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The power of touch in relationships

Have you ever held your partner’s hand and felt a tingling sensation through every cell in your body? Ever yearned for a hug from your partner, more than anything else in the world? Is it an essential part of relationships?

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Humans thrive on touch. Research has shown that for humans and animals, a lack of physical contact can lead to emotional disturbances, reduced sexual interest and even a weakened immune system. Studies have shown that infants deprived of skin contact lose weight and can become ill. Online dating site Partner4real found that touch was as important in some relationships as sex, conversation and commitment.“Touch is as important as breathing,” explains researcher Tiffany Field. Without it, children do not grow and develop.“Sensory deprivation makes people depressed and immune-compromised, and gives them emotional pain and physical damage,” she says.

We all crave our partner’s touch but it can be difficult for some men to admit they need it. From a young age, many boys are discouraged to go running to their mother for comfort when things get tough. When they grow into men and start relationships, they can then associate hugs with weakness, and may show a lack of affection to their partners.

Humans not only thrive on touch, but relationships do too. Some women in relationships complain that their partner only initiates physical contact as a precursor to sex. And yet many women crave physical intimacy so much that they sometimes agree to have sex simply to fulfil this desire for warmth and closeness. But there is a lot to be said for touch for touch’s sake. Listen up men: Try lightly brushing your partner’s arm or gently squeezing her hand as you walk past her. And if you fancy something a little more intimate, author Valerie Ann Worwood suggests that a 10 to 15-minute massage from your partner a few times a week can work wonders in relationships.

Whether you are looking for a new partner or in a long-term relationship, think about how important this aspect of any relationship might be and how you communicate this, whether verbally, or just by letting actions speak louder than words.