Experts warn that cuddling may be killing your sex life

With summer on its way and temperatures heating up, the nights are getting stickier and sweatier - and as we all know, it's tougher to lie lazily intertwined with your partner in bed as the mercury rises above 25C. 

But could that actually be helping our sex life? Yes, according to experts.

Love and relationship therapists warn that too much snuggling could mean our sex lives are suffering, as the intimacy replaces that of sex. 

Listen to Sez and Mon discuss the pros and cons of cuddling in the latest episode of Newshub podcast The Snack. 

Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist who hosts popular podcast Where Should We Begin, which brings listeners in to listen to counselling sessions between couples.

She writes in her book Mating in Captivity that she's firmly in the anti-cuddling camp and says love depends on two pillars: togetherness and separateness. Too much of one and the other one suffers.

In this context, cuddling represents togetherness, while separateness represents desire and eroticism.

"There is a complex relationship between love and desire, and it is not a cause-and-effect, linear arrangement," she explains.

"A couple's emotional life together and their physical life together each have their ebbs and flows, their ups and downs, but these don't always correspond. They intersect, they influence each other, but they're also distinct."

Aussie sex and relationship therapist Chantelle Otten agrees, telling Mamamia we're often accidentally killing our sex lives by cuddling to create intimacy.

"It's very individual for each couple, but often in our efforts to establish intimacy - such as cuddling, being close, holding hands and getting as close as possible to the other person - we work to eliminate 'otherness'. Otherness is that space between you needed for desire to develop and flourish," Otten says. 

"Cuddling is really good because it does develop that sense of togetherness... but we need to also be able to tolerate our separateness and the insecurity that comes with that. 

"It's a precondition in maintaining interest and desire in a relationship."

It turns out it's not just cuddling each other - being overly affectionate with Rex the Lab isn't helping either (sorry pet lovers). 

Dr Chelsea Page writes that often we can get so caught up giving our pets attention, we forget about each other. 

"Fido can wiggle its way between the emotional connection of your relationship in several ways. Ask yourself, am I greeting my dogs when I come home before I greet my partner?" she advises. 

"A dog's eager attention-seeking can easily get in the way of this important connection between you and your partner.

"Or perhaps you are giving some awesome petting and playtime to your pup when your partner is craving some attention from you, or vise versa."

So if you and your partner are both total cuddle monsters, why not spice things up a little? Try a date night where you're not allowed to touch each other for the whole evening: no hand holds walking to drinks, no cuddling in the movies. 

Once you're home - all bets are off!