Updated: 16 November, 2023
The world has lost its sense of the importance of physical touch. How many couples in America and worldwide don't go on dates together?
We all know that physical contact and touch can make a difference in a relationship. Still, it can be challenging to put it into practice. Most people assume that our better half needs to initiate the act of touch, which is a significant misconception.
The truth is that most couples who are in a healthy relationship show fondness and are comfortable doing so with each other. As long as your loved one is comfortable with you showing them love, they'll naturally reciprocate by doing the same for you.
This article discusses the importance of touch, physical connection, and a healthy way to practice it in a relationship.
If you wish to learn more about other types of intimacy, read this article.
*Tips are not sorted in any particular order.
Read time: approximately 10 minutes.
Importance of Physical Affection in a Relationship
1. What is Physical Affection
Physical contact and attentiveness are among the strongest emotions we have. It is a non-verbal action that communicates devotion. It is an expression of love, care, and warmth. You will see important touches in many contexts, such as a hug holding hands between lovers or a partner kissing a loved one goodbye.
A touch is a powerful tool for those who want to establish closeness. In fact, it's a universal language that exists in every culture and is understood by everyone.
It is a form of communication that takes place in the physical realm and can be a simple touch or a non sexual act like a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or a handshake for sexual connection.
2. How Important is Physical Affection?
Physical affection holds immense significance in romantic relationships, pivotal in their longevity and quality, regardless of whether couples are in the early stages of dating or have been married for years. The presence of physical touch – be it a gentle caress, a warm embrace, or holding hands – has been consistently linked with longer-lasting relationships.
This is because contact acts as an assertive non-verbal communication, conveying love, safety, and reassurance, which are critical for maintaining a strong bond between partners. It’s not just about the duration of the relationship; physical affection contributes significantly to both individuals' happiness and emotional well-being. It creates a cycle of positivity, where each act of physical closeness reinforces the connection and emotional support, leading to greater relationship satisfaction.
Supporting this, new research conducted by the University of Denver sheds light on the impact of touch on marital happiness. The study, which involved 1,000 newlywed couples aged between 18 and 30 years and who had been together for an average of eight years, revealed compelling findings. It was observed that the level of physical touch shared and received during the first five years of marriage had a substantial predictive value for the overall happiness and emotional attachment experienced by the couples in the long term.
The researchers emphasize that romantic involvement, or the expression of fondness through touch, plays a crucial role in sustaining marital satisfaction over time. This insight underscores physical affection's profound and lasting impact in deepening and preserving the emotional bond in romantic relationships, highlighting its importance as a cornerstone of marital happiness and connection.
3. What are the Benefits of Physical Affection?
The benefits of physical affection in relationships are both profound and far-reaching. Regular physical contact significantly reduces anxiety and stress, fostering a stronger emotional attachment and a healthier bond between partners. This goes beyond mere emotional well-being; couples who engage in regular attentive and sexual touch report improvements in overall health, happiness, and longevity. Remarkably, dedicating just 15 minutes a day to receiving love and care from a partner can add up to three years to one's life expectancy.
Moreover, the presence of a loving significant other in one's life is positively correlated with a longer lifespan. These findings underscore the powerful impact that affectionate touch and emotional support have on the quality of relationships and individual health and longevity, highlighting the importance of nurturing physical and emotional connections in romantic partnerships.
The Science Behind Physical Affection
You may be a bit romantic and want to know the secret to having more care and love in your relationship or marriage. If so, there's some science behind what may be happening.
While the exact science isn't precise, it may be because physical touch promotes intimacy, releases the oxytocin hormone, reduces stress, and strengthens healthy bonds.
It's all about oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that exists in mammals, including humans. It is released during sexual activity and other forms of physical contact. It's also known as the "love hormone" because it facilitates bonding between people. The more you have intimacy and sex, the more oxytocin you release, leading to a stronger bond and closer contact.
The same is true when you hug, kiss, caress, or even hold hands with someone you love.
In short, there are several benefits of having physical affection:
- It’s a form of relaxation
- It helps you feel good about yourself
- It boosts self-esteem
- It makes you more comfortable around others
- It increases your ability to read others’ emotions
- It improves your relationship with your spouse
- It can make you healthier
- It's great for stress relief
- It reduces loneliness and depression
- It enhances communication skills.
4. The Negative Effects of Neglecting Physical Affection
Physical affection and sex are essential parts of most relationships, so one of the main reasons relationships or marriages fail is that they don't show tenderness to their other half.
They're too busy with other obligations and are unwilling to give their spouse the time and attention they deserve. This leads both parties to communicate less, lose interest, and become less happy, which causes problems and worsens the most important aspects.
If this happens, you can drift apart and eventually become estranged, to the point of breaking up or needing therapy.
However, when couples show their love through physical acts of intimacy and touch, it allows them to experience the positive emotions and feelings associated with this form of love.
The Impact of Stress on Physical Touch
We all know that stress, fear, and anxiety can be incredibly destructive in a We all know that stress, fear, and anxiety can be incredibly destructive in a relationship, and the negative effect they have on an individual can be devastating.
Touch is the most intimate and emotional way we connect with another person; neglecting it increases stress in our lives.
But by doing it more, it provides us with the sensation of being in their presence. When we touch someone, we give that individual the message of our love and care for them.
5. How Can I Have More Physical Affection?
There are a lot of small but important things we can do. Every person is a little different, so first, communicate what you both like, enjoy, and would like to receive more of.
Do you like to be hugged and kissed? If so, where? In which situations do you wish to have a sexual connection? And when—not so much. But regardless of our particular preferences, we should strive to crave physical affection from our partners, since it's crucial for us to feel loved.
From hugging to kissing, touching gives us a sense of security and warmth, which helps us feel comfortable. It also sends a message that our partner is available to us, not just our friends or family.
We need to set up opportunities for physical touch to encourage us to touch more often. So, the next time your partner feels you, say, "I like it when you touch me, but I'd really love it if you could... (fill in the blank) it for me. Thanks."
6. How Do We Keep Physical Affection Going in Our Relationship?
The short answer is just to do it more. Make sure you touch your partner daily—the most minor thing, like a kiss or hug, will do for your relationship or marriage. It's a simple suggestion, but research shows that people who don't touch often are less satisfied in their relationships than those who feel daily.
The longer answer: on top of talking out what you like and don't like, you need to keep your desire going for each other. That means having physical contact and showing your partner you like and want it. This part is significant.
7. Types of Touch
There are a lot of forms that touch can take place. A touch can be platonic, soothing, sensual, or sexual. A touch can be intentional or unintentional. And it can be wanted and unwanted.
It is important to know the difference so you can use each type of touch in the appropriate situation because touch is an intense form of intimacy and can go a long way in the right direction by making someone feel good and in the opposite direction, causing problems.
When it comes to you and your significant other, try to learn what he/she likes and does not like, and then use it to make you both happy.
The Role of Hug in a Happy, Loving Relationship
There are many important aspects of love life, and there are ways that you can show your love to your partner, such as being attentive to your spouse and showing gratitude.
And there's one particular form of physical touch that doesn't cost anything and is extremely easy to provide: hugging your loved one.
A hug gives physical and emotional comfort and helps you feel closer to your partner. Moreover, hugs make you feel happier.
A study by a team of German psychologists found that couples who hugged each other daily for a week had greater levels of positive emotions and higher levels of oxytocin than those who did not, as well as more healthy self-esteem and positive relationship attitude.
Does Physical Affection Make a Relationship Last?
Scientific studies reveal that affectionate touch triggers the release of oxytocin, known as the 'love hormone,' which aids social bonding and reduces stress. This effect isn’t limited to grand gestures; even subtle touches like a comforting hand on the shoulder can contribute significantly to relationship health, underscoring physical touch's profound and multifaceted influence in creating and sustaining romantic bonds.
The benefits of physical touch are undeniable. In fact, kissing and hugging can improve mood and emotional and sexual intimacy, lower stress levels, decrease blood pressure, improve sleep, and even avoid visiting a therapist in the long run.
Couples who connect through touching enjoy longer and deeper relationships and those who have been through a divorce are more likely to break up again than couples who maintain natural and emotional touch in their relationship.
However, touching can be challenging. We often find ourselves so consumed with our own needs and desires that we forget to take the time to nurture ourselves or to care for others.
But, when we take the time to express ourselves physically, it creates an environment in which we are more open to receiving love. By expressing our fondness for each other, we create a connection that allows us to build deeper, more meaningful relationships.
So, the next time you're feeling disconnected or stressed, give your partner a hug, kiss, and touch them. You'll feel better about yourself for taking the time to care for your relationship.
Let Us Know
How important is physical touch to you?