sometime When We Touch: The Fantastic Benefits of Romantic Touch

11 Feb sometime When We Touch: The Fantastic Benefits of Romantic Touch

I would like to tell you the story of Laura and Paul (names have been changed). They have been married for 7 years and have a 5 year old son, Aiden, and a 2 year old daughter, Sophie. Laura and Paul both work full time and the kids are in kindergarten and day care. Paul and Laura alternate dropping the kids off in the morning and picking them up in the evening. When everyone arrives home, Paul and Laura take turns making dinner and playing with the kids. They all have dinner together every night. They take turns cleaning up after dinner and giving the kids their bath. They both tuck the kids to bed every night and are very loving and affectionate toward both kids. Once the kids are in bed, Paul and Laura each catch up on e-mails, return family and friends messages, pay the bills, make lunches for the next day and tidy up the house. They are very efficient and effective as parents and they treat each other with a lot of respect. Still, they wanted to see me urgently after they had had a long conversation in which they admitted to each other they were both unhappy in their couple relationship. It turned out they have not been physically affectionate or sexually intimate with each other for a long time. They said they were too tired and too busy to turn to each other for affection or sex. “We have the perfect family,” Laura said, “Paul is a great dad and a great husband. But I feel disconnected from him.” Paul added “and Laura is a great woman, a great mom, really. But I agree that something important is missing from our relationship.”

Paul and Laura are hardworking, highly dedicated parents who would do anything for their family. Yet they have lost touch with each other as a couple. Unfortunately, Paul and Laura are not the only ones in this situation. Over 50% of parenting couples surveyed declared there was too little physical affection between them. One in 5 parenting couples will admit their relationship has become sexless. This is a sad statistics, especially given the emotional and physiological benefits of touch, be it sexual or non-sexual.

Touch has been named “the primary language of compassion.” It is also human’s primary language of affection and has been identified as one of the five languages of love by clinician and researcher Gary Chapman. In the past couple of decades researchers have been able to identify the health benefits of touch, such as lowering blood pressure and heartbeat and increasing the function of the immune system. Touch has the power to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in a person’s blood, even when you are stressed out or anxious. When it is given by a loved one, touch doesn’t only feel great, but also contributes to cooperation, harmony and bonding. Sexual intimacy, including caressing, kissing and orgasm encourages the secretion of endorphins and the so called bonding or love hormone, Oxytocin. This is the reason why, following sexual activity with a loved one, partners tend to feel relaxed, safe happy and emotionally closer to each other. Touch in marriages has been linked to longevity; it is not enough to stay married for many years but, to reap the benefits of being married or in a couple’s relationship,  mutual touching needs to be an integral part of it.

Lack of touch in a couple’s relationship can have many reasons. But whatever the reason may be, couple need to find a way to go back to touching. When you deprive yourselves of touch, you are robbing yourself of the most fundamental and essential elixir of life. Your relationship is the most precious asset of your family. Carve out the time for connection and touch, no matter how busy you are. If your relationship needs help, contact a Registered Psychologist or a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist. Your children will thank you!

So how did Paul and Laura do? In the course of marital therapy they learned to set the time aside to connect, cuddle together and have sex more often. They were able to follow their decision to get into bed at the same time and turn off their phones at a certain time. They recruited family members to baby sit their children a couple of nights a month while they went out to dinner or a show by themselves. They were able to book two weekends away and learned to give each other sensual massages. The last time I saw them, they had just purchased a house and stated they felt much happier and hopeful than they had been in a long time.

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