Touch,, how important is it?

I read following article the other day and was thinking about how my son is never touched, how sad.,Lately when he’s sitting peacefully I try to rub his shoulders a little. Or just give him a squeeze on shoulder as I walk by. He did actually give me a hug the other day. Does your loved one get touched often? Never really thought about it until now. .


Huge huge huge w my big son. Always. From birth. Snuggles. Craved it. Needed it. Still. At 6’2”, 240, he occasionally sleeps between me and mom.

Never restful. But the next day he’ll tell me that he slept well. No ‘frequencies’ (his term for voices).

Uncomfortable. Weird. Surely don’t share outside this forum. But so important. And when he was in treatment facilities, especially over Covid time, it killed all of us. No touch.

So yes. Big deal.


My son craves “hand squeezes” or wants me to tap him hard on the head. It’s interesting because it’s similar to what my sons with severe autism like.

We are letting him get a golden retriever mix that I hope will snuggle with him.


Have you heard of that new therapy with tapping?

My son came into our bed well past the age that was considered “ ok” . But now he never reaches out for a hug. Makes me feel bad for him. I definitely am going to reach out to him more, even though he gives the impression not to come near him.

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We thought about a dog, but I’m afraid the dog would bond to me and not him. My little dogs are kind of scared of him. He’s loud a stomper when he walks, and laughs loudly.

@Shallcro Thanks for posting this query. I have thought about it a lot in regard to my own sz son. He is 38 now and has no interest in mingling socially in spite of all of my efforts to encourage it. When he was younger in his early 20’s and late teens, he had a couple of somewhat serious relationships that didn’t last too long for one reason or another. He lives with me and has since he was 21 and likely always will so he gets plenty of hugs from me and on occasion when we talk, I may have a hand on his shoulder or something. I am super aware of his lack of touch and even I don’t get much myself other than the return hugs from him. I kind of understand where he is coming from in some ways. I have had relationships over the years, none for quite a long while now, but I have no interest in a new one. I enjoy my hugs when they happen. Before the pandemic happened, my son was scheduled for monthly therapeutic massages at a local alternative medicine college. They offered them at a discount because they were done by students and monitored by the teachers. He loved them and they helped him sleep well. They stopped with the pandemic but with things opening up and getting somewhat back to normal, I think he will resume the massages. I think that is an excellent way to get quality touch that helps mind and body feel better and relax. I personally like acupuncture, which is not touch per se, but the results always leave me feeling so tranquil and just overall better. I recently took my son to try acupuncture for the first time because he had strained his back and he was skeptical but willing to try it and he fell asleep in the chair! I had to laugh, he liked it really well and said he was open to going again. Another form of touch is pedicures, I love them myself, because where I go, they massage your feet and calves and use lotion and soak your feet in a mini whirlpool and all for $30. I haven’t been for quite a while due to the pandemic, but I recently said I wanted to go again but didn’t want to go alone and my son said he would go with me, and he thought it would be fun. Again, another really good way to get some meaningful and healthy touch that improves the mind and body in different ways. This summer my oldest son and his wife will be visiting us for the first time in at least 3 years and when they get here there will be a flurry of new hugs for all of us for days. SO. Yes, our sons don’t probably get as much touch as many people do but with our love for them and some clever other ideas, they can get beneficial touch in a variety of very positive ways. Thanks again for the post. Take care!


I try to hug my son often. He is on the autism spectrum and was hugged and snuggled a lot as a little kid and later on didn’t like it anymore. He actually first started accepting hugs again after his psychotic episode that was the start of getting diagnosed with schizophrenia. So weird. He has times again when he does not want to, but more often than not he will accept a hug and relax into it.


I’m a little amused by this discussion, because I don’t particularly like being touched yet I’ve had two unrelated long-term therapists who specialized in human touch and did seminars, retreats and such. My first one wrote a book on therapeutic touch. Both had massage tables in their offices and it must have frustrated them that I generally only wanted to talk.

I hug more now than I used to, but it’s not something I particularly crave. Honestly I find physical contact a bit invasive, so I’m more of a side-hugger. My sister noticed this family-trait when raising her kids. My recollection is somewhere along the line there was group decision by the kids that we weren’t into hugging any more, and we all started refusing hugs from our parents. My father wasn’t particularly comfortable with emotions anyway, so he went along with it. My sister reintroduced a hugging custom to the family after we were all out of college starting with a “you know, we don’t hug and we should”dialogue.

I particularly don’t like being touched without warning. A tap on the shoulder from behind and I might jump nearly into orbit. I’m getting better with it, but my intimate relationships tend to be on the awkward side initially as touch is incorporated.


Hardly, I know, sometimes I give my 25 yr old a back rub , but forget , need to remember. He is so alons

My daughter is always looking for hugs.

I know it’s recommended that you give hugs to your kids many times a day; I’m so glad you both do it! I grew up differently and we were not touched or given hugs; I didn’t have that need to be touched and now that I’m much older my dad sometimes gives me a longer hug and I kind of push him away because I didn’t have that as a child, I know he was ‘cold’ when he was younger but he grew up in a more frigid environment but that’s the way I knew and I did the same thing with my kids. I think that giving hugs to the kids make them be more affectionate and open up to talk. It helps your loved one feel loved and safe. Bless your heart for giving him that comfort. He could be that tall and big but I know my son soon he’ll be 49 chronologically but sometimes he is like a little kid. And sometimes he allows me to give him a hug. Most of the times I ask him first.
I met a father whose son had a severe autism and he loved to snuggle under his arm.

My hat off to you both for being so loving and understanding with your son. :two_hearts:


I had started to think I was one out of the ordinary since I grew up without being hugged, I knew I was loved but I didn’t crave for hugs either so when someone else would embrace me without warning I was definitely upset. I’m much older now and it depends who is the person who starts with the hugs, some people are just so affectionate and natural at it as if you have known them forever it feels good. All my sisters and brothers are huggers, time and us have changed, my dad also


I wish I could touch my son’s shoulder, hand, or give him a hug but he acts as if I have sent him an electric shock if I try. Oddly enough, when he is feeling happier at times, he will reach out to pat my back as he walks by. I have to avoid touching him because I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel so sad when he reacts that way to me. He does hug his oldest sibling sometimes, so I’m thankful that he can experience that happy feeling.