Research about sex and love has found that touching and cuddling, though important to both women and men, may be particularly important for men’s sexual satisfaction, relationship, happiness and marital commitment.
Although women are sometimes stereotypically described as the gender that most love to touch and cuddle, the fact is that women often have more opportunities for human touch than men do in many cultures. It is common in many western cultures for women to greet each other with hugs and kisses on the cheeks. They may stroll arm in arm or sit close on the couch, or even brush or braid each other’s hair.
Then there is the issue of raising children. Although more men have greater involvement in raising children now than they did in years past, women often have more physical contact with their children than men do. Women may more often be the parent to change diapers, bathe their children, cuddle with them on the sofa or tuck them into bed with a story and a kiss. This is not typical of all households, of course, but it is true in a striking number of homes. And what it amounts to is that, men, unlike women, may have an unmet need for touch.
So, it may be particularly important and satisfying for men to receive touch through holding hands, cuddling, sharing massages, bathing together or having sex. Not only can touch promote the release of oxytocin; the so-called “bonding hormone” or “feel good hormone”, but psychologically, touch can be a way to help someone feel loved, cared for, reassured and desired.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, gender or relationship status, consider how touch works in your romantic or sexual life. Or even your friendships or romantic relationships. We all need to touch and be touched.
For some, pets provide a nice form of touch and closeness. If your parents or grandparents are single or not have a lot of access to touch, try to take an extra step toward hugging them, touching them on the arm or kissing them as you come and go. You can do so for your friends too. It only takes a moment to give someone a hug that lingers just long enough to feel heartfelt and loved
If you are in a romantic or sexual relationship, focus on touch or cuddling this week and see that it might change things for you. Why not use hugs and kisses to bid goodbye or say hello, or caress each other on the back or hip as you fall asleep. Try to tousle your partner’s messy morning hair with love and affection. You can also listen to the news or watch the television together holding hands.
There is something special, about the feel of flesh on flesh or hands in one’s hair. It is so intimate; there is no substitute for this. This probably is the reason why people want to take their clothes off and lay naked together, even when they are not having sex. Or why people want to run their hands along their partner’s curves or enjoy a foot massage.