Why Touching Matters
in Maintaining a Healthy Relationship
Couple's Corner with Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT
Why Touching Matters in Maintaining a Healthy Relationship
There are many ways to maintain a healthy relationship like engaging in communication, managing your emotions, learning about conflict management, prioritizing self-care, and the list can go on! But for this blog and in the spirit of Valentines Day around the corner, I want to highlight the power of touch in your relationship and the benefits to keep you connected and happy with your partner.
Touching increases oxytocin
Oxytocin is a feel-good love hormone that is released into our bloodstream which facilitates in us feeling close with someone. Oxytocin has also been referred to as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone” and who wouldn’t want to experience that?
Touching deceases cortisol levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone that runs through our body when we are obviously feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Research has found that when we are touched, especially by a loved one, our cortisol levels can decrease, which allows us to manage our breathing, think clearly, refocus, and feel relaxed.
Non-sexual touching increases sexual intimacy
Sex researchers Masters and Johnson found out that couples who were struggling with sexual intimacy benefitted from non-sexual touch because this helped them feel more at ease and experienced a deeper bond and connection. Remember that non-sexual touch can mean more to your partner and can be considered a turn-on.
Touching relieves worry during a crisis
Touching your partner during a crisis communicates that you are there for them, they are not alone, and you are supportive. Sometimes you may not know what to say or do, but a simple hug or embrace can go long way.
So, if you are a person who does not like to be touched, be sure to communicate what happens when you are touched. Do you feel anxious? Is it awkward? Does the script say that this should be done in private? Explore what barriers are there for you and have conversation with your partner on how they value touch. Everyone’s level of wanting or needing to be touched is different and it is okay. Aim to have a conversation about those differences and learn to understand these differences.
Now for this Valentine’s Day or for your next date night, be intentional in your non-sexual touching with your partner and have fun!