Most couples will be spending a lot more time sitting on the sofa in lockdown, but surprisingly the way they relax together in the living room could reveal a lot more about the relationship than they realise.
A poll of over 2,000 people in relationships, by sofa and carpet specialist, ScS, revealed that 40% of people like to snuggle up on the sofa with their significant other, with the majority (60%) preferring their own space.
By far the most popular position to sit is on two separate sofas (37%), suggesting that British couples like to have their own space.
Sitting with one partner’s legs resting on the other’s came second, with one in five Brits saying it’s their favourite way to unwind (20%), followed by sitting together, touching but not cuddling (18%).
Spooning was a lot less popular, with only 6% of the vote. That said, twice as many men voted for spooning as women (8% vs 4%).
London was revealed as the cuddliest city, with 51% saying they prefer to cuddle on the sofa, remaining physically close to their partner.
Contrastingly those in Southampton like to chill out independently and have their own space, as more than half (52%) prefer to sit on different sofas.
Body language expert and psychologist, Dr Georgina Barnett, helped to uncover what each of the top positions might mean for couples.
Here, she looks at the UK’s seven favourite ways to sit with partners, and discusses what they might mean for relationships.
- Sat on different sofas – 37% sit this way with their partner
Generally, we find this position in a long-term relationship and it does not indicate any problems, but rather a couple that has grown used to each other over the years.
The lack of proximity in this position can indicate that the couple are possibly more independent and free-spirited.
When spending so much time together in lockdown it is a good idea for couples to spend time focusing on their individual needs and interests, and sitting separately is a great way to do this.
- Legs on lap – 20%
Whoever has their legs on their partner is the one in control. The person with their legs over their partner is to some degree demanding attention and has the dominant position – possibly in the relationship, as well as in the moment.
This position usually indicates a happy relationship, signifying a couple that are comfortable with each other.
- Sat side-by-side (touching but not cuddling) – 18%
This is the position of a happy and contented couple. They may not be in the first flush of passion, but they are connected and seeking to maintain contact with each other.
Couples who sit in this position have confidence in the relationship and have a level of trust that allows for a healthy amount of space. There is intimacy combined with freedom.
- Sat at opposite sides of the sofa – 16%
This position is sometimes known as ‘bookends’ and indeed is a visual representation of what is happening in the relationship. It usually indicates a couple that has become detached.
Detachment in a relationship, however, isn’t a bad thing but can be beneficial as it means neither is afraid of being alone, so both of you allow each other to have enough freedom to be fully yourselves, despite being committed to each other.
- Cuddling in the corner – 12%
There is closeness in this relationship, and this position can also signify a power differential in the relationship.
The person spread out in the corner is owning the space, suggesting confidence and power in the relationship.
The partner in the middle however, is looking for security, seeking contact and reassurance and wanting to be close to their loved one.
- Cuddling in the middle – 9%
This could be seen as a very loving position. There is equality in this relationship and a real connection – the main focus of being on the sofa is togetherness.
This is often found early in a relationship where there is more of a need for assurance, and the passion is still very strong!
If the couple’s heads are leaning together as well, this indicates an emotional as well as physical connection.
- Corner cuddle with tucked legs – 8%
In this position, the one with their legs tucked is generally drawing comfort in some way.
As with the earlier cuddling couple, the person in the corner tends to be the stronger one in the relationship, and the partner more submissive.
Cuddling helps strengthen intimacy and the bond between a couple, and can also reduce stress and anxiety.
Commenting on the research, Amy Forster, Content Executive at ScS, said: “It’s interesting to see that something as simple as the way we relax might reveal something about our relationships.
It’s so nice to see that both cuddling and sitting apart can mean a strong and loving relationship depending on the person.
“Odds are, you’re sat on the sofa right now as you’re reading this so, if you’re with a significant other, check if you’re sat in any of these top positions to see if you agree!”
For more of the research, visit: https://www.scs.co.uk/sitting-comfortably
Dr. Georgina Barnett is the lead psychologist at luxury dating agency, Seventy Thirty.