7 Scientifically-Proven Benefits Of Showing Affection To Your Partner

There's a reason we crave human touch.

man and woman kissing Alex Gukalov / Shutterstock 

Whether you’re a touchy-feely person or not, there are multiple reasons to be more physically affectionate in your close relationships.

Even if your love language isn't physical touch, it's natural to crave being touched.

According to psychologist Chloe Paidoussis-Mitchell, speaking to HuffPost, "It may sound trivial, but the lack (or even prohibition) of physical contact with other people can have a real impact on mental well-being, particularly if you live alone."


 In relationships, touching and being touched is even more important because showing physical affection helps couples bond 

RELATED: 3 Types Of Hugs Men Give & What They Say About His Feelings For You

Here are seven science-approved reasons why showing affection is important:

1. Physical affection releases feel-good hormones.

One of the reasons why hugging, holding hands, and touching feel good to us is that these behaviors elevate our level of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation.


Oxytocin is increased during sexual interactions and also as a result of affectionate touch, as this study demonstrates.

The effect appeared to be especially marked in husbands. 

2. Showing affection predicts marital love. 

Although the love between spouses tends to predict their level of physical affection, the reverse is also true.

That is, the amount of physical affection between husbands and wives predicts how much they say they love each other, as this study shows.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Spooning With Your Boo Makes You Healthier, Says Science

3. Physical affection is related to lower blood pressure.

Among women, those who receive more hugs from their romantic partners have lower resting blood pressure, as this study illustrates. It is unclear whether the same is true for men.​


4. Being affectionate makes you appear more trustworthy. 

Being physically affectionate can even improve how others see you. According to this study, engaging in affectionate touch increases how trustworthy you appear.

5. Physical affection reduces stress hormones. 

In romantic couples, increasing physical affection lowers daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as this study shows.

RELATED: 18 Signs Your Partner Is 'Touch Starved' And Needs More Affection

6. Showing affection is associated with higher relationship satisfaction.

This study found that romantic partners are more satisfied with their relationships the more physically affectionate they are with each other.


7. Being affectionate today puts you in a better mood tomorrow. 

The benefits of physical affection aren't confined to the moment. For women, engaging in physical affection with a loved one predicts an increase in positive mood the following day, according to this study.

None of these observations is a reason to start hugging people indiscriminately, of course. The benefits of physical affection are largely confined to close relationships. Indeed, receiving physical affection from a stranger often causes stress. In some situations—such as a nurse holding a patient’s hand—affection can be beneficial even if a close personal relationship doesn’t exist, but those situations are the exception, not the rule.

With loved ones, however, physical affection is often a boon to relationship quality, physical health, and mental well-being. For these reasons, it’s good to make time for affection!


RELATED: The Secret To Loving Better In All Of Your Relationships

Kory Floyd is a professor of interpersonal communication and the author of 13 books, including The Loneliness Cure: Six Strategies for Finding Real Connections in Your Life.