The Touching Truth

02 Apr

Once you’ve met someone you really like and the feeling is mutual, when is the right time to touch? It can be a minefield, but read on and we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction.

Romantic young woman looking at man. Loving female and male partners in bed. They are at home.

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, or other such period dramas, then you will clearly have no issue sitting through two hours of pure relationship agony waiting for the moment when the couple on whom the story is focused, first hold hands. Sometimes the Bronte’s can’t help themselves and are overcome with such abandon that they smash the faces together of our hero and heroine with an urgent closed mouth kiss. But only after several years of trudging across boggy moors to get to each other before they collapse from consumption in front of the fire and never manage to copulate. If this is all too much for you and you’re fanning yourself furiously or clutching at invisible pearls at the mere thought of such frivolous behaviour, you may be wondering when it is appropriate to lunge at the object of your affection and make a physical connection. Perhaps this seems a little tongue in cheek, but that’s exactly what we’re talking about. If you don’t get your laughing gear docked with someone else’s soon and with consistency, there’s not much chance of that relationship ever remaining connected.

When to touch?

But the question is, when and how should we start to build a physical relationship? Behavioural scientist, Desmond Morris, suggested that we should work through 12 stages of intimacy in order to build a successful connection with the object of our desires.

The stages range from eye to body contact and move through to intercourse. It is suggested that the success of a relationship is based on the progression through each stage, ensuring that you feel comfortable before moving on to the next. Therefore, there is no time limit to reach each “goal”, however the intimacy increases at a pace that both people feel comfortable with. So, on a first date, if you have barely maintained eye contact throughout your conversation, lunging in for a kiss at the end of the date might not be the best idea. However, if you’ve moved from great eye contact, deep conversation and holding hands, then a kiss at the end of the night may be on the cards! Manners and politeness provide the opportunity for human touch when opening a door, guiding someone inside, or helping a lady to alight from a cab or down some stairs. If you move too quickly you can frighten the other person away. Likewise lunging at them with an extended tongue or grabbing them by the headlights may have a place in 50 Shades of Dating Decay. But if your interest is in a genuine long-term relationship, you’ll introduce touching in natural and romantic progression. It is important to move at a pace where both people feel comfortable, and some stages may require a longer stop than others.

Maintaining touch

Once you have navigated your way through all 12 steps, it is important to maintain touch throughout your relationship, so that you remain physically and emotionally close to your beloved. Regular physical contact has also been associated with some positive outcomes that you may not have realised. Current research has shown that touch has some great health benefits; It has been found to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, as well as decreasing depression and increasing immune function. It is also highly correlated with an increase in “the happy chemical” serotonin and “the cuddle hormone” oxytocin, as it increases feelings of wellbeing, pain relief, and feeling connected to others.

Cropped shot of a happy young couple cuddling in the living room

So, overall it is important to touch each other! At the beginning of a new relationship be aware of what stages you have progressed through and be conscious of the pace that your partner wants to move. When you’ve moved on to access all areas, you’ll want to maintain imagination and frequency to all you’re touching to ensure that you don’t physically disconnect. And of course, you’ll miss out on all those great health benefits too!


At The Vida Consultancy, we vet every one of our members fully, getting to understand in depth their hopes and dreams, before setting them up with people who hold similar values. Being paired with such a complementary match helps you both avoid potentially clashes down the line. To this end, using a matchmaking service sets you well on the road towards being part of a truly happy, satisfied, loving couple – and to being one another’s dream partner after all.

by Emma Searle

Emma Searle - Matchmaker

With a degree in psychology, Emma has a keen interest in understanding people, and applying her skills to help them through their matchmaking journey. Based in the London office, Emma’s specialities are gay matchmaking and international matchmaking. Emma has worked in the matchmaking industry since 2014, and is passionate about bringing people together and helping them to ignite that initial spark. She has no trouble putting her clients at ease, with her warm and personable approach.More by this author

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