Cuddling is a far better indicator of strength of a relationship than having sex, indicates new research.
"Cuddling provides not just sensual pleasure, but also a feeling of comfort, security and companionship, all of which are just as important to a relationship as sex," the Daily Mail quoted Paula Hall, relationship expert for online dating service Parship, as saying.
In fact, maintaining an intimate connection without the wild abandon of the hormonal early days can be vital for a happy relationship.
"The advantage of non-sexual intimacy is that couples often use this time together to talk about their emotional lives," said Hall.
"Whereas when sex is their only way of getting close, couples who find emotional openness difficult often rely on making love to help them connect. They can find themselves missing out on other levels of intimacy," added Hall.
If sex is the focus, it can mean that emotional problems are never discussed - whereas non-sexual touching, such as cuddling and stroking, encourages more relaxed bonding and intimate conversation, due in large part to the crucial "cuddle hormone" oxytocin.
"Oxytocin is produced by touch and, as well as making us feel good, it also inspires us to touch more," said Hall.
"That means that the more you touch, the closer you feel and the more you want to touch," she added.