According to CNN.com, touching makes you healthier. From regular massages from professionals to hugging your friends and holding hands, feeling and being felt actually increases our mental and physical well being. Yes, even snuggling up with your pet makes you a healthier, happier person.
I thrive on being touched. There are fewer things that make me happier than a hug from a friend. Even just a quick arm around my shoulders from a friendly acquaintance feels amazing. You feel appreciated. You feel included. For me, there is nothing more amazing than holding my man's hand. It's like saying "we're in this together." Even on my loneliest days, my bunny rabbit Eeyore will nuzzle up to me. Those fleeting connections are delicious.
The part that strikes me, however, is that to allow yourself to be touched requires a huge amount of trust and intimacy. Of course, a massage stimulates your circulation and getting nekked with a hottie gets your blood pumping. I guess even frequent touching would increase your immune system by putting you in contact with foreign germs. Is this really where the most benefit comes from though? Or is it more in the ability to let down your guard, because you have procured a family of trusted friends? Is it because you are surrounded by people who want to both open themselves to you and show you their affection?
In monkeys, the bonded groups constantly groom each other. Not only does this remove the bugs from the monkey being groomed, but it feeds the monkey who is doing the grooming. The social bonds formed will serve the monkeys on higher levels: who they can mate with, will they be protected, will food be shared with them. Touching is essential to the monkeys survival.
In dating, I'm a slow mover. I can interact, talk and laugh with anyone. I can make someone feel like the only person in the room, but to open myself up to your touch is a big deal.
Once we're at that level, small displays of public affection can be so perfect. I love it when I'm out with my guy and he gives me a quick hug from behind and wraps his arm just below my rib cage. I love to grab his arm right about his elbow and hold tightly as he guides me through a crowd or over a patch of ice. And, of course, hand holding is pure bliss. I love these little moments, because they offer a second of protection and show that he's thinking of me. A little bit of PDA can go a long way.
As I go through #NoManJan, I couldn't be more lucky to have the amazing group of friends that I do. I'm not going to be holding any hands this month, but I've got a stockpile of hugs at my disposal.
What's your favorite form of PDA?