Home Archive Prev Next

Why Touch is So Important in Your Relationships

MAUDE: Touch. Such an important part of all relationships and yet often it can diminish or even almost disappear without people noticing it!

Touch in the simplest sense; not sexual, not even sensual; the act of sitting near enough to brush up against each other, placing your hand on someone’s arm or shoulder for a moment, hugging. These ordinary acts have extraordinary repercussions.

Pay attention to opportunities to touch and be in contact physically. This non-verbal source of communication contains much of importance. We can’t say it, as it is non-verbal information, but we do experience it and its effects.

When misunderstandings, hurts or attacks (both real and imagined) cause distance and estrangement in a relationship, connecting through touch can soothe that discomfort just by the very act of being in physical contact.

As a relationship grows in years, partners often drift away from having contact without even realizing it. So pay attention to this very important aspect of your togetherness, this bridge to your connection with each other. Stop what you are so busy with and sit down with your partner. Slow down for a moment in the course of the daily events and give each other a kiss or a hug.

In our relationship, our physical contact has not gotten less in all the years, and it is clearly a source of comfort and a reminder of our love for each other. We often walk holding hands. We sit together in restaurants rather than on opposite sides. We remain in contact while sleeping. We have a lot of space and individual privacy within our relationship, and our physical touch seems to grow with that sense of freedom, rather than decrease.

We have often emphasized the importance of touch when looking for creative mutuality in solving problems and making decisions. The same is particularly true when there is any sense of distance or discord. So much warmth and caring awareness is passed through simple touching, that it soothes any sense of misalignment.

Do not underestimate this gentle method of connection. In the small touches and physical contacts, you can ease many misunderstandings and re-establish connections. After all, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

PHIL: Touch is an important part of our relationship. We walk hand in hand. We sit side by side in restaurants. We edit our blogs on the sofa and keep in physical contact. We go to sleep and wake up touching. When we have a disagreement to resolve, we talk with our bodies touching.

It feels as though whole conversations are going on with this touching, even though the language is vastly different from English and there is no dictionary available.

Conversations like this have been going on forever. Animals huddle together and groom each other. The messages are of support, comfort and caring. So it is for us humans, too, and if we stop speaking that language, we lose an important way of expressing concern for each other. Yet that is what is happening in much of today’s society. While Mediterranean countries are contact cultures where people touch each other frequently while talking, North America isn’t like that. Many changes are exacerbating this. Because touch also has a role as a prelude to sex, the increasing awareness of sexual harassment and assault has made people more wary of touching lest they be accused of impropriety. This has often led to extremes such as schools banning staff from touching children in any way at all.

Combine this with a tendency to live in our heads and become less in touch with our bodies and we have a good reason for why so many people are feeling separate and disconnected from each other. Go out and touch someone today!

Hey! We really love your comments. Please click here to leave them directly on the blog. Click here for Phil to read this to you.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


In this week's blog, we discussed why touch is so important in your relationships. There is so much to say to this topic that we chose to pick four articles this week that cover different aspects.

Why Physical Touch Is So Important in Relationships "Scientific studies have shown that touch can be decoded as a form of nonverbal communication across a diversity of developed countries. Touch can communicate tenderness, compassion, anger, love, gratitude, happiness and fear within mere seconds. ... We feel more connected to someone if they touch us. Just the physical act of a kind and warm touch lowers one’s blood pressure and releases the 'love hormone,' oxytocin."

The Power of Touch "Yet until recently, the idea that people can impart and interpret emotional content via another nonverbal modality—touch—seemed iffy, even to researchers ... [who] demonstrated that we have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone."

The Importance of Physical Touch Why some of us need cuddle therapy "After Laura’s 30 year marriage ended, she realized that she too was touch deprived. This is what led her to train as a cuddle professional at the Cuddle Sanctuary in Los Angeles.  The training gave her language in areas around contact, boundaries, consent, and being able to say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ to different kinds of contact."

Physical Contact in Different Cultures "...many of us travel to foreign countries and suddenly find out that even the smallest habits they are accustomed to might not be recognized for what they are. The meaning of actions, body language, expressions or the boundaries of personal space change from culture to culture and the impact of our interactions goes beyond our intentions."


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
Read our blogs at PhilAndMaude.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
Email us at philandmaude@philandmaude.com
If you are interested in newsletters you've missed, see our archive.
Do you know anyone who would enjoy this newsletter? Tell them to sign up at http://philandmaude.com/howtwo/.