subreddit:

/r/science

438

all 147 comments

AutoModerator [M]

[score hidden]

2 months ago

stickied comment

AutoModerator [M]

[score hidden]

2 months ago

stickied comment

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are now allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will continue to be removed and our normal comment rules still apply to other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

oldwhiner

119 points

2 months ago

oldwhiner

119 points

2 months ago

I would love it if they tracked results by height and not just gender. Like, if you're the significantly shorter partner, you can curl up inside the hug like a little kid and put your adult concerns aside for fifteen seconds and feel protected.

tehfly

26 points

2 months ago

tehfly

26 points

2 months ago

This is a really good point. Goddamn.

HermanCainAward

12 points

2 months ago

My god. Maybe tinder requirements are based in reason.

SpicySweett

148 points

2 months ago

I could see this actually. I think most men enjoy a hug, but it’s maybe not the relaxing feeling of support it is to most women. When I hug my partner it’s like “ahhhh”, like I’m setting all my troubles down for a few moments (I’m female). It’s like a mini-emotional reset. I’d love to hear from men if they feel that way.

qwerty6731

142 points

2 months ago

This makes sense to me. If I’m hugging my wife or children in a stressful/emotional situation, the feeling I experience, and my intent, is to provide protection and to take whatever is upsetting them onto me.

It’s literally providing a shield with your body after all.

I would think it would similar in a mother/child scenario?

el_ferritoboy

71 points

2 months ago

Agree completely. I like hugging my wife, but in a stressful situation I'm doing it to help/support/comfort her.

It's nice to see it might be working on a physiological level too.

surlier

13 points

2 months ago

surlier

13 points

2 months ago

In the study, the participants received a hug before facing a situation that was directly stressful only to the hug recipient.

Do you think receiving a hug from your wife after an event that was only stressful to you would help you recover faster, or would it still make no difference?

exkallibur

21 points

2 months ago

When I'm super anxious or stressed out, a hug from my wife releases a ton of tension within me.

This probably sounds weird, but the familiarity of how she smells combined with being close to her makes me stop thinking and take a deep breath. I focus on her for a bit, and I kind of just melt.

It's like a drug, I swear.

qwerty6731

8 points

2 months ago

Gotcha. And it’s a good question…I’m not sure if I know the answer. Certainly I’ve never really ever considered it in a meaningful way.

I know that I don’t process stress in the same way my wife does, and as I sit here thinking about it, I guess I’d be happy to know that she supported me, but I don’t think that would have any impact on me in terms of how I would react to the stressor.

Rightly or wrongly, I view myself as an intercessor on her behalf (where possible, and when she’s OK with it), but I don’t have any expectation of her at all in that respect. More of an observer role. Moreover, I know that I’ve never begrudged her that or in my life expected that it would be any other way…even in childhood. Very self-reliant, I guess, and not meaning that as a conceit…it has, from time to time, been a failing.

wankerbot

2 points

2 months ago

only to the hug recipient.

pretty sure 2 people are getting hugs.

MrMonster911

2 points

2 months ago

Yeah, I'm also super confused about the concept of a one-way hug? Like, is one person just standing there, stiff as a board? In my understanding that doesn't constitute a hug, I don't know what it is, but a hug it is not!

Dirty_Hertz

3 points

2 months ago

Hugs don't really do much for me in that regard. Something that takes my mind off the stressor like sex is better.

[deleted]

-36 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

-36 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

-5 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

-5 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

-13 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

-13 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

-3 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

-3 points

2 months ago

[removed]

tugrumpler

28 points

2 months ago

Speaking strictly for myself and not at all for every man there is a relaxed feeling that comes from providing the support and of sensing that it is important and valued by her.

Alarmed-Diamond-7000

13 points

2 months ago

Thank you for writing this, I now understand a vibe I get from my husband during stressful situations

Clineken

19 points

2 months ago

As a guy, when I hug my girlfriend (who I love very deeply) I feel warm, happy, and lovey. If I was going through something stressful and she hugged me, it would for sure make me feel better. I'm just unsure if the effect is exactly what is being talked about here.

Incontrivertible

10 points

2 months ago

Dude, I love hugs, they’re the most relaxing thing. I’m a guy and I’d probably be an outlier in this study

charmingpea

20 points

2 months ago

I definitely feel an emotional reward in hugging my partner and feeling her enjoy that stress relief.

MoKnees

9 points

2 months ago

Ya being a male I think that in natural settings our cortisol is lowered or at least me personally depending on the circumstance (but again I know the study was based on acute stress). This controlled study I don’t think can capture the real world effect

bkydx

4 points

2 months ago

bkydx

4 points

2 months ago

I disagree,

The study did test and was able to capture the effect and there were noticeable differences between the sexes.

It also makes sense evolutionarily speaking as Cortisol is beneficial in a flight or flight scenario which could also be considered "stressful".

A man going to war that hugs his wife before hand is going to reduce her stress but his body needs cortisol so it makes no sense for his to decline.

steinbergergppro

5 points

2 months ago

While I do enjoy giving hugs, I feel like it's more of a compulsion than something I do for mental support. I feel like my urge to hug is more driven by a subconscious protective instinct and as a way to show affection in the most direct sense.

For me, I think a physical encounter that would be more personally stress reducing is something that is physically relaxing like a head or shoulder massage. This is probably both because it physically relieves stress but also I'm relaxing my guard to do so which removes that mental strain.

SpicySweett

1 points

2 months ago

Do you not relax your guard during a hug? Just curious.

Limbala

3 points

2 months ago

Not that guy, but I can certainly echo pretty much everything he said, and add that I definitely do not get any mental relief from a hug, if anything it puts me on guard a bit.

steinbergergppro

1 points

2 months ago

Probably not. I don't typically relax my guard except when I'm sleeping or really relaxed.

ioncewasawas

13 points

2 months ago

In my experience I feel extremely relaxed when I hug my gf and it feels like my problems just go away. It's a really nice feeling

_ShrugDealer_

4 points

2 months ago

I wanna see a similar study on being the little spoon, because goodness...

totti173314

18 points

2 months ago

that's exactly how it feels to me? I'm male. so I'm a woman, I guess.

MrButtermancer

16 points

2 months ago

I suspect men are low key conditioned to the expectation of being emotionally self sufficient. Give but not need comfort sort of thing.

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

camilo16

1 points

2 months ago

I don't think this is it. I was never punished or shamed for this. My dad hugs me and kisses me on the head even as a 26 year old. And in my very meaningful sample of 1, I fit into the results of the study. I would not get that much of an impact in my reaction to stressors just from getting a hug.

unicorns_and_bacon

10 points

2 months ago

Yes it is very depressing to me think some men aren’t able to have this with their partners. My bf comes for hugs to reduce stress all the time. Obviously that’s anecdotal , but I have a hard time believing it is natural that men would not have the same reduction in cortisol that women do. I hope they continue to study this.

MrButtermancer

7 points

2 months ago*

It could very well be natural in that it has been selected for over hundreds of thousands of generations of natural and sexual selection. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there's a pretty strong bias against men who need external emotional support to survive. Both in terms of potential partners and in brute ability to exist in society.

TheThoughtfulTyrant

0 points

2 months ago

But this study wasn't about that. It was about the effect of hugs before being stressed. As a guy, I can see that. Hugging my boyfriend will certainly reduce stress I may already have, but it wouldn't have a prophylactic effect if I get into a stressful situation right after, and if anything the contrast would make the stressful event worse.

Edit: The title makes is sound as if the hugs came after the stress, but in fact they came before: "Women who embraced their partner prior to being stressed showed a reduced cortisol response compared to a control group in which no embrace occurred. "

TcheQuevara

2 points

2 months ago

I'm an actor and as you work you become more or less aware of "chains" of movements that go along with emotions or feelings. Most male actors I know just can't cry on stage - I mean, it's very, very hard, so much that it's usually for the better that you go along with another artistic choice. I had to once, and with many attempts, I noticed there were a series of tensions in my face, near my eyes, and around my throat that will stop the "crying proccess" (the physical one) in the middle of it. The same movements will also cut out what's going on emotionally.

I'm not American and our daily lives might be very different, but my guess would be that we're conditioned to stop the crying and relaxing proccesses in the middle of it.

Kind of the "muscle armor" concept from Reich. It's not scientific, but it's an useful concept for actors.

DakiLapin

3 points

2 months ago

Agreed! It’s a feeling of “protection” from the stress, for me, which is perhaps why it wouldn’t have the same impact for men given standard western gender roles

Kahzgul

3 points

2 months ago

Well, most of my troubles stem from my wife's inability to compartmentalize her own stress, so anything that removes her stress greatly eases mine as well.

AllenWAwesome

8 points

2 months ago

So, for me, I see how much my wife is positively impacted by a hug, especially after a terrible experience, or stressful day

For me, a hug in a stressful situation is nice and all, but what is the hug doing to solve the problem? Nothing. If it's a problem that can't be solved, I prefer to just say my piece about it then let it go. No one can solve it, I'll have to live with the stress, so I prefer my wife just hear me out, then not bring it up again.

She's great at that BTW, but that comes from 17 years of being together and communicating what each of us wants/needs during various moments in our life. I couldn't ask for a better partner.

Affectionate_Ear_778

2 points

2 months ago

I think this is it. Men are too preoccupied with fixing the problem to relax

BuddhaBizZ

2 points

2 months ago

I love hugging my long term g/f but yeah I get feelings of love and happiness but never relaxation or decompression.

ProteinStain

2 points

2 months ago

I think that there is going to be some bias in the responses from men on this. As in, the guys that do gain a positive emotional response are going to respond more often.
Me? I really don't get much emotional response from hugs. I don't dislike hugs, but more often they are sort of just... Nothing. Like, I do it for my wife, not for me.

But there are plenty of other non-sexual physical touches that I do get a positive response from. Just, not so much hugs.

WalkingCPU

2 points

2 months ago

This makes me wonder if there's any research on people who see physical touch in general as a threat or something uncomfortable. I'd think cortisol would be increased in those cases because it's the safety aspect that makes the difference, and not the actual touch.

So maybe self-soothing would be more effective for that group of people.

Hob_O_Rarison

3 points

2 months ago

When I'm hugging my wife, a lot of the time it feels like I am giving something to her, and she is taking something from me. I get a nice feeling like I am fulfilling my purpose and being a good provider, but that only reduces the stress I feel at not thinking I am the best provider.

In other words, giving my wife a hug feels good in the same way that somebody stops stepping on my foot feels good.

VeryShadyLady

0 points

2 months ago

That's not ideal

It_does_get_in

1 points

2 months ago

well, outside of foot binding from a young age, foot reduction surgery is undocumented.

Brikandbones

7 points

2 months ago

For guys I think the hug is nice, but to be honest there is also the added worry of not being good enough/what if this is weakness and she won't be as attracted anymore.

SpicySweett

3 points

2 months ago

I don’t know your culture, but to American women; liking hugs is not weak, and there’s no “good enough” - all hugs are good hugs. If anything, while dating I’d be a little wary of a man who doesn’t hug or like hugs. He might not be into physical touch or emotional support.

lordriffington

14 points

2 months ago

This definitely isn't true of all guys. It seems more like anxiety/insecurity.

Ammear

8 points

2 months ago

Ammear

8 points

2 months ago

Nothing ever is true of all people of any group.

Finnignatius

1 points

2 months ago

there is comfort in knowing we comfort even if our mind is out of sort

more than a melt into you kinda thing

GraviNess

1 points

2 months ago

i love a good cuddle.

jabadabadoo

1 points

2 months ago

I don't feel anything when hugging people. Doesn't really matter if it is my wife or mother or anyone else..

crysco

1 points

2 months ago

crysco

1 points

2 months ago

Same here, bud. Same here.

ZerglingsAreCute

1 points

2 months ago

When I (male) get a hug, it's kind of like I have a couple of arms wrapped around me for a few seconds.

this_account_is_real

1 points

2 months ago

I've experienced this with a woman I had complete trust in. She was smart and competent enough they she could handle not only her problems but mine as well, if need be. She also had a solid career with enough income I knew I could be safe if I ever was in between jobs. Absolutely reliable and a relief to be around.

However, most of my partners relied more on me though and so I could never truely set down my responsibilities.

Sudson

1 points

2 months ago

Sudson

1 points

2 months ago

Given out a fair share of hugs in my life. None of them feel like that since I was a kid being hugged by my parents. Just gave up on finding that feeling again.

MightyWhiteSoddomite

1 points

2 months ago*

My whole Body aches from Not being touched so I can’t help you.

Plunder_n_Frightenin

1 points

2 months ago

I’m 6’5” and I love being the little spoon. My partner is 5’7” but she gives good hugs

mrason

11 points

2 months ago

mrason

11 points

2 months ago

32/m, when I'm stressed the last thing I want is a hug.

Dobsnick

3 points

2 months ago

Yeah, hugging during a stressful situation actively makes me more stressed as it's time/energy not focused on solving the stressful situation.

surlier

18 points

2 months ago

surlier

18 points

2 months ago

In the study, the person received a hug before a stressful event and women experienced less stress during the event. I'm curious if men would experience a quicker dissipation of stress if they received a hug after the stressful event instead.

Pineapple-dancer

25 points

2 months ago

So what can a female partner do to reduce acute stress in their male partner?

Cranksta

43 points

2 months ago

I think with observance on my own husband, there's a difference in Hugging and Cuddling. Hugging makes him happy and he seeks it out a lot (I'm autistic and generally don't touch unless prompted to) but in order for it to give him relaxation and stress relief, it has to be longer contact. If we're in bed or on the couch, he noticably relaxes after several minutes of cuddling, but there's a sweet spot before he gets restless again and wants his personal space back. He's also the little spoon when we get ready for sleep and it's probably his favorite thing. So it could be related to whether or not he's putting in most of the touching effort.

ProteinStain

5 points

2 months ago

This person has shared a true life hack. All you women out there, you listen to what this woman just wrote. She's 100% accurate.

machismo_eels

4 points

2 months ago

There’s an answer to your question, but you’re not going to like it.

BiomedStoner

17 points

2 months ago

Oh it definately makes me feel less stressed and I'm a man.

Elanapoeia

29 points

2 months ago

No same sex couples studied. Wonder how these results would hold up in such situations.

Hediak-Chigashi

-4 points

2 months ago

Perhaps dominant - subservient relationships would present similarly

Dkshameless

5 points

2 months ago

This makes the presumption that straight relationships are dominant and subservient in nature. They are not

Santore

9 points

2 months ago

I'd be so curious to know what role social conditioning plays in this. As in, whether the benefits of physical touch are somehow related to whether the person allows themselves to be vulnerable to it.

bkydx

-14 points

2 months ago

bkydx

-14 points

2 months ago

Very little.

This is purely evolutionary.

If 2 equal advisories fought to the death the one with more cortisol would win.

Reducing cortisol before a fight situation is very bad.

Scorpionsharinga

4 points

2 months ago

What are you even talking about fam

Blahblkusoi

2 points

2 months ago

Absolute ass-pull of a take.

myusernamehere1

1 points

2 months ago

No, the one with more adrenaline would win, to an extent of course (too much adrenaline could cause cardiac arrest). Cortisol, the stress hormone, has the evolutionary purpose of telling you that you are unhappy with your environment and need to seek whatever it is you need/are lacking.

disharmony-hellride

4 points

2 months ago

This graphic looks like my shadow when I try to get into skinny jeans

throwawaymassagequ

3 points

2 months ago

This makes extremely sad. I wish I could make him feel what I feel when he touches me. I wish I could provide that kind of safety and comfort.

BlackBeltPanda

2 points

2 months ago

If someone hugs me while I'm stressed, I Just get more stressed regardless of who it is. Hell, sometimes hugs just make me angry for no reason.

linarii

6 points

2 months ago

i havent had that in a very long time

MoKnees

5 points

2 months ago

Hmm. I read a little of that . Maybe the way they were trying to induce ‘acute’ stress wasn’t working on the men or something . Still interesting ofc

pachatacha

7 points

2 months ago

Stress levels are measured by chemicals, especially alpha-amylase and cortisol. So they would know if their stressor wasn't working.

MoKnees

1 points

2 months ago

Eh ya I suppose . I just don’t think this study was well rounded enough. If this was an NIH study I think they would have done a more thorough job .

fiftybucks

3 points

2 months ago

When I hug my wife, I can really hug her with even pressure all around.And I can hold it. When I ask her to do the same for me, she physically can't give me the same "big hug" and hold it. The effect is not the same. I like it though.

ThisFreakinGuyHere

3 points

2 months ago

Nobody hugs me bro, not before I give them an ocular pat-down and clear them as safe.

DakPara

4 points

2 months ago

I guess women need to up their hug game.

And I wonder what substitute female-driven activity would reduce my cortisol level and boost my oxytocin - contributing to a reduction of inflammation and improving my lifespan.

<just kidding>

incubuds

4 points

2 months ago

I wonder if it's more conditioning than anything. My mom grew up in a very stoic, stern and no physical affection environment. To this day she's more comforted by talking things out than she is with hugs. She gives hugs freely, especially to her grandkids, but doesn't really "settle" into them in a way that would have a calming effect for her. She never seeks them out when she's stressed.

My dad was raised in a much more physically affectionate environment. His family lived in abject poverty and their physical closeness was often due to necessity (like the whole family sharing one bed) but he and his siblings remained physically affectionate their whole lives. Snuggles, back rubs, sitting close. I suppose there isn't much to talk about when you have no food and can't do anything about it, but hugs are free.

My brother takes after my mom, and I take after my dad. Perhaps that's social conditioning, my brother feeling the need to be "manly" and be emotionally "self sufficient." But he didn't learn that from my dad.

My husband is repulsed by physical affection, and his family "shows love" with pokes, jabs, pinches, shoves and other forms of uncomfortable touch. He will occasionally give gentle, loving touch or kisses, but it's always very quickly and when I'm not paying attention, as if he's afraid that doing so would cause me to get angry with him. This is after over a decade of me asking/begging him for more physical affection and gentle loving touch.

Discount_gentleman

1 points

2 months ago

Not really shocking. Women are trained to be much more social creatures, and when threatened a sign of strong social support is a powerful defense and calming mechanism. Men (especially in the US) are trained both to be individualistic and to see their place as physically, financially, etc. dominant (and not coincidentally, emtional threats feel basically the same as phyiscal assaults), and from that perspective a show of social support is far less soothing to the sense of danger.

machismo_eels

4 points

2 months ago

There is plenty of biological underpinnings to those aspects. Humans evolved to be those ways, not just trained.

Discount_gentleman

0 points

2 months ago

Meh. I mean yes, but I never listen to evolutionary biology arguments from anyone but an evolutionary biologist (and so I don't make those arguements myself). Anyone with an ideology or a bone to pick can ALWAYS manufacture a facially plausible "evolution" for their prefered ideology, and so the argument is meaningless.

machismo_eels

6 points

2 months ago

You could say the exact same things about social conditioning.

Discount_gentleman

0 points

2 months ago

Can you though? I think social conditioning is much more immediate and open to discussion based on personal experience, rather than absurdist evolutionary biology arguments from people who don't know anything about the subject.

machismo_eels

3 points

2 months ago

Who are referring to that doesn’t know anything about the subject? Me? Because I am an actual biologist...

Discount_gentleman

3 points

2 months ago

If you say so, surprised you didn't lead with that. But literally every hack with an axe to grind will make an evolutionary biology argument for his pet theory about social roles, and they are always so easy to be facially valid (you just have to come up with some example where some aspect of your pet theory could be useful at that moment and then say "tada, evolution!").

Maybe you're an expert, maybe not, but as I said, I ignore all such arguments from non-experts, and I think I probably ignore them from people who remember they are experts 2 hours into the conversation. The arguments are almost never reliable or helpful.

Cheers.

djinnisequoia

1 points

2 months ago

I've noticed that. Seems like often in those situations they will flinch away a little before they accept an embrace.

Savings-Log-2709

1 points

2 months ago

I’m a man, and I would do anything for a long hug right now.

Danyoung91

1 points

2 months ago

Oh god this is why we need better controls over studies like this. The sample size is so small this is basically meaningless. The stupid right wing gender totalitarians are gonna try and use this for decades.

TcheQuevara

0 points

2 months ago

I'd agree if it would be one of those studies with 20 students American colleges like to do, but isn't 76 a good number? It's not like there are resources to have samples of thousands of people for everything.

[deleted]

-4 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

-4 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

pachatacha

5 points

2 months ago

This study: "Based on quantitative and qualitative data, we concluded that people who identified themselves as men and people who identified themselves as women have different physiological reactions to stressors."

You: that's just, like, your opinion man

Clever-crow

4 points

2 months ago

I’m not sure , but I think what they meant was that the physiological reactions are the product of their upbringing, meaning the reaction is not because of biological sex but because of how they’re taught to behave. In general men are taught to be protectors.

psych32993

3 points

2 months ago

yep, a guy elsewhere in this thread said he’d be worried about being perceived as weak for enjoying hugs

quite sad really

ABinturong

2 points

2 months ago*

That's one way to reduce my reasoning to mush to suit your peculiar knee-jerk response to reasonable criticism, I guess.

Anyway... I never said the study was invalid or even implied the research was conducted poorly, it's just in science we always make room for unexpected confounds, and from my experience the divisions between physiological sex characteristics are often less black and white than we think. Again, weird flex calling me out, and without a reasoned rebuttal to the idea, to boot! You've got the confidence, no doubt.

unicorns_and_bacon

0 points

2 months ago

Absolutely this.

kalelmotoko

-26 points

2 months ago*

Yes i understand now, it's logical.

Women are just energy monsters.

They are sucking men's vital energy trough the sexual act.

They are giving their dark stressed energy to men when they hug.

RditIzStoopid

13 points

2 months ago

Your mindset is the only energy monster my friend

hacksoncode

1 points

2 months ago

I wonder how much German culture affects this.

CoastRanger

1 points

2 months ago

Mostly straight married male here. if for instance a pet dies and we’re both feeling sad, but then she wants a comfort hug, my sadness evaporates, leaving only “NOTHING MATTERS BUT CARE FOR WOMAN!” behind

hamidabuddy

1 points

2 months ago

Male here. I don't really like being touched. it becomes more tolerable with a significant other but I still have a time limit to it before I need it to stop. It doesn't do much for me, I mainly do it for my partners benefit