- Several research studies have found that touching creates liking and attraction.
- The more intimate and personal the touch, the greater the attraction that results.
- Massage, in the form of neck rubs or foot rubs for example, can help revitalize an existing intimate relationship.
Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor
Do you ever wonder why some of your relationships go nowhere? Have you ever not felt that spark of attraction and passion and wondered why? Did you ever lose that special connection with a lover?
Many people ask me these questions and more about dating and relating. They wonder why that first kiss didn't happen or felt weird. They wonder why that second date never happened. They wonder why things never got physical with a lover or fizzled out in the bedroom with a spouse. The answer to all of their questions and more is touch.
Look at any animal show on the Discovery channel. Animals don't court and mate with words, drinks, and dinners. They touch, nuzzle, stroke, and lick to flirt, seduce, communicate, persuade, and mate. Beneath all the trappings of our modern dating, humans are no different. However, we often get so mixed up in talking that we forget to do what is really important. We forget how to flirt and seduce with touch!
Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing with you a series of articles on touch. I will be showing you how to attract with just a bit of touching, nuzzling, holding, and hugging. I'm going to help you see the importance of a "touch of love" and put a bit of physical contact back into your dating, relating, and mating.
Touching to Build Attraction
Let's begin with some touching basics. Several research studies have found that touching creates liking and attraction. In other words, when you touch other people, they tend to become more attracted to you. Here are some examples:
- Williams and Kleinke (1993) evaluated the effect of different types of mutual touch (or no touch) on randomly-paired, opposite-sex couples. Mutual touch was associated with significantly elevated heart rates in participants. Furthermore, touching increased desire, especially when it was combined with eye contact and the participant's own romantic outlook.
- Studies by Burgoon and associates have also found that touch leads to feelings of attraction. Burgoon, Walther, and Baesler (1992) manipulated types of touch by having students participate in a problem-solving task with a research assistant posing as a fellow undergraduate. Brief touches by the assistant led to an increase in the student's feelings of credibility, liking, and attraction toward them.
- In two field experiments, Burgoon (1991) also established the various meanings conveyed through touch. After surveying 622 adolescents and adults, the author determined that touching conveys affection, receptivity, immediacy, and similarity, as well as dominance and informality. Furthermore, not all touch was equal in communication effect. While handholding and face touching expressed intimacy, handshaking expressed receptivity and trust. Therefore, the more intimate and personal the touch, the greater the attraction that results.
How to Attract With Touch
If you are interested in someone romantically, or in the early stages of dating, some common ways of social touching might include:
- Hug them as a greeting and set a precedent for physical contact.
- Sit next to them with shoulders/thighs touching, rather than across from them.
- Pat their hands or touch their shoulders to get their attention or make a comment.
- Take their hand or elbow to go with them to another location (e.g. moving seats or rooms).
If you are trying to revitalize an existing intimate relationship, then you can get a bit more personal in your touching. Some examples are:
- Make sure to really kiss your lover or mate (see here). No cheap "pecks." Kiss them often too.
- Hug and snuggle your mate as well. Give them a hug while they cook. Cuddle with them while they watch TV. Stop reading books at opposite ends of the bed!
- Finally, a bit of massaging goes a long way. Neck rubs, foot rubs (or other rubbing) can always be passion-inducing as well.
Attraction is built through touching. Plain and simple. If you don't touch a date, lover, or mate, then attraction will not build (or fade away). So, make sure to rub your lover the right way. Find excuses, opportunities, and ways to touch as often as possible. Get comfortable with touch... and increase your ability to attract your lover.
Next week, in Part 2, I show you how touch can also be used to persuade a date or mate. See it here.
© 2012 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Burgoon, J. K. (1991). Relational message interpretations of touch, conversational distance, and posture. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 15, 233-259.
Burgoon, J. K., Walther, J. B., & Baesler, E. J. (1992). Interpretations, evaluations, and consequences of interpersonal touch. Human Communication Research, 19, 237-263.
Williams, G. P., & Kleinke, C. L. (1993). Effect of mutual gaze and touch on attraction, mood, and cardiovascular reactivity. Journal of Research in Personality, 27, 170-183.