How a simple touch could reignite your relationship

Longtime couples are forgetting how important the odd affectionate touch is in a relationship. We asked an expert how to bring back the love

Snuggling up on the sofa, kissing goodbye before heading off to work and being welcomed home to a cuddle are just some of the benefits of being in a relationship.

But it seems the majority of coupled-up Brits are missing out, with most of us complaining we're 'starved of affection'. And experts reckon it's all due to a lack of touch, particularly in long term, comfortable relationships.

Half of the partnered people polled by Durex in its new Skin Intimacy Report said they didn't get enough physical affection from their partners, despite 80 per cent of us rating touch as one of the most vital parts of any successful relationship.

But Susan Quillam, Durex sex and relationship expert, doesn't think the findings should make couples worry that their relationship's in trouble.

"If you’re happy and have been together for ages, you take touch for granted," she tells us. "People have a lot to do, kids to bring up, a life to live, work, responsibilities, social lives...

"And you know you love each other, you're solid, so all the little touches and romantic kissing you did when you first met get set by the wayside – and you don’t think about it until you're asked a question in a survey or read an article.

"And you think 'I really miss that – I wish we did still snuggle up sometimes'."

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Bring touch back

"It's quite easy to bring touching back without it feeling weird and forced," Susan continues.

"It’s worth mentioning the issue, but don't feel you have to have a big 'state of the relationship' talk.

"You don't even need to have a conversation at all. Start subtly. Hold hands as you’re walking along or stand closer than you usually do, for example.

"If you usually sit watching TV on the sofa on opposite sides, slide up a bit or slide your feet out to touch your partner's knees. Little things will bridge the gap and they'll start feeling more normal again as you remember how nice it feels.

"People forget how nice it is to touch – we have to remind each other."

Touching leads to sex, or does it?

Couples gave plenty of reasons for the lack of physical affection in their relationships. Over half of those polled admitted they're often too tired from work, family life and social activities to show affection to their partner.

Others said they were more likely to talk to their partner remotely through social media and modern technology than speak face to face. And some said that they avoided being too physically intimate in case it lead to sex when they weren't in the mood or felt they didn't have time for it.

"It's a big leap from snuggling on the sofa to swinging from the chandelier," Susan reminds us.

"We’re all busy and frazzled, with so much to do that however much we love each other, swinging from the chandelier isn't something we want to do every night. So perhaps it's making an agreement – 'tonight we’re snuggling but this doesn’t mean it leads to sex', or 'tomorrow we'll remember to touch three times'.

"Snuggling will bond you, which makes sex a more appealing option. If you remember how lovely it was – it's more likely to happen spontaneously. But remind each other that just because you're sitting snuggling, doesn't mean sex is on the menu."

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Get out of the rut

Around a third of us feel our relationship is stuck in a rut and on average couples have sex between one and four times a month. Susan thinks that simply touching more is the jump-start we need to get the spark back.

"Very often, particularly for men, touching is easier as a starting point than talking is. A fond touch is easier than sitting down for a conversation.

"If you do want to spice up your sex life, the best advice is to introduce novelty. It's unlikely to work if you have a bad relationship to start with but if you're stable but just haven't been giving your relationship the attention it needs, it can be just the thing.

"Be it having a date night, going away for a weekend, wearing something different to bed - or nothing. Just add a little spice.

"I'm not saying go hit the vibrators immediately, though sex toys are a great way in, but just alter slight things."


"The average couple spends 20 minutes talking one on one," Susan tells us.

"And in that time it’s usually about the kids, have they put the cat out and practical things.

"I recommend carving out some time, when the chores are done or as soon as the kids are in bed, to turn the TV off and spend 15 minutes talking about what you've done during the day and how you feel.

"Interacting on that level for 15 minutes a day in the evening will really connect you on a different level. Then you'll find you're talking about hopes, worries, and you realise you’re not in a rut, you’re really connected.

"And a spin off of that is that your sex live will improve. It's a positive cycle."

Susan adds: "The thing that delighted me about the research was how important touch is to couples. No one thought they didn’t need it, and a lot of people wanted more touch – 81 per cent said it was hugely important. And they're right. It's really vital."

Durex plans to help us get more touchy-feely with our partners with Durex Embrace, its new sensual pleasure gels, in pink and blue bottles, created with couples in mind.