Affection can come in a variety of forms – touch, a nice gesture, a thoughtful question, just to name a few. Do you know which form of affection your partner appreciates most? And how much do you really care?
Unless you put the object of your affection through Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages test, you should assume that your partner needs a little bit of every kind. Sprinkle it on them throughout the day, every day. Why? Because like trust and sex, affection is an essential element of a happy lasting relationship.
We are not talking a lasting relationship where you feel stuck together because of shared rent payments, children, or inertia. The majority of longterm relationships meet that plight. We are talking about deliberately using affection to create an awesome union where you can’t wait to jump in the sack at the end of the day after you’ve been together for many years.
For those of you who are still not sold on the importance of affection, or whose parents were not affectionate so you feel that showing affection is not in your DNA, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways to be affectionate that will give you the best bang for your buck:
This is the most fundamental way of showing affection. A quick hug in the morning, holding hands even briefly on your way to dinner… Get your creative juices flowing – surely you can find one or two ways to be tactile with your partner out of the bedroom.
Physically touching your partner increases both your levels of oxytocin which is the hormone that turns us into big loving softees. You can even buy an oxytocin spray to boost your levels artificially! But be careful not to overdo it – excessive touchy-feeliness can quickly turn from cute to clingy.
(Small) Thoughtful Gestures
It’s easier said than done for many folks, but boy, this form of affection goes a long way, especially with women. Again, the sky is the limit here — just a small thoughtful gesture will do. “Oh, babe, you remembered how I thought this coffee mug in the store window is cute so you bought it for me.” Boom. You are golden for a few weeks, maybe months.
It’s a form of touching of course, but we think it deserves its own place on this list. Studies have shown than regular makeout sessions seriously boost intimacy between partners.
Unfortunately kissing usually falls by the wayside in longterm relationships. We are not just talking about an impromptu makeout session while making dinner together. Some longterm couples don’t even kiss when they have sex! Wam, bam, thank you m’am is often the name of the game in a longterm relationship. Bring kissing back!
Ask Questions and Listen to the Answer (Or at Least Pretend To)
Verbal affection goes a long way. Asking a simple question about your partner’s day or checking in about how something may have affected them can be as effective as touch in making your partner feel loved.
Just remember to let your better half actually answer the question! If your partner likes to be verbose, we will excuse you if your mind wonders a little to, say, football? (Insert your favorite sport here.) We are all human after all.
Verbal affection makes your partner feel understood, which is the best gift you could give someone. (Yes, it’s even better than sex.) Just think about it.
OK, admittedly, adding foreplay to this Affection’s Greatest Hits list is gratuitous — we teach sexual physiology and relationship psychology that underlie successful lasting relationships, after all. Be as it may, here is why we feel that foreplay more than earned its right to be here.
Similar to kissing, foreplay falls by the wayside the longer you stay together. Many people we talk to, both men and women, don’t much subscribe to the idea of foreplay altogether. It’s all about the main event for them.
But what you do right before intercourse (and right after it as well) is what actually determines how sexually satisfied you feel about the sexual experience. That has been demonstrated by numerous studies. And who are we to argue with science?
Here is The V. Club’s daily prescription for happy lasting love:
Start the morning with a hug and kiss, enquire about your partner’s day after work (and actually let them answer), throw in a small thoughtful gesture (ok, this one you don’t have to do daily but often enough). Then finish your day with a drawn out foreplay session followed by awesome sex.
Rinse and repeat.