How Important is Touch for a Relationship?

Intimacy in a relationship can make or break a couple. Whether it’s sexual intimacy or emotional intimacy, it’s all about a connection with your partner, and touch is integral in maintaining that connection. Dr. Steve McGough explains the importance of touch in a relationship.

How can physically (non-sexually) touching your partner benefit your relationship?

First, it reduces stress and helps both people feel good. As long as the person being touched trusts their partner or friend, the act of being touched has been shown repeatedly in studies to increase beneficial hormones like oxytocin while decreasing stress-related hormones.

It increases bonding between couples. This is both on a psychological level and a deep physiological level.

It increases trust and connection. If you touch each other in a non-sexual or sexual way while gazing into each other’s eyes it increases the connection even more.

It demonstrates another aspect of “love.” The English language is unfortunately not very good at describing the different kinds of “love.” For instance, Greek has four words to describe love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgÄ“ to describe very different levels of affection. Touching someone helps communicate different types of love.

It can make your sex life better. I developed a program called “Intimacy Massage” that is a non-sexual way for couples to touch each other to enhance connection and increase desire for each other later. It is an enhancement of the technique called “Sensate Focusing” developed by Sexology Pioneers Bill Masters and Virgina Johnson (read: Masters & Johnson). We’ve found that this method — particularly the “follow the goosebump game” — actually helps both women and men increase their ability to “feel” touch and pleasure.

Plus, here is a tutorial on how to master this quick hand massage that will help your partner feel amazing very quickly and can be done anywhere.