A photo of my best friend and I hugging.

I have always known I’m a very physically-affectionate person. I thrive off small touches and physical gestures as they are what communicates to me that I am loved. Now that I have spent some quality time outside of a relationship, I am realizing how important it is to me that I still get affection in other ways. And in the process I think I have picked up on the strange relationship we all seem to have with intimacy. In short, I am sad to say it is strained. For me, wanting to cuddle friends is unquestionable and normal. I love them and I care about them, so I obviously want them to feel the same warmth I get when someone gives me a cuddle. I love giving head-scratches, shoulder massages, tight hugs, and anything that feels good. Sure it’s not for everyone; some prefer soothing words, or helpful actions. But I have been having some conversations with like-minded thinkers and feelers, which has helped me settle into the understanding that there are many who crave friendship-intimacy in the same ways I do.

Of course, physical affection is absolutely not comfortable for every person and every situation, however I do believe we could generate a more open attitude towards affection with friends and companions in general. How nice is it to be hugged by a person you’ve just met! Or to have a friend’s arm around you when you’re sharing something great. It’s so easy to do, and so wonderful to share the momentary warmth with someone who means something to you.

My life got a little better when I started (literally) embracing others around me a little more. I truly feel that humans are such physical creatures. We’re extremely hands on, we like to play, and we learn through our senses. We can create beautiful feelings and sensations by breaking the awkward barriers of society’s sternness, and learn to be a little more candid about something as natural as intimacy.

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