Why do people like to be touched so much, why would it make sense from a evolutionary perspective.

I know people enjoy hugs and company of opposite sex, but even people from the same sex hug and touch each other.

I wonder how this behavior could have evolved. Was it the struggle to keep warm that drawn people physically together? Does it all have to do with mating?

Maybe there just isn't enough data to specify how this behavior started out?

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    $\begingroup$ Animals like touch and physical contact, too. Does not seem to be a specific human behavior. $\endgroup$
    – user1196
    Mar 18, 2013 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to read this review of social touch research: Thayer, S. (1986). History and strategies of research on social touch. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 10(1), 12-28. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2013 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ Take a look for articles on Emotional touch $\endgroup$
    – Ben Brocka
    Mar 20, 2013 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


Of all the senses, touch is the one that most connects a person to the external environment. When two people touch each other (a handshake, a hug, a kiss, etc.) a connection/bond is made. This bonding is deeply involved with social development and emotional interaction.

Interpersonal relationships are essential for social interactions. It is important to known where the boundaries are in your culture, so that personal space is respected. This varies widely between cultures and persons.

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    $\begingroup$ This briefly touches on the "how", but not really the "why". Could you elaborate on it a bit? $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2013 at 1:10

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