Teetering on the Brink of Normalcy writes about the importance of touch, and I want to both point to her thoughtful post, and also add my "me too."
I don't think I can overestimate how important touch is to me. I'm a tactile person, and I need to both touch and be touched. It's how I show affection, and how I feel connected to those I love. Just as Sillyone says, the Sensual Goddess and I are always touching. If we're sitting watching TV, I run my fingers through her thick hair. If I pass her in the kitchen, I'll quickly trace my fingers over her shoulder or down her arm, or even give her a quick smack on the ass (if no kids are around!) Friends have told her how adorable it is that we still hold hands while walking, but I'm not trying to be "adorable" - I just can't imagine being with someone and not exchanging those little touches. Actually, I'll go further than that - I could not be with someone who didn't want touch.
I'm not talking about groping or sexual touch - though post-lovemaking touch is as sweet as it gets. There's nothing better than laying naked on the bed, relaxed and sated, her warm body snuggled against me, one of my arms holding her to me, as my fingers slowly trace lines...moving up and down her arms...her spine. That's a sensual delight that's hard to beat.
Sillyone writes about paying attention to how much couples touch, and being surprised at how little she sees it. I will now be paying attention to this too.
Addendum: Sillyone just left a comment, and I realize I need to write a little more. I think touch is not just important as part of an intimate relationship, but between everyone you feel affection for. Her comment about her mother brought back a very powerful memory. My father, who I'm thinking about more than usual today, spent his last few months bed-ridden in hospitals and rehab facilities. I visited as much as humanly possible, and would always hold his hand and stroke him as I sat with him. One time he was on his side, so I decided to rub his back. His sense of relief was *palpable*. I could hardly believe how much he craved that physical human contact, so I continued for a long time. I felt terrible afterwards that he'd been laying there for so long with no one to really touch him, but very happy that I'd made the discovery in time to give him some relief. I realized that maybe I'd been a little afraid to touch him, but I never hesitated again.