Gary Chapman’s concept of 5 love languages conveys the idea that each of us has a primary love language. That’s how it’s more natural for us to express and receive love. And one of these love languages is physical touch.
This may be your love language if you feel loved when your partner engages in frequent, physical affection. Or perhaps, you recognize in this description your partner who craves this exact sort of attention. In any case, it’s important to honor each person’s primary love language. That starts with learning more about it, and we’re here to share everything you need to know.
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“Expressing love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.”
Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages for Singles
People who are most receptive to physical intimacy have the love language of physical touch. They crave physical closeness and tend to give contact to those they love freely. This includes both sexual intimacy and non-sexual touch. Of course, each of us loves touching our love partners – but the key is that you or your partner feels most love through touches.
Remember that five love languages impact how people receive and express love. The thesis is that every person has a primary love language. All 5 love languages include:
Physical closeness is an important part of all relationships. When you touch someone lovingly or lustfully, that releases certain hormones. This leads to intense pleasure and a desire for more of that. Even simple platonic contact, like holding hands, fills an essential need we all have.
Have you ever felt as if your relationship is missing something? It could be something as simple as touching your partner more often. And it can change your relationship dramatically for the better if it turns out that physical touch is a love language for you or your partner.
Related reading: 3 Types of Love – Which One Is Yours?
Have you ever suspected that physical touch is your love language or your partner’s? Here are some signs that you have a deep need for physical affection.
Many people bristle at the spontaneous physical touch. It feels intrusive to them, but not you. When your partner quickly leans over to kiss you, you feel a sense of love and comfort. The same is true when sneaking up behind you for a hug it spontaneously holds your hand.
When you are single, what makes you crave being in a relationship? If it’s small acts of physical touch, then your love language is probably acts of physical affection. Sure, sex is part of that but you also crave cuddling, hugging, and other platonic touch.
Love languages aren’t absolute. You truly appreciate a gift of a sincere compliment. Of course, you love it when your partner gives you their time. Still, physical touch truly gives you a rush of the feel-good hormone.
You’re hanging out with your partner, and without realizing it you are stroking their arm. That kind of automatic physical touch shows that this is your love language.
When your partner initiates sex, your heart soars. This is the most intimate form of physical touch, and you feel loved when they show they have the desire to experience that with you.
Related reading: Want Some Spice? Add a Sexual Surprise to Your Sex Life
Let’s keep it real. Some people have issues with public displays of affection. You love to hold hands with your partner, give them hugs, blow kisses, etc. It helps you feel connected to them when you are out together. Also, it hurts your feelings a bit when they aren’t affectionate with you when you go out.
A simple, reassuring physical touch calms you when you are upset or stressed out. It makes you feel centered and safe. Something as simple as your partner’s hand on your arm restores your mental health.
It’s your birthday, but money’s been tight. Instead of a store-bought gift, your partner hands you a homemade “coupon” for a free massage. Other people might bristle at a gift like this, but your heart soars. The idea of an hour of physical closeness and affection sounds like the best birthday present ever.
Sex is a part of physical intimacy, but it isn’t all of it. People who have physical touch as their love language are often accused of being over-sexed. If they are with people who aren’t used to sharing physical intimacy as a central part of a romantic relationship, they may be presumed to simply want sex. In reality, they crave platonic affection just as much. A simple act such as blowing kisses or a five-minute back scratch can be fulfilling for them. It can also do wonders for their relationship.
Related reading: The Art and Skill of Making Love
What do you do when your partner’s love language is physical touch? What if your primary of the five love languages isn’t physical touch? Can you ensure they receive the physical affection they need while being true to your love language? Here are 6 ways to use physical touch to meet your needs.
Quality and quantity are important when someone’s love language is physical touch. Try to initiate sex when you’re in the mood, but leave plenty of time to enjoy one another. This can help fill up their cup in a sense and leave them feeling loved by you.
A good relationship coach knows that people in general are touch starved. We all need enough positive, affirming physical touch to feel loved. When we don’t receive physical affection, it can take a toll on our mental health.
If one of your partner’s dominant love languages is physical affection, that goes double. Even a small instance of physical touch is a great way to express affection to someone who craves intimate touch. Here are some things to try:
Don’t limit your imagination! Once you recognize what your significant other loves the most, you will see occasions to give them that loving touch.
Your partner appreciates closeness in a literal sense. They crave being near you. So, close the distance and grab the spot next to them on the couch. That’s where you can enjoy some quiet, comfortable time that strengthens your relationship.
Here’s a common conundrum: your partner’s love language is physical touch, but you aren’t the touchy-feely type. Sometimes, you bristle at their physical gestures. Is it possible for people like you to have healthy romantic relationships when your primary love language is different?
Of course, it is possible. Your love languages don’t have to match as long as you are both respectful and express your needs. One thing to consider is that you may prefer certain kinds of physical expressions more than others.
For example, you may find big physical acts like bear hugs off-putting but love a foot rub. Let them know the non-intimate touches they can use that you truly enjoy.
Related reading: How to Be a Better Lover – Inside and Out
Other forms of intimacy can make your partner feel special, even if they don’t involve direct physical contact, such as hand-holding.
For one thing, give them eye contact when the two of you are speaking. Smile from across the room. Call them instead of texting. While these may not be the same thing as touch, they can help you create a physical connection with a partner whose love language is physical contact.
While it is helpful to understand primary love languages, nobody should be strictly obligated to meet their partner’s needs at their own expense. You certainly don’t have to accept or express physical touch when you are overwhelmed or uncomfortable with it.
It’s much better to place limits on physical contact than to become resentful when your partner touches you. Remember, you should get to show your partner love in a way that works for you.
If this becomes an issue, it may be time for you and your partner to work with a mental health professional. They will encourage both dialogue and self-reflection to work through this issue. As long as each partner puts a good effort in communicating and being respectful everything should work out no matter whose love language is under the microscope.
How do you manage a long-distance relationship when touch is so important to you or your partner? These tips will help the two of you navigate this challenge.
Related reading: Does Distance Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
Long-distance couples can maintain close relationships, even when they can’t touch or hold one another.
Whether it’s you or your partner whose love language is touch, it’s important that both of you partner together to show you love one another. This means balancing your partner’s needs with your own. Fortunately, the human touch is such a basic need. So, try holding hands more often and engage in a display or two of PDA. It will make your relationship that much stronger.