The Right to Be Touched

in Erotic Attunement

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780226811383
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226811376 | DOI:
The Right to Be Touched

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This chapter investigates the empirical research on touch and attachment. It argues that loving touch and intimate attachment are significant for infant development and flourishing. It examines touch research generally to argue that most people need human touch in order to flourish physically, emotionally, and socially, not to mention morally. The firm touch was received in a sustained hug, during a massage, while being held, or in a sexual encounter. Adult pleasure in touch was inevitable and potentially problematic, and yet parents, teachers, and other intimate caretakers were, for the sake of both the children and their relationships with them, obliged to touch children comfortingly and affectionately. It is argued that if affectionate, firm touch is necessary to both our being and our being “becomingly,” then it is a right.

Keywords: touch; attachment; infant development; flourishing; human touch; firm touch; adult pleasure

Chapter.  11248 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates

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