Big Spoon or Little Spoon: What is Spooning?

Why do people like spooning?
on February 12, 2024
Read time: 10 mins

With a nod to its namesake, the humble kitchen utensils, spooning might not sound like the stuff of romance novels, but it's the unsung hero of intimate gestures.

So, what is spooning and is it an important part of your relationship? 

While some couples avoid spooning for fear of the dreaded dead arm, or mouthful of hair, this cuddling position is an instant intimacy booster for couples — naturally bringing them closer than ever. 

And when you’re that close… you can guess where it might also lead. 

Key Takeaways
  • Spooning is a cuddling position where partners lay side by side, facing the same direction. It's likened to the way two spoons lay together in a drawer, symbolizing closeness and comfort without the need for words. This position is seen as an essential gesture of intimacy, reinforcing the bond between partners.
  • Traditionally, the taller partner is the big spoon, wrapping around the smaller partner, who is the little spoon. However, modern preferences see a departure from strict roles, with partners switching positions, sometimes engaging in 'jetpacking', where the smaller partner wraps a leg around the bigger partner, adding a playful element to the dynamic.
  • Spooning releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, enhancing emotional bonds, reducing stress, and contributing to physical well-being. It's a preferred way to feel close and connected, offering warmth and comfort, and is beneficial for relationship health even if not used as a sleeping position.
  • Successfully spooning, especially during sleep, involves minimizing discomfort such as the 'dead arm' or inadvertently pushing your partner off the bed!

What does spooning mean? 

The spooning position is where both partners sleep side by side while both facing the same direction, stomach to back. 

It was coined as spooning due to its similarities to two spoons stacked in a cutlery drawer… Even though that doesn’t make this cuddling position sound quite so romantic. This snuggling position isn’t just an elevated hug, it’s an intimacy home run — a way of saying “I’ve got you” without having to say a word. 

Who is the big spoon and who is the little spoon? 

In the classic spoon position, the taller person acts as the big spoon (for logical reasons!) while the other acts as the little spoon. 

While gender norms usually dictate a certain positioning, people often switch roles so the small spoon wraps their leg around their partner. This position is often known as jetpacking, as the smaller partner looks like a little jetpack on their partner’s back (you have to admit that’s pretty cute too!) 

How do you properly spoon someone while sleeping? 

Mastering the art of spooning, especially during the slumber party that is sleep, is like becoming a snug ninja. It’s all about avoiding that dreaded dead arm, making your partner feel cozy, and of course, not accidentally pushing them off the bed! 

First things first, you need to decide who’s going to be the big spoon and the little spoon. Traditionally, size might dictate your role, but in the modern world of spooning, it's all about preference. Flip a coin, rock-paper scissors, or just go with the flow!

Big spoon, you're up. For traditional spooning, snuggle up behind your partner, mirroring their position. Think of it as fitting two puzzle pieces together! Now for your lower arm, that's going to be the make-or-break for your comfort. Slide it under your partner's neck pillow-style, or tuck it under your head. The top arm goes over your partner, embracing them as you snuggle closer. 

Even though you can get a bit flustered trying to get into the most comfortable position, spooning will most likely happen naturally — don’t stress too much! 

Why do people like spooning? 

Spooning is a fan favorite for many reasons. Not only is it a wonderful way to get up close and personal without the need for conversation, but it’s also an excellent way to warm up those chilly nights or just bask in the afterglow of a Netflix binge…

There are numerous benefits of spooning, as this type of cuddling is one of the best positions to deepen your emotional bond and connection with your partner. While not everyone likes the spooning position for sleeping, it’s still an important part of building intimacy in your relationship.

Spooning releases a range of feel-good hormones, including dopamine, serotonin, and of course the infamous ‘love hormone’ oxytocin. 

Similar to hugging, research shows that spooning leads to the release of the ‘feel good’ or ‘love’ hormone oxytocin which has numerous health benefits — as it can reduce stress, ease pain, lower blood pressure, and even boost your immune system!

No wonder it feels so good! 

Even though you might not want to wake up in this position, spoon-cuddling shouldn’t be skipped as it’s essential for the well-being of your relationship. And of course, it’s not only a sleeping position… 

Is spooning a sex position? 

Oh, the age-old question wrapped in the cozy, albeit slightly cheeky, blanket of spooning lore. Is spooning a sex position? 

Well, perhaps the best thing about this elite cuddling position is its multifunctionality, as it’s naturally easy to transition into sexual intimacy. So while traditional spooning is like a PG-rated film, it doesn’t mean that it can’t progress to something a bit more R-rated later on….

With a little nudge, a wink, and mutual consent, spooning can transition smoothly into a more intimate encounter. If you do decide to take things up a notch, the sexual version of the spoon is often known as the ‘Spork’. 

Another super sexy name, but we’re sure that you get the idea! 

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