Valentine’s Day is just days away and it turns out, couples are failing at doing the one, simple and inexpensive thing that instantly brings two people closer: touching each other.
• 87% of men and women in committed relationships rated touch as very or extremely important to building intimacy. Yet 34% of people say they’re not touched enough.
• 74% of people prefer to engage in regular or intimate touch (with their partner) rather than talking without touching (10%). However, almost one in 3 people engage in talking more often than touching.
• 86% of couples who did touch intimately, more than once a day, were more likely to be very or extremely satisfied with their relationship compared to 72% of the general population.
“Touch is important for sustaining a healthy relationship, but it’s also necessary for our feelings of connection, safety and overall well-being,” says Associate Director for Research and Education at The Kinsey Institute, Dr. Justin R. Garcia. In other words, touch is critical to our happiness. “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,” he says.
So if touch is THAT important, what are couples risking by not touching each other enough? Renowned sex and relationship expert, Dr. Laura Berman, says, “The [Touch Initiative] survey shows that 88% of people would like to be touched at least once a week, yet so many couples come to see me because their relationship is being threatened by a lack of intimacy.”
Berman says that touch can be the first step to helping couples build intimacy.
“Touching to connect and inspire intimacy can be as simple as holding hands or stroking the back of someone’s neck. 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,” she says.
So, next time you’re walking or driving together, hold each other’s hand. Or, touch legs when sitting next to each other. You never know where that little touch will take you.