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.
How Do You 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."
Big Spoon vs. 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 backside 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.
If you're the big spoon, 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.
What Are Some Different Spooning Positions?
If you get tired of traditional spooning, switch it up with these variations:
Spoons in a Drawer: Here, the big spoon lies flat on their back while the little spoon lies face down, resting their head on the other's chest. One of the little spoon's legs should rest between the big spoon's legs.
Big Spoon and Baby Spoon: In this position, both spoons face each other, and the small spoon faces the big spoon, lying in a fetal position. This is ideal if you want the physical intimacy of spooning with the added benefit of eye contact.
Is Forking a Thing?
You've probably heard the phrase, "spooning leads to forking," which might get a few laughs at a high school cafeteria. There are two ways to interpret this, the first being that forking is a twist on f******. There's some validity to this, considering spooning is an excellent segue to foreplay and can double as a sex position.
But there's also an alternate cuddling position called forking, which involves two people lying on top of each other with their legs alternately interlocking, resembling two interlocking forks. Far less common—much more erotic.
4 Reasons to Start Spooning Right Now
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, enhance your sex life, 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 snuggling.
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 precisely what's supposed to happen.
"Spooning helps our nervous system relax," says Rebecca Hendrix, a psychotherapist in New York City. "We 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. 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 where you can comfortably sleep and have sex, spoons might very well be the only option in the middle.
Your bodies are correctly 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 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 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:
- 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.
- If you want a more advanced solution, you can snag one of these tunnel-shaped pillows that create space between your arm and the head of the little spoon.
Getting Hot as Hell
Bodies basically turn into electric blankets when lying 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.