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Kiss or cuddle is what people crave

sex-and-relationships Updated: Jan 18, 2011 18:20 IST

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It has been nearly 50 years since Elvis Presley released the smash hit It’s now or never, in which he goes on to plead, Come hold me tight, kiss me my darling, be mine tonight.

And according to a latest research on expressions of intimacy, a close embrace or kiss is what people crave for rather than just sex.

"People want emotional intimacy, to feel bonded and romantically attached to another," said researcher Justin Garcia, a SUNY Fellow in the Laboratory of Evolutionary Anthropology and Health at Binghamton University.

Couple"This drive lies deep within our evolved biology; and while sex is important, so too is the drive to connect to a lover," he said.

His study showed that roughly 95 percent of men and women said they would like to cuddle amongst other intimate behaviours. But, the context of whom they are cuddling with matters a lot.

In romantic relationships, 97 percent of both men and women reported that they like to cuddle up close with their partner, but in uncommitted sexual hook-ups only 52 percent of men and 61 percent of women like to cuddle.

The same general trend appears for a host of intimate behavioural expressions. According to Garcia, there are two important things to be learnt from this study.

"A majority of both men and women like to kiss and cuddle," he said.

"The sexes aren't as different in our desire for love as we often think. But it is important to note that the context of these affiliative gestures makes a lot of difference," he added.

While a majority of us like to cuddle, kiss, and hold our partners in our arms, it often matters how emotionally bonded we are to that partner.

"In some cases, these behaviours are about trying to become emotionally closer to the partner," said Garcia.

"We quite often see that sex isn't always just about sex - it is often one of many ways to find someone to love," he added.