Touching shouldn’t always mean sex




By Dr. Pam Spurr

Every caress needn’t lead to intercourse, says our relationships expert. She explains the importance of platonic touch

There’s a lesson for us all in the recent story of a couple who had been married for 80 years. They wisely put their relationship success down to sharing a kiss and cuddle every night before bed.

From the moment a baby is born, touch is important to developing healthy bonds.

Those without this bond show emotional withdrawal from the world, developing into adults who find intimacy difficult. And many men, even those from loving families, remember that they came to a certain age, say 9 or 10, and were positively discouraged from asking for a hug from their mum.

These issues leave many couples with a touch of a problem.

A refrain I hear frequently from female friends and clients is that once the sexual passion has waned, affectionate touch goes out of the window too. “I can’t give him a simple cuddle without him thinking I want sex!” women moan. That’s because he learnt not to have “emotional” hugs long ago. So when a woman offers him one, he thinks she’s signaling full-on passion.

Tina, 36, has been driven to distraction by partner Nicholas’s hug confusion. Together for four years, once the honeymoon phase died down she didn’t want such regular sex. But she still wanted cuddles! Nicholas, however, displays a positively “Pavlov’s dog” (conditional, rather than intellectual, reflex) response to hugs. I’ve armed her with some techniques to help him relearn that sometimes a hug is just about emotional comfort and not a starting pistol for sex.

Because when we get this balance right – sometimes after much hand-wringing – touch is a wonderful thing for both men and women. When our skin is touched, our bodies produce various responses including producing oxytocin, the emotional bonding hormone. This makes us feel good around our loved one. That heart-warming feeling means that we want more of their company. And so the cycle goes on bonding us together. Who could guess that something as simple as holding hands could see you through the years? 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: