What do you think when you see a senior couple walking and holding hands? I think about love, connection, that invisible force that’s still holding them together. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to have that too, even when my wife and I are sitting in our rocking chairs together.
In this post, we’re going to talk about an often overlooked kind of physical affection. Many couples have almost dropped it out of their repertoire even though it’s one of the easiest ways to increase intimacy and help you feel safe, accepted, and appreciated.
We’re going to talk about physical touch—but without the expectation that you’re going to end up in bed. Therefore, this post is about surprisingly simple ways that you can touch and cuddle with your spouse.
Before we move on, make no mistake: I’m not saying to give up the physical intimacy and touches that lead to sex. But that’s just one side of it, and we want both. That’s because touching and cuddling is one of the easiest ways to show physical affection in a softer, deeper way.
Therefore, if you’re not in the habit of cuddling any more, or you’re looking for new ideas for ways to feel closer to your partner, read on. Bringing these meaningful, non-sexual touches back is going to enhance your marriage and strengthen what the two of you have together.
Put That Bag of Salty Chips Away
As you may know, the skin is our biggest organ. There are approximately five million touch receptors in our skin, 3,000 in each fingertip. As such, touch triggers a strong response in our brains.
Not surprisingly, touching and cuddling releases oxytocin, one of the “happy neurochemicals” that our brains produce. If we are calm and happy, and we feel good about ourselves, our relationship, and our life in general, we have a higher level of oxytocin.
Perhaps more importantly, oxytocin controls empathy and emotional response, and it’s vital for getting the feelings of closeness and intimacy that you desire and deserve.
Cuddling and Touching Without Sexpectations
Not all cuddling and touching has to lead to sex (but it can). You can also cuddle like this:
- Offer a long hug and a warm kiss as soon as you walk in the door and just as you leave each day. This may seem meaningless but it’ll make the two of you feel loved and connected as your brains release vast quantities of feel-good neurochemicals such as oxytocin and endorphins. It’ll have an uplifting effect on your mood for the whole day! It sure does on my wife. How do I know? She told me.
- A kiss for no reason. Just how often do you kiss your loved one? Has the kiss turned into a move you two only do during foreplay? A kiss is a powerful connection. Kiss your spouse often, even if it’s just a casual peck on the lips—especially if your children are looking. As long as you feel like kissing your partner often, your relationship will grow stronger, and both of you will feel more connected and loved.
- Sitting close to each other on the couch, possibly under the blanket and warming each other’s feet.
- Rub each other’s feet while watching TV.
- Rest your partner’s head in your lap and give them a gentle eye massage. If you haven’t tried this by now you really should.
- A look in your partner’s eyes and a warm hug do wonders.
- Hold hands when you walk. Alternatively, walk arm in arm.
- Hold hands (especially) when you’re with your kids. Not only will you show your spouse your devotion and affection but your children will unconsciously pick up the very same behavior patterns from you and use them later in their adult life.
- Rub their shoulders while they’re behind the desk checking emails.
- Go up behind your partner and slide your arms around their waist. Brush by them with a quick touch.
- Nuzzle your face into the side of their neck and tell them how much you love them.
- Kiss your loved one during commercials. Chances are, your partner will close their eyes and smile because they can’t help but feel good about what you just did!
- Wandering hands. Let your hands wander over your partner’s body when both of you are watching the TV. It doesn’t have to be sexual at all, and it’ll still make both of you feel good and more connected.
- Hug your partner from behind next time they are brushing their teeth.
- Stroke their hair. Run your hands through your partner’s hair while cuddling up. You’ll feel great and your partner will feel a lot more loved.
- While your partner is busy around the home, walk by and stop to kiss them for no particular reason. Just because.
- Sleep close together and let your partner lie behind you and wrap his or her arms around you while you both are lying like little spoons in a drawer (also called spooning).
- Go to bed together and lie in each other’s arms in the dark before you drift off to sleep. Whisper together, sharing private thoughts and pleasant little experiences of the day for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, when you become sleepy, just say I love you and good night and drift off.
Don’t Wait for Your Partner to Initiate Touching
Lastly, you don’t have to wait for your partner to initiate cuddling. Start it yourself. And if you feel like being on the receiving end, just say, “I would really appreciate it if you could (hold me, touch me, hold my hand). It would make me feel so much better.” Try it today!