I’m a man who enjoys a good cuddle. There are few things more relaxing or intimate than going to bed early on a chilly night, getting under some flannel sheets, and spooning with your partner until you both fall asleep.
First off if you don’t already know, you might be asking… what is spooning?
Spooning can be interpreted in two different ways: as a type of cuddling position and also as a sex position.
Urban dictionary defines spooning as, “when two people lie on their sides and the outside individual has their body against the other’s back and an arm over them.” The person on the outside is the big spoon and the person on the inside is the little spoon.
Sexually, spooning is another form of the doggy style sex position, except laying down, where the two partners lay on their sides. Typically the someone is the “little spoon,” with their back to the “big spoon” person, who is facing their partner’s backside.
But cuddling and spooning can be surprisingly tricky positions for cuddling and/or sleeping, especially for the big spoon.
Do guys like spooning?
It depends on the person. Some people love it and some dislike it.
Surprisingly, studies have shown that men actually favor cuddling as an important factor in long-term relationship satisfaction because they crave physical touch and physical intimacy.
When spooning with women, some actually love being the big spoon which is great if you always wanted to be the little spoon, but have never tried.
Cuddling and spooning can actually benefit your relationship because by cuddling and spooning more often you can deepen feelings in the relationship.
There are actually health benefits of spooning — cuddling helps your nervous system to relax and can improve immune health.
When you’re spooning, feel-good hormones are released from your brain that help counterbalances all your stress hormones.
Research suggests that you sleep better after spooning, too.
Now, in my experience, stereotypically the man is typically the big or outer spoon while the woman is typically the little or inner spoon, but it has less to do with gender politics and more to do with relative size.
I’m much bigger than my wife, so the outer spoon feels like the natural position for me. (I’m definitely not saying men can’t be the inner spoon. Sometimes that’s awesome.) When she’s the outer spoon, for me, it feels less like I’m being hugged and more like I’m Luke Skywalker training on Dagobah with Yoda on my back.
However, even though spooning is cuddly and warm — and can occasionally lead to sex — it’s not always the most comfortable position in the world for many men.
There are… problems, things we quietly tolerate because we don’t want to be the jerk who ruins the relaxed vibe of the overall spoon.
It’s not that we’re anti-cuddle. It’s just that spooning isn’t without its own particular challenges.
Here are 6 things men secretly think about the spooning position — but don’t want to admit to their partners:
1. Spooning gives guys dead arms.
Remember that line from Jerry Maguire? Wasn’t it adorable?
Well, now imagine someone taking a child-sized eight-pound bowling ball and placing it on your upper arm for eight hours. Would that be comfortable?
It’s so sweet having your partner’s head cuddled up on your arm until your arm goes dead and you can’t feel your fingertips anymore.
So, if your partner is trying to place a pillow between your head and their arm, it’s not that they don’t love the feel of skin-on-skin, they just know that, in ten minutes, their arm is going to be a painful, bloodless lump of pins and needles.
2. Pillows don’t really help with dead arms during spooning.
And placing the pillow between your head and their arm? It only delays the inevitable. It adds a layer of cushion, for sure, so there’s not as much dead weight on our arms, but eventually, we can feel the numbness spreading and we’ve got to get our arm out of there.
How bad is it? I’ve had moments in bed where I’ve completely irrationally thought about how comfortable I’d be without a right arm.
No disrespect to amputees at all, I’m just saying the “arm under the head” guys spooning position can be a logistical headache for the big spoon.
3. Hair can get in the way of spooning.
It looks so good and I’m glad you didn’t go with bangs, too, but think about it — your hair is going to be in my face all night. Like I’m going to be inhaling your hair directly into my mouth. That’s not fun.
With that in mind, anything you can do to help us out would be greatly appreciated. Maybe shower right before bed, so your hair is still wet and plastered down a bit. Or don’t opt for a perm. Or don’t question us when we twist our pillow to make a little retaining wall between our mouths and your hair.
Because, even though we love you, we don’t want to spend all night tasting your product.
4. Sometimes you fart.
It happens. Sometimes it happens a lot. And there’s nothing we can do about it.
You’re asleep, your body relaxes, and it just comes out. And, thanks to the typical spooning position, you’re farting directly into my crotch. Which is fine. It’s cute.
Just keep that in mind the next time you act like you’re dying when we let one squeak out on the couch.
5. As the big spoon, we balance our phone on you.
The thing about spooning is — in a perfect world, both people involved in the spoon would fall asleep at exactly the same time. But, in reality, that doesn’t always happen. That means, as the big spoon, we’re in the position where we’re wide awake with an unconscious person pinning our right arm in place.
So what do we do? We watch TV. The age of streaming video had been a godsend to the inequitable spooning relationship. I just use my left arm to balance my phone on my little spoon’s upper arm, turn on Netflix, and I watch Parks & Recreation until my right arm goes numb.
Little spoons make great media stands.
6. We don’t break the spoon because we don’t love you.
We just have to pee.
And our arm hurts.
But mostly we have to pee.
(We still love you, though.)
How do you comfortably spoon a woman?
If you decide to be a big spoon then you need to know how to comfortable spoon a woman and make sure that you’re comfortable as well.
When you’re the big spoon you have to wrap your arms around your partner with your stomach resting on their back and your arms either under their torso and the other over their torso. However, your arm might fall asleep so you could just move it under your head or bent behind their back.
When you’re the little spoon lean in as close as possible to your partner behind you so the two of you can get close and maybe hold or lock your fingers with your partner’s hand that’s wrapped around over your torso.
Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. After years of obsessing about what his daughter was reading, he founded Building-a-Library, a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids.