Skin Hunger

Humans have a physiological need for touch. And yet there are many things in the modern lifestyle that set us up for skin hunger, such as:

We’re heading into year 3 of social distancing.Working from home can mean many people go a whole week without seeing another person.Technology means we spend more living virtually than interacting face-to-face.More than ever, people live alone.Many people have only superficial relationships. They don’t have a single person to talk to about important events.

The Negative Impact of Skin Hunger

Living a low touch lifestyle has a lot of negative impacts. People who have low affection report being more lonely, depressed, stressed, and sad. They have less social support and have less satisfying relationships than those with moderate to high touch.

Skin hunger is associated with anxiety and mood disorders.

Since they are also less able to express and interpret emotion, healthy relationships escape them. They can push people away one minute and then be clingy the next.

As a result, it can be more comfortable for them to desire transactional sexual relationships rather than experience true intimacy.

How to Overcome Skin Hunger

It’s not all doom and gloom! For most of us, these symptoms can be reversed. You just have to find a healthy outlet for touch.

Here are some ideas.

Get a furry pet. Cats, bunnies, hamsters, and dogs make safe cuddling companions. But be sensible. They also require a lot of care. Be sure that you are able to take on that commitment long term before you adopt a pet.

Get a massage. Who doesn’t love a massage? It’s a healthy pampering way to get your touch needs met. And don’t forget, you can massage yourself.

Find a cuddle party. These are gatherings where people can practice healthy boundaries, consent, communication, and nonsexual touch. They are fun and your oxytocin goes sky high! If you want a good night’s sleep, here’s your ticket!

Play contact sports. Come on. This is why guys do it! It’s a manly way to be aggressive, compete, and get your touch needs met.

Dance. Couples dancing is the best! It grows your brain, works up a sweat, and gets your touch needs met. It’s the most intimate you can be while being fully clothed.

Playing with your kids. Kids like rough and tumble, huggy, snuggly play. It’s good for them and you.

Hugs. A heart to heart hug can convey so much. Don’t hold back. Love your people, and let them love you.

Holding hands. Young people often hold hands, and then as we get older, that somehow goes away. Let’s normalize that again!

Butterfly hug. (click for a demonstration) This helps to soothe anxiety, lower the heart rate, and helps you to feel more grounded and calm.

The human body is designed to keep you alive. Regular touch tells the brain that you are connected, you belong. So, your brain drives you to get it.

Clearly touch deprivation is a problem, but there are lots of solutions. I hope one or more of these works for you.