What's the spoon position?

Dear Alice,

I have heard a lot about many different sexual positions. One that I have heard of but never known is spooning. I have heard it used in terms other than sexual (i.e., two people lying together). The friends I have questioned on this have not heard of it so they are of little help. Can you tell me what spooning is?



Dear Spooned,

Spooning is a form of physical intimacy that involves two people cuddling one another, laying side by side and facing the same direction on a bed, a sofa, the floor, the beach, the grass, a train seat, the roof — okay, you get the idea. Usually, the big spoon (person in the back) has their arms wrapped around the little spoon (person in the front), hugging them from behind like two spoons stacked side-by-side in a silverware drawer. Get it? — Spooning. Of course, spooning can also lead to forking (sex)… and adding a spoonful of sugar to your repertoire can be helpful in sweetening things up in the bedroom!

Physical intimacy, like cuddling or spooning, is a defining feature of intimate relationships across the lifespan, and is especially critical in adult romantic relationships. For many people, it’s just about closeness and comfort. A study found that couples tend to feel a sense of security, protection, and relaxation following a cuddle session. That’s what makes spooning so unique — it involves aspects of nurturance (warmth, closeness, loving touch), while simultaneously eliciting an increase in testosterone, a response similar to that of sexual activity.

Some adjusting might be necessary depending on each person's height and build, but if a spoonful of sex were on the menu, a penis could be in the vagina or anus of a partner, all while staying in the same spooning position. For women who are pregnant, spooning can also provide a comfortable sex position by keeping pressure off the uterus and limiting the depth of penetration.

All this to say, whether you are cuddling, spooning, or forking — intimate and loving contact is an essential component of romantic relationships.

Originally published Aug 14, 2015

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