In the hectic world we live in today, we are often touch deprived. This can be especially true for single people. In relationships this often happens when couples become distant from each other because they are wrapped up in their day-to-day lives. It is important to understand that this is not referring to sexual touch, but non-sexual touch. There is a need for touch that only you can get from having physical contact with other humans. There is a great deal of research indicating that something as simple as holding hands, a kiss hello or a back rub can decrease anxiety and have great physical health benefits.
Touch is linked to how we build self-esteem and create attachment with one another. As children, we rely on the adults around us to hold us for comfort, safety and to show love. A warm touch appears to release oxytocin, which is a hormone that helps humans create a sensation of trust and reduces stress (again this evidence refers to non-sexual touch). Touch is a language of compassion. Research suggests that touch is fundamental to how we communicate with others, bond with others and has a direct impact on our health. When one is lacking a sufficient amount of touch it can become very destructive and lead to problematic behaviors such as overeating, compulsive sexual behaviors or other self-destructive habits.
Often when couples are going through difficult times they have completely stopped the simple everyday kind of touch in their relationships all together. Stay tuned to your needs and desires regarding touch in your relationship. Share your thoughts with your partner and ask her/him what they desire. Give your partner an extra-long hug when you say goodbye in the morning, spontaneously hold hands with your mate, or kiss your partner for at least 6 seconds when you reunite with them. You may be surprised by how doing these simple steps can change your relationship!
If you are single it is especially important to find ways to meet your need for touch. Some ways single people can meet your need for touch is by getting a massage, hugging a friend or putting your hand on someone’s back when you are talking with them.
The evidence is clear – You need to be touched! As humans, we are wired to connect with each other on a physical level. Think of ways you can make sure this need is being met in your life today.
Marriage & Family Therapist at Conscious Living Counseling and Education Center