A Little Touch Is All It Takes

A Little Touch Is All It Takes

couple sex

Surprising new data reveals a startling disconnect between couples desires to be touched and the amount of physical connection they actually experience through touch. The data suggests that this gap between what couples want and experience could pose a risk to the type of intimacy that can help couples experience a more positive and fulfilling relationship.

The national survey, conducted by The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, one of the most well regarded sexual health research institutes globally, and K-Y®, is the first of its kind research that is aimed towards better understanding the touch habits of American couples.

The survey pulls back the covers on the importance of physical connections through touch:

  • Nearly all (87%) men and women in committed relationships rated touch as very or extremely important to building intimacy.
  • Yet, more than a third (34%) of these participants say that they are not touched often enough by their partner.
  • Couples who touch more than once a day are 14% more satisfied with their relationship, compared to all couples

Dr. Justin R. Garcia, Associate Director for Research and Education at The Kinsey Institute, explains why touch is critical to our happiness: “Touch is important for sustaining a healthy relationship, but it’s also necessary for our feelings of connection, safety and overall well-being.  People who experience regular loving touch benefit from increased oxytocin levels, which has been associated with lower heart rates and lower blood pressure, and over time can decrease a person’s risk for many serious health ailments. Scientific research tells us that effective touch is important for our emotional and physical well-being. The more you connect with others – with even the smallest physical gesture – the happier and healthier you’ll be.”

So how important is touch in our relationships? Weighing in on the survey is world-renowned sex and relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman who says that touch is at the heart of intimacy and in fact can be the first step to helping couples build intimacy.

“The Touch Initiative survey from K-Y and The Kinsey Institute shows that 88% of people would like to be touched at least once a week yet so many couples come to see me because their relationship is being threatened by a lack of intimacy,” said Dr. Berman.  “The first thing I say to those couples is to start touching to connect but it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Touching to connect and inspire intimacy can be as simple as holding hands or stroking the back of someone’s neck. Connection comes from an accumulation of small gestures, and if it’s a loving touch, the specific type of touch isn’t as important as the actual act of touching.”

The survey was the result of a partnership, called the Touch Initiative, between the Kinsey Institute and K-Y, a leader in sexual well-being and intimacy for nearly 100 years. The survey was the first step for K-Y towards achieving its vision to build intimacy in and out of the bedroom by creating special moments between couples. “We’re very proud to partner with The Kinsey Institute on The Touch Initiative, which is committed to better understanding the power of touch and how it impacts couples’ connectivity and overall well-being,” says Rachel Sexton, Senior Brand Manager for K-Y. “We look forward to leveraging our collective heritage to understand how a little touch is all it takes can help inspire couples to gain more intimacy their lives.”

As part of getting couples to connect more, K-Y is also introducing a new K-Y®Touch®, a 2-in-1 massage crème and pleasure gel. The touch-activated massage crème and pleasure gel are designed to magnify the skin’s sensitivity and deliver a gentle warming sensation that builds with every caress so that couples can slow down and truly feel their partner’s touch.


Here are 5 tips to increase intimacy as a couple:


  1. Increase the time that you are physically connected. Hold hands while walking or touch legs when sitting next to each other and see if you both notice the difference.
  2. Make plans for date night, don’t leave it up to chance. Once you agree on your plans, write down the date and details somewhere you both can easily see – and look forward to.
  3. Inject romance – and even a dash of spice. Leaving a post-it note with a sexy message in an unexpected place, like his briefcase, can bring you closer together and make the day more interesting.
  4. Take a trip down memory lane. Go to your local high school or college and share stories from your more youthful years. Sharing these memories can give you a better understanding of your partner.
  5. Try something new. Whether it’s something that you’ve always wanted to try, like learning to tango, or something that you never thought of trying, like sky-diving, new experiences create specific memories and strengthen your bond to each other. Brainstorm a list of ideas together, choose a few and just go have fun with your partner!

Join the conversation on the K-Y Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kycouples.

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