From The Art of Intimacy
Touching and being touched is a basic human need, some would suggest it is as significant a need as food and shelter.
Animals the world over have the need for touch in common, suggesting our tactile abilities developed very early in our evolutionary history.
We know babies who are deprived of touch often do not survive, and those elderly adults who are deprived of touch often wither. And we know there are specific life-giving hormones and chemicals created in our bodies as a response to being touched.
We know that people who are compassionately touched often feel happier, more alert, more safe, more understood, and more communicative.
Some researchers have described the need for touch as “skin hunger,” suggesting the desire and need for touch is an actual craving, much like hunger for nutrients and water, exist in our physiology.
While hunger for food may be easily recognized, the hunger for touch may manifest as “depression, hallucinations, moodiness, anxiety, irritability, boredom, pain”, and other physical symptoms.
If we realize how truly essential touch is, perhaps it would be beneficial if we increase the amount of touch in our intimate relationships.
We may not easily observe how a gentle touch, a little hug, or a soft kiss impacts our physiology, but we are certain that it does.
Appropriate touch is a powerful and tender way to easily and simply bring feelings of love into a relationship. Touch is a way to share or express feelings that may be more powerful than the spoken word or gift giving.
I deeply believe that the more we feel loved, appreciated, cherished, and valued, as a human being, the healthier, happier, and more fulfilling our relationships.
Touch is one of the most powerful and sensitive of all senses. Kind and appropriate touching sends a message to our very spirit and heart that we are valued, that we are safe, that we matter…
That we exist.