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Study: Couples cuddle eight times a week

Hug it out, cuddle muffin.

By Kristin Wong Oct 26, 2012 3:48PM

While there are a ton of statistics and studies on how often the average couple copulates, cuddling is generally an uncharted territory of relationship research.

Photo: Andrew Olney/Getty ImagesBut the University of Michigan may have broken new ground when it comes to the science of cuddling. Researchers conducted a study asking over 500 men and women, all in relationships, about their cuddling behavior—everything from frequency, location, duration and quality. They found that the average couple cozies up at least eight times a week.

Reported in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the study found cuddle sessions usually last for just over 45 minutes. Forty-seven minutes and 36 seconds, to be exact. Researchers also discovered that one in six cuddles leads to sex.

So what exactly constitutes a cuddle? The study defined it as an "intimate, physical and loving contact that does not involve sexual behavior and that involves some degree of whole body touching, not just hand to hand or lips to lips."

Unsurprisingly, the study found that women enjoy cuddling more than men. Then again, perhaps that is surprising.

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The sofa, armchair and bed were the most popular places to snuggle up, and couples are most likely to cuddle in the evening, watching TV.

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And before you write off the science of cuddling as silly—physical, non-sexual embrace is quite important to a relationship. Dr. Sari van Anders, one of the study’s researchers, told MSN's The Heart Beat:

"Other scientists have reported that intimacy is important for long-term relationships, and cuddling seems to factor into that as people reported cuddling for love and intimacy reasons."

Photo: Andrew Olney/Getty Images

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