasping, life-sucking arm thrown across him or the dreams-crushing head resting on his chests.

How do I escape from this terrifying affection???? you imaging him crying out mentally.

Yet here was a man -- a quite well-built and virile one, if I recall our hours of boning accurately -- telling me that he both liked to cuddle and wanted to cuddle me currently.

And I realized what should have been obvious before then: that cuddling ain't no marriage license. If you're intimate enough to put body parts inside of other body parts, why wouldn't you be intimate enough to snuggle up afterward, especially if it's cold outside?

Also that being open to love and accepting affection doesn't make you "clingy" or "pathetic," but that's a whole 'nother set of youthful issues and one of the many reasons I'm so glad I'm not 20 anymore.

So, I cuddled.

And discovered through legitimate means that I am primarily a "briefly cuddle, then roll to your own side of the bed" kind of person. Since then, I've met lots of women who hate to cuddle and men who love it and concluded that a preference for cuddling has no noticeable correlation to gender, not that you should give a fuck.

And if you're wondering, other reasons I'm glad I'm not 20 anymore include: I no longer continue wearing shoes that are filled up with toe blood by the end of the day, I'm not fresh out of a relationship with my emotionally abusive high-school boyfriend and more importantly, I don't have homework. If I am in some kind of "Big"-like situation, in which I am forced to go back to school and do homework, I'll take the honorable way out and commit harakiri.

So, do you like to cuddle? Or does the warmth of an affectionate human body cause you to shudder and recoil like a witch smelling children? Are you the big spoon or the little spoon? I feel like women are expected to be the little one, but the big spoon is the clearly superior position. Unless your partner "farts into your muff," which Natalie just warned me is a horrifying possibility. Sick.