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How do you and your spouse regularly touch?

Touch is a unique sense. Unlike the other senses, touch has multiple areas of sensitivity throughout the body. Every part of the skin, including the fingertips, lips, and tongue, is packed with nerve endings that are specialized in detecting different types of touch sensations.

The nerve endings on our fingertips can detect fine textures and temperature changes, while the nerve endings in our lips can detect pressure and vibration. Similarly, the nerve endings on our tongue can detect different tastes and textures. These nerve endings send electrical signals to the brain, where they are interpreted as sensations of touch, temperature, or pain.

Touching is a way of communicating and expressing emotions like love, comfort, or support. For instance, a simple hug can provide a sense of security and calmness. So, touch is not just a physical sense but also an emotional and social one that has a profound impact on our lives.

Understanding the significance physical touch has on our spouses can help us better understand the need to speak this love language to them.

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A Love Languages recap

We’ve been going over The 5 Love Languages for 4 weeks now! But maybe you’re just joining us today! In that case, here is a short synopsis of the book:

Gary Chapman, a marriage and family counselor and author, identified 5 main ways that people give and receive love, which he explains in his book The 5 Love Languages. He explains how learning to speak your partner's love language is crucial for their emotional security in the relationship.

Our emotional gauge of how well we are being loved is our "love tank," which can be depleted by neglect or love expressed in a way that does not resonate with us. Something hurtful, neglectful or not in our love language can cause a withdrawal from our love tank. The deposits come when our spouse clearly communicates their love to us in a way that we can relate to and understand.

Check out our post, The Power of Love Language Loving, for a more detailed summary and review of the book.

We’re breaking down all 5 love languages into easily understood details and actionable ways you can express them right away. We also include a few behaviors you should avoid that make deep withdrawals from your spouse’s love tank.

We’ve explained Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Now let’s go through Physical Touch.

What is Physical Touch?

Individuals who have this Love Language feel valued, loved and connected to their partner when they are touched. This might include holding hands, hugs, kisses, cuddling and any other form of physical affection.

We’re finding it’s pretty common for people to assume that the partner with the higher sex drive must have Physical Touch as their Love Language. But that assumption seems to be perpetuated out of a misunderstanding of this Love Language.

Physical Touch certainly can include sex, but at its core it’s all about the feeling of connection. And that feeling is both emotional and tactile. You can have a high or low sex drive and still have the need for love through the expression of Physical Touch.

It’s the simple act of physical connection and being in close proximity to your partner. They may also value physical touch as a way to comfort or soothe them when they are feeling upset.

It is important to know that even though one partner may prioritize physical touch, everyone can benefit from it in their relationships. Daily physical connection through something like a hug can actually improve your immune system and well-being!

However, for those who have this love language as their primary way of receiving love, it is essential that their partners understand and make an effort to meet their physical touch needs in order to feel loved and fulfilled in the relationship.

A hug signals to most people that you care, but that same hug screams “I love you” to a person of Physical Touch.

Check out our 15 ways you can love your spouse through Physical Touch. (Download a printable version here)

A couple showing physical touch by holding hands

15 ways to love through Physical Touch

  1. Give them a massage

    Massages can help release tension and promote relaxation, which can lead to a deeper sense of intimacy and connection between partners. Doing it sans clothing is a also a great foreplay tip!

  2. Hold hands

    While you’re driving, walking in the store, anywhere! Holding hands is a simple but powerful way to physically connect with your partner and show them that you care.

  3. Grab them and dance close

    Dancing can be a romantic and intimate way to connect with your partner physically, especially if you take the time to slow down and really focus on each other.

  4. Kiss them when they leave and hug them when they get home

    These small gestures can help to create a sense of connection and that you acknowledge their presence.

  5. Hold hands, touch feet or put your hand on their knee while you’re arguing

    Touching each other during an argument can help to diffuse tension and remind you both that you care about each other, even when you disagree.

  6. Congratulate them with a high five or a hug

    Celebrating your partner's accomplishments with physical touch can show them that you're proud of them and that you're there to support them.

  7. Cuddle while you watch tv

    Even though watching tv is a passive activity, you can be active in showing your spouse love! Cuddling or at least sitting close is a great way to physically connect with your partner and enjoy each other's company.

  8. Touch them as you walk by

    Small physical touches throughout the day can help to maintain a sense of connection as you go about your day.

  9. Play footsie at dinner

    It might be just the two of you or maybe you’re at dinner with friends. A discrete touch can be a surprising way of letting your spouse know that you’re thinking of them.

  10. Touch while you sleep

    While you may not sleep well when you’re intertwined, you might try falling asleep with your hand on their arm or maybe even by touching your feet!

  11. Hold them when they cry

    When your partner is upset, holding them can provide a sense of comfort and support that words alone can't convey. It can also create a safe space for them to express their emotions and feel seen and heard. By holding your partner when they're crying, you're communicating that you're there for them and that you care about their well-being.

  12. Always end an argument with a hug to reconnect

    When you hug your partner after an argument, you're signaling that you're ready to move past the disagreement and rebuild your connection. This physical touch can also release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of bonding and attachment. By ending an argument with a hug, you're not only repairing any hurt feelings, but you're also strengthening your relationship in the process.

  13. Squeeze their hand “I Love You”

    Three squeezes might mean “I Love You” or you could even have a special saying squeeze! It’s a secret communication for any occasion!

  14. Take advantage of foreplay

    While foreplay is always a good idea to help each other get in the mood, if your spouse loves physical touch, foreplay will lengthen the amount of time touching. Don’t forget to add more time by snuggling afterward.

  15. Learn to initiate intimacy

    This can be intimidating to some people, but sharing the responsibility to initiate intimacy is a great tool to have in your belt. The spouse who craves Physical Touch will appreciate not always having to be the one to start things up.

Things to avoid

Love tanks naturally deplete over time, and nurturing your spouse's love is an ongoing effort. To maintain a comfortable love level, avoid behaviors that quickly drain their love tank.

For Physical Touch, you’ll want to minimize the following behaviors:

  • Withholding sex or touch as a punishment

    Both men and women do this, but this behavior is selfish and damaging in all marriages. It creates a deep hurt and divide in the relationship to a Physical Touch person.

  • Going for long periods without sexual intimacy

    All couples must discuss their desires and listen to each other’s expectations around sex. Don’t worry if you’re not matched. Most couples do not share identical libidos. Working through your differences may take some negotiation and compromise to agree on the frequency, but establishing the expectations will help. We’ve written about the importance of prioritizing sexual intimacy and provided plenty of ways to increase your communication around sex.

  • Waiting for THEM to initiate touch or intimacy

    It’s true that a person with a Physical Touch Love Language will probably initiate touch and sex more often, but don’t wait for them! Even though you may just rely on their initiative, your lack of action will say that you don’t desire them.

  • Absence in crisis

    Sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to comfort someone when they’re in an emotional crisis. Whether that’s an argument or the loss of a loved one this is not the time to give them space. Be sure to pull them close and don’t worry about saying anything. Provide a firm grasp to let them know they are not alone. Once they pull away you can communicate through words or solutions.

  • Negative touches

    While NO relationship should include physical abuse, it can be even more devastating to someone who has a Physical Touch love language. You should even avoid negative touches like a joking swipe to the back of the head when they do something that wasn’t correct or continuing to tickle them after they ask you to stop. They might seem lighthearted or fun to you, but these touches can actually result in broken trust.

As you’re learning the ways your partner likes to be touched, don’t forget to solicit feedback. Everyone is different and your spouse may prefer some touches over others.


We made a printable for you! Download it here. Stick it on your fridge or save the list to your phone - either way keep it as a handy reference while you become proficient in your new language.

Be sure to grab The 5 Love Languages book if you’ve never read it. There’s nothing quite like learning straight from the source!

Take the 5 Love Languages official quiz if you haven’t already. It’s much easier to get started when you’re not assuming anything!

Next week we’ll share some surprising details about Acts of Service!

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