Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Obsessive need for affection is causing me to find it in strangers and jeopardising my safety

Community Member

Hi my name is H,
to provide some background: am a nearly 30 year old woman, out of a long term relationship that ended 7m ago, am medicated for anxiety and depression.

my problem is: I’m a very physically affectionate person & I have a deep need to get cuddles, be spooned, stroked or just touched in general, daily.

I am an introvert who enjoys my own company & I like my life. I am not technically lonely, but I believe this need for affection has influenced my past & present decisions to run into the arms of men who may, or may not respect me, & care for me, just to fulfill this need for physical touch.

I have a good understanding of who I am, & what I want. I have had & continue to have casual relations but know deep down I’m a relationship kind of person, because I like the company, growing together with someone, & doing life together.

But because I’m single, I obviously go to bed by myself, & am living day to day without that physical affection which causes me to feel really sad and because I can’t cope with this, I try to seek it wherever I can just to fulfill this need

Recently, I have had several casual flings since I met and fell for a person that for whatever reason we can’t be together. I am trying to distract myself from the pain of missing him & my desire to be touched by:

- going to a strangers house at midnight, who I found on tinder. This was the first time we met. I was heavily drunk, my friends didn’t know where I was, & my phone was on 1% battery

- I had sat at a bar for 3 hours on my phone, trying to message a whole bunch of guys trying to see if anyone was free to hang out. This is a regular reoccurrence. When I met this guy, I wasn’t attracted to him, & while he was nice, I didn’t want to sleep with him, but did anyway, because I needed to be touched.

I have been lucky, & not been in a dangerous situation yet, but my question is: how do I relieve this pain of needing to be touched constantly, without jeopardising my safety as a woman?

I need romantic touch, hugs from friends, while nice, and help on some level, do not fulfil this need of mine

is anyone else out there struggling with this same predicament?

1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hello H,

Welcome to the forums ☺️

I can hear that split between longing and fear in what you’ve written. It sounds like it must be pretty hard to sit with. The yearning for touch is part of our evolutionary history and it’s been well studied by scientists to show that it is a real drive within us, so I want you to know you’re not alone in this. If you Google ‘skin hunger’ or ‘touch hunger’ you’ll find there’s lots of info out there about it. And maybe some ideas of how to ease it a little.

It’s not talked about much in relation to the break up of long-term relationships, but it’s a really big change for the system to lose the secure physical attachment that we’ve become used to. I can see how hard it would be to replace that, but I think you’re right that maybe the way you’re currently doing it doesn’t seem very safe. You might not feel strong enough to stop, but are there ways you can think of to make it safer? Particularly if you can let a friend know your plans (where you’re going, a time you’ll check in, etc) each time? I think it would be wise to develop some kind of safety plan that you follow. I’ve also seen that there’s personal safety apps where you can set info in that will alert emergency contacts if you haven’t checked in by a certain time. I think one of them is called ‘Watch Over Me’, but I’m sure there’s others.

I was wondering if you see a psychologist? It sounds like something you might need to work through with a professional to work out if there’s bigger issues in play. Understanding more of what’s going on for you might help to ease some of the feelings a little.

You mentioned that hugging friends isn’t enough, but I was wondering if you’ve ever thought about getting a cuddly pet? There’s so much research on their therapeutic benefits regarding touch and might feel more fulfilling than friend hugs because you know that that pet and all their love is there just for you. Like a partner. I’m planning to move house soon just so I can get a pet because I think it would really help me in this way.

The other thing that helps me sometimes is to wrap myself up really tight in a blanket, which triggers our relaxation chemicals in a similar way to a hug. Maybe for those times when it is most dangerous you could try that, just to get you through the night?

I hope this helps a little. I want you to know that you’re not alone and it really is a tough thing to find an answer. But it’s great that you’re thinking about being safe.

Take care,