Touch Deprivation or Skin Hunger
Humans communicate with other humans and their surroundings through their senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, taste and touch. Of these five senses, four are used consciously. We watch television shows to curb the hunger of eyes, eat delicious food to satisfy and please the taste buds, hear mesmerizing music or talk to a loved one when we feel that it’s only their voice that can calm us down and smell fragrances to get into a better mood. That leaves us with the last sense; touch. Do we consciously touch others or need to be touched? Social isolation not only makes us distant socially and emotionally but it also leaves our body aching for physical contact; touch.
Touch deprivation or skin hunger can be experienced by many of us without even knowing about it at a conscious level. Some may experience it more than others. It happens when we distance ourselves from other humans no matter what the reason. It may differ from person to person and society to society. Singles may experience it more than committed, engaged and married people. People from western society have more chances of suffering from touch deprivation than people from eastern society.
Signs that you have Skin Hunger
Whether you feel it or not, you might be touch-deprived. The need to be touched varies from person to person and might manifest itself in several different ways. Technological advancement and the arrival of smart gadgets have isolated us socially. More people like to spend watching TV than going out with friends or socializing on social media than spending time with the real people around them. Unwanted or non-consented touch is considered harassment in some parts of the world. All these factors and even ore leave us craving for touch. Here are the signs that should be given due attention as they clearly indicate skin hunger.
1. Aggressive Behavior
Lack of touch makes you aggressive. A study conducted on American and French adolescents showed that French adolescents were emotionally stable and calm compared to their American counterparts. The study was conducted by the Touch Research Institute. According to the researcher, French adolescents hugged their friends and established more physical contact compared to Americans. Message therapy helped them increase their empathy and there was a substantial decrease in violent behavior.
Staying alone is another sign that the person is touch-deprived. Lonely people who tend to spend more time in hot showers or wrap themselves up in blankets or cuddle pillows are actually trying to acquire what is missing in their life; touch.
3. Issues Regarding Body Image
The people who lack physical contact of any sort in their life develop a poor body image. Either they consider themselves inferior and become distant from people or the inability to socialize makes them feel bad about themselves. Whatever the reason, lack of touch can manifest itself in the form of a disintegrated body image.
Touch has the power to lower the stress level of the body. The touch receptors beneath our skin when stimulated help reduce blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels. Cuddle therapy has gained popularity for the same reason. The body gets much-required touch and the person becomes stress-free.
5. Sexual Dysfunction
Although an indirect sign but lack of touch can show itself in the form of sexual dysfunction. The body is hungry for touch and it results in increased levels of stress leading to an inability to have and enjoy sex.
9 Ways to Satiate Your Skin Hunger
Skin hunger is a need to be touched; it can or cannot be sexual. Some people are more physically expressive than others. Some people like to shake hands and hug while some others will keep a continuous physical contact depending on their need. Just like our body needs food to grow, it needs to be touched to remain emotionally and mentally healthy. Touch reduces the feeling of distress and emotional seclusion. Whether it is a newborn baby or an older person, the need to remain in physical contact is necessary for the wellbeing. There are several ways to satiate your skin hunger and a few are mentioned below:
1. Hug Often
Skin hunger can only be satisfied by getting in skin-to-skin contact and what’s better than getting and giving warm hugs. Hugs are associated with the release of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for a good mood. This hormone is also called cuddle hormone as it is only released when people hug or snuggle up. Although it is considered inappropriate in many societies to touch without consent, you can always satisfy your hunger by hugging your near and dear ones. If you are single, you can hug your parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews/nieces, and close friends and satiate your skin hunger.
2. Get Massage
If you are living in a society where you cannot casually touch someone or get touched, you can get the job done by paying for it. Several massage centers are now open all over the world and you can always find one in your close vicinity. Massage is a great way to satiate your touch hunger. A one-on-one human contact for a minimum of 30 minutes can help curb skin hunger.
3. Keep a Pet
Cuddling and snuggling pets is a great way to satisfy skin hunger. No consent required and you can cuddle your furry buddy as long as you want. Keeping a pet has several benefits which when combined with the power of physical contact can do wonders. Decreased blood pressure results when the feeling of loneliness and touch deprivation decreases.
4. Get into a Relationship
There are more chances of developing skin hunger if you are or have remained single for a long time. Whether you are an introvert or just shy, initiating a talk can lead to a handshake and an eventual goodbye hug to curb the skin hunger. You might not have realized but on and off need to have sex can be touch deprivation showing itself in the form of a one night’s stand.
5. Take a Shower
It might sound irrelevant but taking a hot shower can actually help curb skin hunger. The warmth of running water against the skin can serve as an alternative to human touch. Many people spend quite a bit of time in the shower to relax and indirectly feel something against their skin. The running water feels like a warm caress for those who are lonely, socially isolated and touch-deprived.
6. Sit in the Sun
When you are touch-deprived it is actually the warmth of another human that you miss against your skin. This warmth can be replaced by the warmth of the sun. Spend some time in the sun and see how good you feel afterward. When your body warms up it feels light and freshened up just the way you feel after snuggling a loved one.
7. Learn to Dance
We get a fair dose to touching while handshakes, pats on the back and casual hug but is it enough? It might be sufficient for some but some people need more skin-to-skin contact than others especially those who are single. Dance is a great way to curb skin hunger. Dances like tango require proper skin contact to make it look and feel beautiful. So, satisfy your skin hunger and learn a new skill along the way.
8. Hire a Professional Cuddler
You will not believe but cuddling people has emerged as a new profession. There are professional cuddlers who get paid for snuggling and cuddling the clients. If you are single and not ready to mingle, get services of a professional at around $80/hour. There is even an app called CUDDLR where snuggle-seekers can get in touch with professional cuddlers to keep their loneliness and skin hunger at bay.
9. Visit a Salon
Everyone wants to look good and goes to salons for personal grooming. If you are single and can’t find a way to satisfy your touch hungry skin, going to a salon can help. Get your nails done, get a haircut, get done with the waxing of full body and you might feel good not only because you look good but also your skin received a human touch.
Technology has brought people closer than ever but is this closeness real? You can text a loved one and get a reply within seconds but would you be able to get a pat on the back or a hug when you need it? Whether you have realized it or not but your skin can crave human touch and you might be starving it by staying aloof. If you are feeling emptiness and a void, there are fair chances that you are touch-deprived. You can aggravate this deprivation by staying single. Mentioned above are a few ways to satiate your skin hunger while being single. See how human skin and touch feel and change your life for better.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé