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What could be more pleasurable than a wonderful hug? Bodies touching turns pleasure chemicals in your body – and when you add the emotional component of liking or loving, it can cover the spectrum of delightful sensations.

But different people enjoy different kinds of hugs at different times – the over-the-top bear hug has its place, as does the gentle and respectful squeeze. The only way to discover the right firmness, texture, duration, touch locations, arm and hand positions and other hugging parameters is to ask.

That’s right, check in with the person you are hugging to be sure your hug is doing what you want it to do. A little communication goes a long way to make you a hug-master. For example, avoid an overly aggressive hug when not invited, or a wimpy one when strength is preferred.

Embrace the art and science of hugging – it will come back to reward you many times over.