Why Couples Struggling With Sex Need Non-Sexual Touch



“Sex and intimacy are two different things, but we often use them interchangeably in our society,” marriage therapist Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, tells mbg. “I often talk with the couples I work with about the importance of non-sexual touch in a relationship.”

Non-sexual touch—like nuzzling up with each other in bed in the morning, kissing each other hello and goodbye, or simply resting a hand on your partner’s arm or knee as you talk to each other—can be very important for creating feelings of warmth and closeness between a couple. For many couples, losing all physical touch in a relationship can really hurt their connection.

Of course, some people are simply not that touchy in general; different people have different love languages and might care more about different types of intimacy, and that’s okay. As long as a couple is finding ways to mutually show affection that feel good to both partners, that’s what matters.

But scientifically speaking, there are many benefits of touch, particularly for relationships. Any form of touch—from hugging to orgasms—triggers the release of feel-good hormones in the body, including serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, according to Jackson. “Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone. That hormone is the same hormone released between a newborn baby and its mother, which is why skin-to-skin contact is highly recommended for bonding after childbirth,” she adds.

That means touch can be important for couples to feel close to each other, too—especially couples who are already feeling tension in their relationship because of a lack of sex. In fact, one reason why couples in sexless relationships may struggle so much is because they’ve lost all forms of physical intimacy, not just sex.

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