What hot chocolate and a nice book are for a rainy day, affection is for intimacy in relationships. Our senses help us to understand our surroundings and to develop meanings. We come to discover our partner’s world through actively listening and asking questions out of curiosity, and usually, these interactions are accompanied by some kind of affection: holding hands, kissing softly, rubbing each other’s back, a hug, and more.
In our society, it seems as we were taught that touching is only an activity that leads to sexual intimacy. And yes, touching is the main component for a healthy and pleasurable sexual experience! But there are more benefits to affection in romantic relationships.
BENEFITS OF AFFECTION IN ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP
According to research, when we touch someone -it doesn’t matter if he or she is a stranger or a significant loved one- our brain releases a bonding hormone called oxytocin. The more we are in physical contact with our spouse, the more oxytocin is released and the better the bonding!! This is just awesome in itself.
- Releases oxytocin, a bonding hormone that helps the brain cope with stress.
Since releasing oxytocin helps the brain cope with stress, it has also been shown that people who are more affectionate with his/her partner, friends/family and others, tend to have lower levels of blood pressure. This is another perk for being closer to your partner, and a reason to hold hands or rest your head on his chest when that TV show that you don’t really like comes around.
- Lowers your blood pressure levels when done frequently.
Affection with your spouse is another way to communicate. Only when we feel safe and happy within a relationship, we will self-disclose information about ourselves. We share our biggest fears, our dreams, and our desires. And this self-disclosing leads to the goal of building up more intimacy.
- Helps to communicate with your spouse on a day-to-day basis.
Do you remember the beginning of your relationship? Probably there’s a lot of time spent laying next to each other, caressing one another, looking at your partner in his/her eyes, time stopped like there was nothing else that needed your attention… Both of you were building intimacy by using affection. I’m sure that if I asked you if you felt cared for in this time of the relationship, the answer would be yes.
- Affection makes your spouse feel cared for.
And there you go!
We live in a time where we are always in a rush, so it is easy to forget to spend time bonding through affection. Our kiddos need to be ready for school, our hubby/wifey needs to be on time at work, and ourselves have a complete routine from the moment the alarm clock is ringing to the moment we go to sleep. Such a sense of hurry keeps us apart from dedicating precious time to touching our spouse in non-sexual ways, and we are losing a huge opportunity to keep building the bond and developing intimacy within our relationship.
TIPS FOR HAVING MORE TOUCHING TIMES FOR BUSY COUPLES
- Set apart 5-10 minutes in your morning routine before getting your day started to touch and connect with your partner. Whisper how much you love her/him while rubbing his/her back or caress his/her arm while lying in silence enjoying this precious time.
- Before going off for your day give him/her a hug and caress in his/her neck to remind him/her of the love you have for your spouse.
- If feeling adventurous, try something new that involves lots of touching and using all your sense, for example, cooking together.
- Try as much as you can to go to bed at the same time.
- Turn off the lights and lay down close to your spouse. Try speaking softly about the good things or funny things that happened during your day. Avoid bringing up blue topics since this is your time to be together and make it a positive time!
Sofia M. Robirosa
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.