Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.
Scientists have found that this hormone has a strong effect in women. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and of the stress hormone norepinephrine.
One study found that the positive benefits of oxytocin were strongest in women who had better relationships and more frequent hugs with their romantic partner. Women also saw positive effects of oxytocin when they held their infants closely.