The importance of physical touch is often overlooked in relationships. Many relationships become stale, monotonous, and sadly broken. Those who have experienced a broken relationship are often left wondering how it went so terribly wrong.
If those who have experienced a relationship breakdown or who are currently in a relationship that feels like they are in a rut or has lost the spark and feel they are basically just co-existing, I challenge you to look carefully at the physical aspect of that relationship.
How much do you simply TOUCH each other?
Let’s first look at new relationships. Most of the time when we begin a new relationship, it feels exciting and sexy and just good, right? Well, when you watch two people who are in a new relationship, what do you notice about them that you often don’t see with people who have been in a relationship for a while?
Those in a young relationship want to touch each other all the time, they are attracted to each other and are excited to get to know the other person. Whether it’s holding hands, hugging, touching a leg or face or just sitting closely together, it is often something they don’t even realise they are doing. They are just naturally drawn to each other and want to know they are close to the other. This is when bonds form and intimacy is developed.
The start of a new relationship is usually the time in which we’re most intimate with one another.
THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF PHYSICAL IMTAMACY IN RELATIONSHIPS
First, it’s important to note that physical intimacy isn’t just sex, non-sexual touch is just as important. Physical intimacy is about touch and closeness between bodies. Back rubs, massage, caressing, stroking, holding, hugging, holding hands, kissing on the lips or face, as well as physical closeness. Even resting one’s legs on their partner on the couch, is a form of intimacy.
Touch is a form of communication, which can reveal your partners mood and stress levels, but it also stimulates the release of oxytocin, which in turn creates a feeling of bondedness. A crucial element in a relationship, I would say.
It even suggested that many relationship problems can be solved with touch alone. Humans need touch, it’s a part of what makes us human. Not having physical intimacy can create many emotional physical and psychological problems. So, it’s no surprise we need it to feel connected and loved by our partner.
TOUCH IN LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS
Unfortunately, many people find that the amount of touch in their relationship declines over time. This in time can cause discontent, suspicion, and sexual difficulties. Research tells us that the presence of intimacy and touch in our lives, and in our relationships strongly influence our overall physical and emotional wellbeing. It creates trust, feelings of love and respect and ultimately creates a strong bond between partners. Touch transmits emotional benefits such as, a sense of being cared for, loved and acceptance. It also confers physiological benefits by lowering levels of cortisol the stress hormone, in turn helping with high heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have also found that ongoing physical intimacy helps to decrease symptoms of physical problems, such as back/muscle ache, headache, insomnia, upset stomach, rash/skin irritation, and sickness or injury.
Touch likely enhances the well-being in all relationships but may be especially important in long-term relationships where sex has come to play a diminished role. Physical contact of a non-sexual nature — the hugs and squeezes, the handholding, the random touches — can be an effective pathway for maintaining intimacy, with its many benefits.
Touch, also known as the love language, means that small physical gestures—such as having a partner put their arm around you in public or snuggle up close to you on the couch while watching TV together—matter a lot more to couples than things like gifts or saying, “I love you.”
You may have heard the saying “It’s not in what you say, but what you do.” This statement is the perfect example of how touch tells our partners how important they are and how much they are loved.
HOW TO CREATE PHYSICAL INTIMACY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Intimacy to a relationship is like air to your lungs. It is essential to keep it alive and healthy. There are many ways to create physical intimacy between a couple.
The typical go to is usually massage. Giving your partner a relaxing massage can be very intimate. Not only does it show them how much you care, it feels good and it allows you to touch their body closely. It can be both relaxing and sensual.
Setting aside some quality time to concentrate only on each other, replacing feelings of stress and anxiety with relaxation through mutual touch, and communicating with your partner about what feels good is a great way to start.
However, if you’re not very knowledgeable in the area of massage, I suggest doing a short couple’s massage course. There are many available at physical massage salons, but you can also find online massage videos. Why not have a little fun together and do a couple’s massage workshop together.
For a couple of great little videos to show you the basics go to the links below:
Other great ways to share intimate moments with your partner may include:
- Kisses hello and goodbye
- Lots of cuddling, sitting on each other’s laps, putting your arms around each other randomly.
- Spontaneous or random kisses (on the lips, forehead, shoulder or back of the hand).
- A good cuddle hello or goodbye or just because.
- Holding hands and resting your head on each other’s shoulders.
- Really looking at your partner, making eye contact and showing them what they mean to you with your eyes.
- Public affection – a kiss, a cuddle, holding hands, putting your arm around them as you walk.
- Mindless touching – placing a hand on their arm or knee, running your fingers through their hair, or gently rubbing the back of their neck.
- Touching in some way when sitting together.
- Random messages throughout the day – how is your day going? I love you! Can’t wait to see you!
- If you’re having a serious conversation, hold their hand or softly rub their arm while you listen to them talking.
- Make a point of maintaining physical contact when you’re in group settings.
- Make a point to be the one to initiate sex every now and then.
- Rub their shoulders when they’re stressed out.
- When you’re settling in to watch a movie, really snuggle in close to them.
- Cuddle in bed together.
- Brush their hair out of their face or push a strand behind their ear.
- Take a shower with them and help soap them up or wash their hair.
- Lightly trace their facial features with the tips of your fingers.
These are just some things you can do, and it’s not expected that you do them all, they are just a guide to give you a few ideas and get you started. Always remember that this only works if the other person is accepting of it and it’s also important that it becomes a long-term way to develop and strengthen your relationship.
Don’t expect it to work overnight or after one attempt. If your relationship has moved away from such intimacy, it might take a little while of consistent effort to trigger your partner to feel comfortable with your new affection and reciprocate it.
If you want to encourage your partner to get involved, print out this list and talk to them about it. Or if you’re not brave enough initially, leave it somewhere they will see it.
But the most important thing is to – Just relax and enjoy each other!