One of the many issues that my clients — and couples in particular — present with are related to the experience of touching and being touched.
For a variety of reasons, it seems that we are losing touch pardon the horrible pun! In fact, touch is the first of the five senses to develop. The need for positive touch, the connection, and reassurance it can bring is literally in our DNA. It is the first language, and the last, and it always tells the truth.
Why physical touch is so important in relationships
This baby has not been taught that she or he needs touch. Just naturally wanted the connection through physical touch.
Early research on rhesus monkeys that were deprived of actual physical comfort from their mothers gave us a tremendous amount of insight into why touch is so important. Infant monkeys that had direct contact with their mothers grew up to be friendly, patient, social, happy, and physically healthier than baby monkeys who were provided with indirect sustenance such as bottled milk, but no direct physical affection and comfort Physical touch in relationships their mothers.
The second set of babies who were denied physical touch and affection grew up to be isolated, lonely, depressed, withdrawn, unhappy, and in many cases highly aggressive. You bet! Scientific studies have shown that touch can be decoded as a form of nonverbal communication across a diversity of developed countries.
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Touch can communicate tenderness, compassion, anger, love, gratitude, happiness and fear within mere seconds. For example, those who live in warmer climates tend to wear less clothing due to the heat. More skin is exposed and the opportunities for skin-to-skin contact are greater.
This is particularly true for many cultures that are closer to the equator. The opposite is often true for the extreme northern and southern climates that are subject to cooler temperatures.
Touch can also be influential. Studies have also shown that individuals who have been touched are more likely to agree to participate in mall interviews, slight touches yield bigger tips for waitresses, and bus drivers are more likely to give a passenger a free ride if they touch them while making the request.
We literally want to connect with others, even the unborn! Researchers have also found that even the abbreviated touch from another person can evoke strong emotional experiences. Think about that slight nudge when being too close to someone on public transportation or the warm hug and kiss on the cheek or forehead as a greeting from someone close to you. Those moments can create positive emotions, memories or unwanted illicit action.
Our focus here is on the positive benefits, which le us to the next topic. For most of us, our primary caregiver at birth was our mother. There are also cultural explanations.
People that grew up in warmer climates consider the South and Latin countries tend to be more comfortable with touching than those from colder climates New England, the UK, Eastern Europe. But what about in our more intimate relationships? And it goes both ways, those that give hugs for example, also have a similar physiological reaction.
Touching is also a key factor to a lasting relationship. According to married researchers and authors, Dr. Note: Only use these tips if this is something that the other person is comfortable with.
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If you are in doubt about their preferences, simply ask them! Find some time with your partner and experiment touching them.
Ask them to tell you what feels good in terms of where you touch them as well as how much pressure they like or do not like. Spend about 5 to 10 minutes doing this exercise. Then switch roles. Now you take the turn of the receiver and give feedback to your partner.
I hope that this brief article has helped you and your partner explore new possibilities to connect both physically and emotionally. Not everyone has Physical touch in relationships same need for touch. I invite you to contact me for a free minute phone consultation. I am more than happy to help you gain some additional perspectives about how to enhance your abilities to enjoy touch and to help you with any blocks you may have about touch.
You deserve to feel good! Filed Under: CouplesRelationships Tagged With: connectionflirtintimacynonverbal communicationrelationshipstouchtouching.
The power of touch: physical affection is important in relationships, but some people need more than others
For the health, safety, and well-being of my clients, I have temporarily suspended all in-person appointments. In the meantime, all current and future appointments are available through secure video or on the phone. I look forward to continuing to provide excellent care and service to current and new clients during this challenging time. Want proof? Take a close look at this picture.
What else have we learned?
We have learned so much about ourselves by studying our closest animal cousins — primates. But what about as a functioning adult? Is touch really that important? Benefits of Positive Touching For most of us, our primary caregiver at birth was our mother.
Touch comes in many forms Affectionate physical touch in relationships include: Cuddling Backrubs Hand holding Hugs Foot massage Nuzzling Stroking hair, side of face, ears Tips to use physical touch to increase relational intimacy Note: Only use these tips if this is something that the other person is comfortable with.
Hug when your partner comes home. When in a low-level disagreement, simply sit facing each other and add some Physical touch in relationships of physical contact. Touch on the arm or hold hands to help connect and potentially diffuse the situation.
Note: If this is has become a full-blown argumentattempting to touch during the heat of battle may not work out so well. Wait until emotions are calmer. Bury your head in their shoulder. Invite them to do the same if they would like. Close this module Telehealth Available.