Touching is a very basic human need. From the moment we are born, touch is required for us to thrive. Touching is also at the heart of sexual response. In relationships where sexual intercourse decreases, there is also a corresponding decrease in touching both intimate and affectionate touching. Those little pats on the arm, gentle squeeze of the thigh when you’re in the car together, holding hands before sleeping…
Caressing produces a very intimate feeling, is very sensual and can be done for mutual pleasure, without leading to intercourse. It’s an important step to increased intimacy and ultimately making sex sizzle again. Hand holding, kissing and hugging are affectionate forms of pleasuring each other. Massage, cuddling on the couch, spooning at night, cuddling in the bed in the morning and showering together are also forms of sensual pleasure. In fact, all forms of tender touch have tremendous value in re-kindling that lost connection.
However, men and women do tend to communicate differently. Many women tell me that to feel intimate they need to feel connected to that person and feel free to talk about how they feel whereas sometimes men don’t want to talk, they just want to be loved, to be next to their partner.
For example, sometimes when a man wants a hug, he initiates intercourse and when a woman wants intercourse, she initiates a hug. So it’s not surprising that we give each other mixed signals. So when sexual desire declines, especially after the baby is born, maybe the woman simply needs a hug, but she grows tired of asking for it because her partner seems to misinterpret the gesture and think she wants intercourse. Then when she stops hugging him, he feels rejected or that he’s done something wrong.
In fact, as one woman put it, “Why does every touch have to lead to intercourse? I can’t touch my husband at all without him thinking he’s going to get lucky.
And as another said to me, “It’s choreplay before foreplay. I feel like I do everything around the house plus work and take care of the kids. I even take out the trash. I need him to help me around the house. If he would do a bit more, I would feel more loving towards him and want to be with him.”
Yet I hear husbands just as Dan say, “She was so distant and so busy that when she did hug me I thought, “Finally I get a break and we are going to have sex! I know she is busy with the baby, but is having sex once in a while too much to ask?”
So as you can see, it’s vitally important to take time to reconnect. If you have fallen into the habit of not touching and not being in touch with one another, then you need to start.
There’s no magic pill nor magic wand that can make it happen. You both have to be more conscious of what you are saying to each other. This article has given you some insights as to why you need to start, but information alone is not going to make it happen. And if you can’t seem to bridge these differences, then please feel free to let me know what seems to be getting in the way (we do not have to use your name) so I can address these obstacles in further posts to help you and many others that may be hesitant to reach out for help.