The holding of hands, her fingers filling-in the gaps between yours, those cozy bear hugs in times of crises, not that one passionate kiss, but those numerous small peckers that came unannounced, the comforting rub on your shoulder or that ‘I’m there’ squeeze of your hand – the comforting sensation of touch creates a lasting bond between couples. “Every relationship starts with a physical touch. And it is that first touch that weaves around itself a tale of trust, assurance, faith, passion and memory. Memories that keep you connected and trust that keeps you together. This can happen only when a comforting touch assures you of being there all the time for each other,” says psychologist Dr. Aruna Bruta.
A recent study claimed that touchy-feely couples, who did everything from holding hands, hugging and kissing to having sex, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Research has also revealed that caressing/ stroking stimulates the brain to release Oxytocin, which is also called the ‘Cuddle Hormone’. Not only does Oxytocin calm a person’s mind, it also increases the desire to be touched further. Hence, it places a major catalyst in initiating the lovemaking process.
Sexual touching directs a biological and psychological arousal, a heady rush of endorphins, which are also our body’s natural pain-relievers. It also heightens the testosterone levels, giving a kick to one’s sex drive. On the other hand, non sexual touching is expressions of affection, care and concern, which keeps a couple, bonded and lack of the same makes a relationship very mundane on a day-to-day basis. Remember a physical contact is not just a precursor to sex.
However sadly in the rush of everyday life, couples often lose out these small, yet special physical touches. As Aruna says, “Over the years, my husband has stopped touching me, he has grown colder. Not only we have stopped having sex, but even the warmth has gone out of our marriage.” Each one of us craves for touch. While men often use it as a prelude to sex, women find a lot of emotional strength from the act of touching. Vrinda Goswami, a 28-year-old telemarketing executive reveals, “After a hectic day I want my partner to soothe me with caring gestures like caressing, cuddling, hugging or by simply making me rest upon his chest. But what he interprets from the same is the need of sex and I can’t say ‘no’ for I know that’s how I can get ‘my kinda’ intimacy with him.”
Here are a few ways to keep-in touch with your partner to keep the spark alive…
1. Hold hands
Not just in private, but also in public. This is the easiest way to remain connected. Be it a busy market place, a party or a friend’s place, don’t shy away from holding each other’s hand. “I keep holding my husband’s arm whenever we are out. Over the years it has become a habit for us. And even he loves that,” says Namita Tiwari, a 24-year-old Delhi-based teacher. “Playful or casual at times and comforting and reassuring at others, holding hands can mean a lot to a partner in need. Holding hands in public also works as a declaration of the fact that ‘we are together’ and that can double up the strength of your relationship,” says relationship expert Aroona.
If Munna bhai’s ‘jadu ki jhappi’ didn’t inspire you enough, then remember that a hug implies far more than a meeting of two bodies. “It can be a reward if your partner has done something special for you, an assurance that you are there, an attempt to embrace your partner’s sorrows when he/she’s low or a celebration of joy,” explains psychiatrist Dr. Sameer Parekh. “We use hugs as a means to patch-up. Every heated argument between us ends the moment either of us opens our arms wide inviting a warm hug,” tells Kishore Rane, a 26 year old insurance agent. When a simple hug can achieve so much, why shy away from opening your arms to shower him/her with the warmest of embraces anywhere and anytime?