The Shocking Intimacy of Holding Hands

Dr T J Jordan
4 min readMay 27, 2022

Hand-in-hand contact is profoundly powerful in telling the world we’re together, keeping us healthy, and readying us for sex.

Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash

By Dr T J Jordan

Holding hands is connected to both emotional and physical intimacy. We don't hold hands when we're angry. We find holding hands with those we don't love distasteful. And we do hold hands when we warmly welcome someone into our personal space.

Hands are one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. When we make skin to skin contact with the hands of those we love or desire, our bodies release endorphins, including the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin.

This surprisingly satisfying contact is acceptable across social situations. It reduces pain and anxiety, and strengthens relationships. Holding hands is powerful in alleviating some of the distress and hyperviligence that accompany PTSD and CPTSD.

When we hold hands with our romantic partners, our brains go easy on our stress responses by reducing the amount of negative, stress hormones we release.

Our cortisol levels go down. Holding hands with our romantic partners promotes wellness by privileging our immune systems over our fight/flight/freeze reactions.

Holding the hands of our romantic partners helps keep us healthy.

For men, who often suppress their desires for romance and emotional connection, holding hands gives voice to needs for closeness. For men who are more likely to deal with stress by withdrawing rather than verbalizing needs, their requests for warmth and support are conveyed by holding hands.

Our Neurobiology

When we hold hands, we sync our brain waves with the person whose hand is in ours.

When we hold hands, we nurture and display an emotional attachment — or we avoid handholding altogether. We use handholding to recapture some of the comfort, safety…

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Dr T J Jordan

Passionate about sexualities, masculinities, relationships, intimacy, mental health, CPTSD , animals, growth, psychology, and exotic locations.