Added: Auriel Nick - Date: 29.01.2022 02:10 - Views: 11173 - Clicks: 4795
By Dr. Justin Lehmiller. Study after study has found that couples who touch each other more tend to be happier. From backrubs to gentle caresses to hand-holding to hugging, the more intimate contact couples have with one another, the more satisfied they tend to be with their relationships .
Certainly, sexual touch is important, too, but non-sexual physical contact appears to have unique benefits. This kind of touch promotes connection and relaxation, while also building intimacy. New research suggests that different touch preferences may have a lot to do with our attachment style.
Everyone has an attachment style that reflects the way they tend to approach and think about relationships. Our attachment patterns are shaped early in life through interactions with our caregivers during infancy and childhood. For example, are they available to us physically and emotionally when we need them? Also, how much reassurance do they provide us? These experiences form the building blocks for our attachment patterns in adulthood and they spill over into the way we navigate our romantic lives. For example, people who developed anxious patterns early on often find themselves concerned about being abandoned by their partners, whereas those who developed more avoidant patterns tend to find themselves uncomfortable with too much intimacy.
A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships explored how attachment anxiety and avoidance are linked to satisfaction with the amount of touch people are getting in their marriages and, further, how this is linked to their overall feelings about the relationship . Researchers at Binghamton University and Stony Brooke University studied different-sex married couples. Most participants were White, in their early- to mids, and had been married for 6.
Both partners completed a survey about their attachment style, their satisfaction with the amount of intimate touch they are receiving, how often they engage in routine affection with their partners, and how satisfied vs. Overall, and consistent with research, partners who touched each other more and who were happier with the amount of touch they were receiving tended to be more sexually satisfied and were happier in their relationships. Also, on average, wives were more satisfied with the amount of touch they were getting than were husbands, and people who had been in their relationships longer were less satisfied with touch than people in newer relationships.
For both men and women, having a more anxious attachment style i. However, when ing for the amount of routine affection in the relationship, this association disappeared for women, but remained for men. In other words, for women, the link between anxiety and touch satisfaction was purely a function of how much touch they were actually getting; however, for men, touch satisfaction was about more than just how much touch they received. Exploring this association further, the researchers found that when routine touch was really high, most men were pretty satisfied no matter what their anxiety level was.
However, when routine touch was low, this seemed to affect anxious men much more profoundly and negatively than non-anxious men. What effects did attachment avoidance have?
Men whose spouses were more avoidant reported being less satisfied with the amount of touch they were getting; however, this association disappeared when ing for amount of routine touch. Also, for women only, those who were high in avoidance were happier than their non-avoidant counterparts when the amount of touch was low; however, when the amount of touch was high, the pattern was reversed. Thus, we should be cautious about generalizing the findings broadly until the are replicated in more diverse samples. More research is needed, especially to further understand the gender effects uncovered here.
However, there are interesting implications of these. For example, they suggest that attending to discrepancies in attachment style may be vital to understanding the root of relationship conflicts centering around touch. They also suggest that blanket recommendations to increase touch might not affect everyone and every relationship the same way. Romantic physical affection types and relationship satisfaction. The American Journal of Family Therapy31 4 Touch me just enough: The intersection of adult attachment, intimate touch, and marital satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships Justin Lehmiller is an award-winning educator and a prolific researcher and scholar.
Follow him on Twitter JustinLehmiller or facebook.Longing for the touch of an older woman
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