A hug is a form of physical intimacy that generally involves closing or holding one's arms around another person, usually at the shoulder area (upper back) but possibly also at the neck or further down the torso. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing. Unlike some other forms of physical intimacy, it is practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many nations, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines.
The action of giving a hug is called hugging or embracing. An extended hugging is also called holding a person.
Besides for showing love or affection, hugging is also often done in greeting, saying goodbye, congratulating, condolencing and comforting another person.
Hugging can be unidirectional (one person hugs another) or mutual (both hug another). Hugging is usually done standing, but in the cases of a parent hugging (or being hugged by) a child, or two lovers hugging another, hugging is also often done with one partner being carried by the other, or sitting in the other's lap.
Special kinds of hugging
- One can also hug a group of people, an animal or an object of huggable size, such as a tree.
- A hugging can also be one-armed (when the other hand is busy holding something else, or giving a handshake, e.g. in the pound hug of hip-hop culture).
- A prolonged hugging in a cozy, comfortable position is also called cuddling.
- Spooning is a cuddling position, a kind of hugging when both the hugger and the hugged persons face the same direction, i.e., the front of one person is in contact with the back of the second one.
- A bear hug is a technique in wrestling.
Hugging in spanking
Hugging during a spanking can also be used to get a clear target, i.e., the person's bottom.
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