07/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why Touching Sometimes Trumps Sex

There's a lesson for us all in the recent story of a couple who had been married for 80 years.They wisely put their relationship success down to sharing a kiss and cuddle every night before bed.

From the moment a baby is born, touch is important to developing healthy bonds.

Those without this bond show emotional withdrawal from the world, developing into adults who find intimacy difficult. And many men, even those from loving families, remember that they came to a certain age, say 9 or 10, and were positively discouraged from asking for a hug from their mum.

These issues leave many couples with a touch of a problem.

A refrain I hear frequently from female friends and clients is that once the sexual passion has waned, affectionate touch goes out of the window too. "I can't give him a simple cuddle without him thinking I want sex!" women moan. That's because he learnt not to have "emotional" hugs long ago. So when a woman offers him one, he thinks she's signalling full-on passion.

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