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The Importance of Touch

This article first appeared on The Online Citizen.

Touch is the medium through which we first become acquainted with the world. It is the first means of communication between the newborn baby and the mother. Research has shown that many babies who are raised in an orphanage and are not handled and touched on a regular basis rarely live past the age of two—they literally wither away.

Some people like to touch others, and some do not. Some like being touched, yet others might not. Are you a toucher or non-toucher? Do you realise that the way your parents held you as a newborn – from the pressures, caresses, cuddles – influence the way you have developed? And the touch you received as a child through play, punishment, and bathing directly relates to your responsiveness as an adult?

Your body remembers. If you were touched often and lovingly as a child, you are much more likely to be comfortable experiencing the pleasure of your lover’s touch. If, however, your memories of being touched bring forth memories of punishment, rejection or pain, your body will inadvertently withdraw from touch, fearing further hurt. This is where you might like to seek out therapeutic approaches such as counselling or massage for physical memory healing.

It’s not uncommon for one partner to need more physical connection than the other. Studies have shown that touch can lower stress levels, lessen anxiety, and help a myriad of other physical disorders. There are noticeable changes in mood and even health when we’re exposed to simple human kindness in the form of touch.

If you yearn for physical closeness, be it a hug or a snuggle, communicate your need to your partner. If a hug is all you want, clearly communicate this. The desire for physical closeness often gets misinterpreted as a desire for sex. Misunderstandings that stem from miscommunication about how we want, like, or need to be touched does happen. Communicate, communicate, and communicate!

Also, if you desire more touch into your relationship, acknowledge that you feel less connected and want a way to spend more time touching him or her, and helping them feel loved.

Physical closeness and touching stimulates the continued growth of your loving relationships. It is the conduit between two individuals that allows them to connect as one.

You can:

* Hug and kiss each other before you leave for work, or when you return home.
* Give affection to each other during quiet moments of the day.
* Hold hands while walking down the street, watching a movie, or between courses at a restaurant.
* Shower or bathe together. (It has the dual function of helping the two of you to not only feel emotionally closer, but also become physically cleaner!)
* Ask for a massage and give one in return.
* Subtly keep your hand on your partner’s leg, or on the small of their back, to maintain a physical connection.

Touch establishes communication, and what is transmitted has more meaning than words. Touch communicates involvement. It means you care that you are really supporting the other person. Touch heals and provides emotional sustenance. So reach out and touch your partner today.

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Dr. Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com or email drmarthalee@eroscoaching.com.

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