Affection deprivation: What happens to our bodies when we go without touch?

Feel like you’re going mad after weeks without being touched by another person? Helen Coffey finds out why we crave human contact

Source: Independent

By Helen Coffey

“It’s hard to remember when I last had physical contact with another human. That’s how normal it used to be – I wouldn’t even think about hugging a friend or brushing past someone in the office, or shaking hands with someone.”

Stephanie*, a writer in Singapore, has lived alone for years. Independent and sociable, it never really bothered her before now. Company was found elsewhere: at work; over dinner with friends; during drinks with a date. But when the coronavirus pandemic struck and lockdown ensued, all human contact came to a cruelly abrupt halt. Stephanie estimates it’s now been about two months since she touched someone.

“I’ve been surprised by how badly it’s affected me,” she says. “Touch has become such a huge absence in my life. I feel it constantly, ironically. It’s not sexual contact I’m missing really, but the quick hug you give your friend when you meet for a coffee or the friendly pat on the arm that resolves a difficult work conversation. So much is normally communicated in those moments.”

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