For most couples, it is important to have a deep, physical connection with each other. Both the emotional and the physical aspects of a relationship can help to encourage closeness and trust. However, relationship researchers have found that one extremely important thing is missing from many couples’ lives. The Kinsey Institute has found that 87 percent of all men and women desire this one thing.
The thing that helps to build a strong relationship is actually physical touch not due to lovemaking. This means things like hugs, cuddles, and even just a pat on the arm. Each time a couple touches each other, they are strengthening their bond. Though lovemaking also strengthens a relationship, it can be bad if that is the only reason for touching. Non-suggestive touching is important because it lets your partner know that you value them for things besides lovemaking.
Sadly, the study discovered that 87 percent of people were not getting touched enough by a partner. People were able to easily solve conflicts with physical affection, but many couples did not do this. If a couple does not have contact outside of lovemaking, their relationship could suffer. Without this important benefit, people felt ignored and unloved by their partner.
Many psychologists believe that physical contact is even more important than verbal or emotional contact. For example, a 2010 study by Gallace and Spence found that it had an actual physical effect. Women who regularly hugged their partner had lowered blood pressure and heart rates. This happens because physical touch so strongly boosts feelings of relaxation and comfort.