Touch – It’s More Than Sex


Every wonder why a man gets instantly excited by the slightest little touch?

The reasons behind his reaction may not be as simple as assuming that he’s just over-sexed. It may go much, much deeper…

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We all associate different emotions (good and bad) with different types of touching such as holding hands, hugging, getting a massage, and kissing. Some of these emotions can be very powerful and have a significant impact on how we relate to others.

Read this great article from featured author Melody Brooke to find out why the way we touch one another is extremely important to a happy and secure relationship.

Touch – It’s More Than Sex

by Melody Brooke, MA, LPC, LMFT

For many men, the opportunity to be touched, even casually by a woman is arousing.  And, no, it’s not because men are different than women innately.  This is because boys are often raised with little physical nurturance.  Some men are so touch deprived that they shut off the awareness of the need for it entirely.  As a result they appear cold, distant and emotionally unavailable.  They have little understanding of why a woman wants to be touched or cuddled.  It completely baffles them.

Many cultures within the larger American culture work to toughen up boys and assume that cuddling, hugging and kissing boys makes “Mama’s boys” or “Sissies” out of them.  This creates an environment in which our male children are raised without physical touch.  Yet we know, from years of research that touch is a basic need.  Babies deprived of touch do not survive; they will quit eating and die.  While men, even 5 or 6 year old boys are not infants, they, like all of us have a basic need to be held, to be touched, and otherwise physically nurtured.   This need for touch can be hidden away for years, until perhaps in their early teens, a girl steals a kiss or holds his hands.  Suddenly he finds himself aroused and from that moment on, associates touch with sex.

Then these poor guys get accused of being hyper sexual because the need for touch, which has been repressed for years, suddenly emerges as sexual desire.  The hormone oxytocin carries messages of bonding, safety, overall well being and of love to our brains and to our bodies.  It also increases sexual arousal. This hormone is released when there is any type of skin-to-skin contact. This generally happens at the same time as the developmental hormonal changes of adolescence, further complicating matters.  From the male perspective then, touch=sex.

Every touch experienced carries a different electrochemical message to the brain. Even small, very light touches can create tremendous brain activity. When you expanded to hugging, the response is magnified many times because it brings with it memories of previous experiences (or lack thereof) and the attached emotional meaning. (Welch, 1988) When a person is upset or stressed, taking their hand usually produces a soothing effect, reducing anxiety, and generating a feeling of greater security as the oxytocin is released.

Couples observed touching affectionately test as being more securely attached and having a more satisfying sex life.  If you are unhappy with the amount of sexual activity with your partner, notice what happens when you become more affectionate in general with each other.  Increasing overall affectionate behaviors can have a positive effect on each of you individually, as well as increasing the amount of sexual activity between you…

Touch alone can transform the quality of your relationship.

If you are not feeling safe enough with your partner to enjoy copious amounts of affection, you might want to ask yourself why not.  Is this because of your own discomfort with touch?  Or is it because you fear that touch will initiate sex when that is always what you want? Is your partner uncomfortable with touch and therefore reluctant to express their affection physically? These are all questions that you and your partner should discuss, certainly before committing to a long-term relationship.

While some couples settle into a kind of comfortable physical distance, their emotional connection is often just as distant.  If you are not comfortable with idea of an emotionally distant relationship, then you should be aware of the impact of physical distance on the quality of your relationship.

Try livening up your relationship by making it a point to hug and kiss your partner when you come home, or being sure that you cuddle up close before drifting off to sleep.

Hold hands while you walk together. Women, spend time giving your partner a massage. Non-sexual touch can evoke strong feelings in a touch-deprived male.  If your partner has an intensely emotional response, be open to allowing him to have those feelings in the safety of your presence. It can be deeply bonding.  Men, touch your partners’ arms while she is talking to you, touch her face as you tell her about your day, it will make her feel cherished and valued.

Increasing the amount of touch you give will improve more than your relationship in the process.  Infusing your body with Oxytocin, through touch, will provide you with reduced stress and boost your sense of well being.

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