Physical intimacy is an important part of any relationship.
Depending on your love language, physical connection is the main way you showcase your love and affection in romantic relationships.
If you’re dating someone with a physical touch love language, physical contact is like another way of saying “I love you”. In this case, physical touch is the key to compatibility in a relationship — with this love language unlocking a new dynamic between you and your partner.
There are 5 love languages that encapsulate the distinct ways people prefer to show and receive love.
Love languages have become very well-known in popular culture, with the original theory devised by Dr. Gary Chapman in his bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.
This theory identifies the five love languages in romantic relationships as follows:
Research shows that by knowing your partner’s primary love language, you can boost your relationship satisfaction by tailoring your affection to your partner’s preferences. However, some studies show these love languages only work if both partners choose to adapt to them.
The love language of physical touch is all about connection through physical closeness, with touching seen as an expression of love.
If your partner’s love language is physical touch, it means they feel most loved when they feel physical contact, affection, and proximity. There are many different types of touch, such as holding hands, cuddling, or kissing.
If physical touch is your love language, a lack of physical connection in a relationship could be a dealbreaker. Even though we all have different love languages and ways of expressing connection, this incompatibility around touch could damage your relationship if you don’t find a balance.
Relationships naturally involve affection and connection through physical intimacy. However, if you’re a physical touch person, you will feel stronger about how you and your express affection in this way.
Even if physical touch isn’t your primary love language, this kind of contact has benefits for every relationship.
Firstly, studies show that physical touch, particularly sustained contact through cuddling or hugging, releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that makes you feel happy, safe, and secure.
“The presence of a trusted loved one has a calming effect on the nervous system,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.
“In a healthy relationship, if your partner can regulate their emotions and remain composed, being close to them can help your own nervous system return to a calm state.”
Enhanced emotional connection
Security & trust
Release of bonding hormones
Boost in physical and emotional intimacy
Support during challenging times
While there are many pros to physical touch, it’s essential to communicate openly with your partner about your comfort levels, boundaries, and preferences regarding physical touch. Even though it may feel good for you, physical touch should be expressed in a way that is mutually fulfilling and respectful.
Everyone has different ways of expressing their love through physical touch, with preferences varying from couple to couple.
Even if your partner loves physical touch, only do what you're comfortable with — finding balance in how you express yourself through different forms of touch.
Physical contact encompasses many different forms of touch, with a distinct difference between physical and sexual touch.
Physical touch usually refers to non-sexual forms of contact that express care, affection, and emotional connection. This can include holding hands, cuddling, foot rubs, or any other physical gestures.
This kind of physical contact can be present in both romantic and non-romantic scenarios, focused on building an emotional connection and expressing support.
Sexual touch refers to physical touch that is specifically intended to arouse or stimulate pleasure, such as kissing, foreplay, or sexual intercourse. Therefore, physical touch is focused on emotional connection, while sexual touch is intended to engage in sexual intimacy and pleasure.
If you love physical touch and your partner doesn’t, it can put some strain on your relationship compatibility.
For example, if you like public displays of affection such as kissing and hand-holding, and your partner is more private, it can make you feel unloved or dismissed. However, it’s important to have an open discussion about your needs in a relationship, so you can both feel validated and loved.
Even if excessive PDA isn’t your cup of tea, try and adjust to your partner’s needs by reaching a compromise — finding a balance that works for you both!
If you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s harder to satisfy your need for physical intimacy. However, even though it’s challenging, you can still connect despite the distance by utilizing technology and working on giving your undivided attention to your partner.