Touch is essential to intimacy. Okay, I know you think I've just stated the obvious but I'm not talking about that kind of intimacy. I'm talking about emotional intimacy and the hand holding, arms around the waist, bear hugging, back rubbing, cheek kissing, fist bumping, high fiving, shoulder rubbing, bottom patting, kind of touching that makes you feel warm and good inside (and can lead to that kind of intimacy). It's a fact: humans are tactile beings. We thrive on touch. Without it we whither and, no kidding, can actually lose our minds. A whole bunch of studies have been done on touching and some interesting stuff has been learned. Being touched . . .

  • Lowers your stress level and raises your immunity.
  • Speeds up the healing of wounds.
  • Lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Causes oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) to be released into the blood system.
  • And much more.

A really smart guy named Jim Coan at the University of Virginia did a study in which married women were given electric shocks that caused mild pain. When they were touched by their husbands, there was an immediate drop in activity in the areas of the brains involving fear, danger, and threat. The women were calmer and less stressed. This gave me an idea . . . What if, instead of folding your arms or otherwise physically withdrawing from each other when you're angry or upset, you instead touched. Try to imagine having an argument while holding hands or hugging. It would be tough to do. I know. It goes against the human grain to hug while all bent out of shape. But, what if before you were torqued, when you feel that first itch of irritation, you quickly gave your sweetie a bear hug. Bet that irritation would evaporate. I also betcha that the more you touch each other, the less likely you are to feel that irritation in the first place. When you're having a tricky discussion about whether to have another (or the first) child, to invite your mother-in-law to move in with you, or to quit your job and start your own business, the conversation is bound to be easier if you're holding hands while having it. It's easier to say what's on your mind when you feel supported and loved. Loving touches communicate just that. Touching creates connection. I overslept the other morning and was awakened by hubby Dale stroking my head. It was heaven. I could have stayed there for hours with him stroking my head. The good feelings didn't end when the stroking ended. Throughout my busy day, my mind would harken back to that head-stroking and I'd smile involuntarily smile while I relived those good feelings. I attended a seminar somewhere and, unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the guy who gave it or I'd give him credit for this. He said a 20-second kiss is exactly the right amount of time to create a strong emotional tie but not quite enough to send you to the bedroom. We've tried it, the hubby and I. And, you know what, a 20-second kiss does make you feel really, really connected. And, sometimes it can send you to the bedroom. So, look, it seems too simple to be so effective but, trust me, touching your sweetheart has oodles of benefits so give it a try, okay?

Author's Bio: 

Shela Dean is a Relationship Happiness Coach, speaker, and Amazon bestselling author of Frequent Foreplay Miles - Your Ticket to Total Intimacy, available through and other booksellers. Shela's common-sense approach to relationship advice has helped many couples improve emotional intimacy and strengthen marital bonds.