A body language expert and psychologist has revealed what each popular sofa-sitting position might mean for couples.

Dr Georgina Barnett, from the UK, analysed the UK's seven favourite ways to sit with their partners - including different sofa, legs on lap and sat side-by-side - and uncovered what it might mean for their relationships.

The findings come off the back of new research which suggests the way couples relax together in the living room could say a lot more about their relationships.

A poll of over 2,000 people in a relationship revealed that 40% of people like to snuggle up on the sofa with their significant other, with the majority (60%) preferring their own space.

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The research, carried out by sofa and carpet specialist, ScS, found that 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%).

1. 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 necessarily indicate any problems, but rather a couple that has grown used to each other over the years.

However, the lack of proximity in this position can indicate that the couple have become indifferent towards each other, or possibly that they have fallen into leading separate lives.

Sitting on different sofas often signifies a couple that has
Sitting on different sofas often signifies a couple that has "grown used to each other over the years," the expert revealed. Photo / NZ Herald

2. 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.

Sitting with legs on a partner's lap can signify a couple that are comfortable with each other. Photo / NZ Herald
Sitting with legs on a partner's lap can signify a couple that are comfortable with each other. Photo / NZ Herald

3. 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.

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Sitting next to one another highlights a level of trust that allows for a
Sitting next to one another highlights a level of trust that allows for a "healthy amount of space." Photo / NZ Herald

4. 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.

Taking a seat at the opposite end from the other can be a protest behaviour to try and make a point following a row.

However, in the absence of conflict, if this is a regular seating position it suggests the couple might have grown apart, especially if they used to sit closer together. This is even more serious if both have their legs crossed pointing away from each other.

The psychologist explained that sitting at opposite sides of the sofa usually indicates a couple has become
The psychologist explained that sitting at opposite sides of the sofa usually indicates a couple has become "detached". Photo / NZ Herald

5. Cuddling in the corner - 12%

There is closeness in this relationship, but 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, might be less secure and is seeking contact and reassurance - literally clinging on.

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Couples who tend to cuddle in the corner may have a power differential in the relationship. Photo / NZ Herald
Couples who tend to cuddle in the corner may have a power differential in the relationship. Photo / NZ Herald

6. Cuddling in the middle - 9%

This could be seen as the most 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.

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A "cuddling in the middle" sofa position can be seen as the most "loving" position. Photo / NZ Herald

7. 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.

This position is sometimes seen when one is insecure in a partnership, as they are to some extent adopting a foetal position.

Commenting on the research, Dale Gillespie, Head of Acquisition at ScS, said: "It's interesting to see that something as simple as the way we relax might reveal something about our relationships.

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"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!"