A national survey conducted by The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University reveals a startling disconnect between couples’ desires to be touched and the amount of physical connection they actually experience through touching.
- Nearly all (87%) men and women in committed relationships rated touch as very or extremely important to building intimacy.
- Yet, more than a third (34%) of these participants say that they are not touched often enough by their partner.
The data suggest that this gap between what couples want and experience could pose a risk to the type of intimacy that can help couples experience a more positive and fulfilling relationship.
“Touch is important for sustaining a healthy relationship, but it’s also necessary for our feelings of connection, safety and overall well-being,” said Dr. Justin R. Garcia, Associate Director for Research and Education at The Kinsey Institute. “People who experience regular loving touch benefit from increased oxytocin levels, which has been associated with lower heart rates and lower blood pressure, and over time can decrease a person’s risk for many serious health ailments. Scientific research tells us that affective touch is important for our emotional and physical well-being. The more you connect with others – with even the smallest physical gesture – the happier and healthier you’ll be.”
Dr. Garcia’s statement is backed up by data from the survey. Couples who touch more than once a day are 14% more satisfied with their relationship, compared to all couples.
If you want a more intimate connection with your partner, try this 5 tips to use touch to increase intimacy in your relationship:
Increase the time that you are physically connected
Hold hands while walking, or touch legs when sitting next to each other, and see if you both notice the difference.
Make plans for date night
Once you agree on your plans, write down the date and details somewhere you both can easily see – and look forward to. If you need some date night ideas, here are a few – 5 Creative Date Night Ideas
Inject romance into your day
Leaving a post-it note with a sexy message in an unexpected place such as a purse or briefcase can bring you closer together and make the day more interesting.
Take a trip down memory lane
Go to your local high school or college and share stories from your more youthful years. Sharing these memories can give you a better understanding of your partner.
Try something new.
Whether it’s something that you’ve always wanted to try, like learning to tango, or something that you never thought of trying, like sky-diving. New experiences create specific memories and strengthen your bond to each other. Brainstorm a list of ideas together, choose a few and just go have fun with your partner.
Start doing these things and you will notice an increase in intimacy in your relationship. But it all starts with simply touching your partner.
“Connection comes from an accumulation of small gestures, and if it’s a loving touch, the specific type of touch isn’t as important as the actual act of touching,” said sex and relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman.