I'm going to admit something fairly controversial.
I don't let my boyfriend cuddle me. Now, when I say this, I don't mean we never hug, but it's rare. If we're hanging out on the couch at home, we don't snuggle up. Likewise, we don't usually cuddle in bed.
It's not because I'm a cold, heartless person. It's because I've done the research, and I know cuddling is like adding arsenic to your relationship recipe.
Here's why: Cuddling breeds comfort. Now, I'm not going to try and convince you it doesn't feel great, because a long, warm cuddle offered in the right moment can be pure medicine. But as far as your sex life's concerned, it's pretty much the worst thing you can do.
Here's the thing. When we're in the courtship phase of a relationship, we strive to attain security, and, ultimately, comfort.
We want to know our partner is here to stick around, that they're not going to bolt the gates at the first whiff or a possible challenge. And we want to be comfortable with them; to achieve that blissful feeling of knowing we're just as loveable in their eyes eating Cheetos off our lap in trackies as we are glammed up for a night out.
There's pretty much no greater feeling than being able to relax and be yourself around someone who unconditionally accepts you.
But here's the catch: Eroticism and comfort don't mix, they're the antithesis of one another. We don't desire what we already have at our disposal, that's just human nature. Sure, we can completely and unreservedly love someone we're comfortable with, but it's almost impossible to feel sexually aroused by them on a regular basis.
It may explain why over half of modern marriages end in divorce and a lack of sex and passion is often one of the cited reasons for the relationship collapse.
"We loved each other, but we'd become more like flatmates, or brother and sister," a friend confessed over cocktails as we debriefed about her five-year-long relationship breakdown.
"I didn't want to have sex with him anymore. I cared about him, but I wasn't attracted to him like I was in the beginning," she continued on.
It's an incredibly familiar scenario — we're swept up in that initial whirlwind rush of feel-good hormones often referred to as the 'Honeymoon Phase' of the relationship, and then wonder where it all went a few years later, when we're watching our partner clip their toenails in the living room.
In her best-selling book, Mating In Captivity, relationship expert and author Esther Perel refers to this phenomenon as "The central paradox of love".
"Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness," writes Perel.
"There is a complex relationship between love and desire, and it is not a cause-and-effect, linear arrangement. 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."
The good news is, it's possible to 'trick' our brains into seeing our partners the way we did in those early weeks and months of dating, when we could barely keep our clothes on, but it requires some discipline, and it's definitely not for everyone.
In my current relationship, we reserve comfort-promoting acts like cuddling for significant moments, like consoling one another during an upsetting or difficult time, or as a congratulatory act.
We also apply that principle to the rest of our relationship. My boyfriend and I don't get undressed in front of one another (unless it's to have sex) and we both make a concerted effort to maintain mystery around our bathroom and grooming habits.
Two years on, our sex life has never been better.
Are we potentially missing out on one of the most fulfilling aspects of being in an intimate relationship by rationing our closeness? Possibly.
But it's a sacrifice that's well worth the rewards.