Research has proven that infants who do not have touch in their early years are mentally and emotionally damaged as they grow to adulthood. Infants who do receiving loving touch will have better brain and emotional development. These studies are so powerful that premature infants now get skin-to-skin contact on a daily basis in the hospital to help improve their growth and development. My first son was born premature (6.5 months) and it was a very strong requirement from the medical team, and need from us, to be there and touch him as much as possible.
One of the most powerful means of punishment in our penal system is solitary confinement. It reduces life to time on the clock without human interaction or human touch. It is the most feared way of working out your penitence in any situation. Touch, especially affectionate touch, will boost your level of oxytocin. This is the hormone that influences your brain’s ability to bond and attach to others. It is also the hormone that floods a mother’s body when she is breast feeding her baby. Another interesting feature is that it also drives the decision as it creates trust.
Sex will also flood your body with oxytocin, bonding both man and woman together both physically and emotionally – you know that warm glow you can feel ? Well, that’s oxytocin.
However, it isn’t sex alone that improves your physical and emotional bonding and it shouldn’t be.
Regular physical touch through hand-holding, kissing or hugging will produce the same effect and is very important to the development of a stable and strong relationship.
Physical touch is personal and something which requires sensitivity on both your parts. Some people enjoy holding hands, while others would rather bump shoulders once in a while. Some people love a long kissing session while others would rather lie in each other’s arms watching television. It is important that you are both sensitive to what you enjoy and what boosts your affection and bonding for each other. Touch is a key to any healthy relationship, but it must be safe, enjoyed and appropriate. Unwanted or inappropriate touch will have the exact opposite effect on your partner and you’ll find yourself on the other side of the couch or the house.
While it is important to keep passion and a strong sexual relationship alive, it is just as important to recognize that sex does change over time. In a long-term relationship you may feel an urgency to have sex in your 20s and 30s to reproduce; in the early years it can be more passionate; in midlife it might slow down. It is very possible that none of these traditional scenarios will apply to you and your partner. What is important is that you both acknowledge the potential for change over time and try to maintain a fulfilling sex-life through the years by getting to know what your partner enjoys and providing it (as long as it’s within your own comfort zone!).
Remember that physical touch is not just sex, and it’s not just hugging and kissing. It is an integral part of any healthy relationship. Your best tip is to get to know what your partner enjoys and make sure that you are open and honest with them about what you enjoy.
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