Luna's Blog

Mod S2S Mentor

Sister to Sister: Skin Hunger

No no this has nothing to do with cannibalism- But on that note, let’s get something clear: what is ‘skin hunger’? 

‘Skin Hunger’ is defined as that deep longing and aching desire for meaningful physical contact with another person, like hugs, cuddles, etc. For infants, this kind of contact is required for them to live- if they are deprived of all human touch, even if they have enough nutrients, they can feasibly die. Now for us, that’s not the case, but we’re still greatly affected. I mean think about it, your skin is your largest sensory organ! Yet sometimes we don’t even notice we need to satisfy the needs of that organ until it hits us like a gosh darn brick. 

To further shed light on this issue, I’ll talk about my recent experience with it:

First off, I’m an introvert. To put it very briefly, spending time with people (even those I like) exhausts me, including external stimulants like loud noise and crowds (ex. parties) and I need to recharge with alone time. Also for me, I don’t connect quickly with people. I’m very cautious and particular on who I call ‘friend’ and therefore don’t grow close or socialize often, and simply, I just don’t ‘click’ with others much. So I’m not used to being super chummy with people, and while I don’t mind affection (as long as it’s welcome and not overbearing), I’m just not used to giving or receiving it. And funny enough I was actually vaguely familiar with the term skin hunger when I saw a post about it, though at the time I treated it like “yeah ya know affection sounds nice but oh well” and shrugged it off.

But my lack of affection started to build up. I didn’t notice it at first, since it was gradual, and the symptoms were ones I was already used to experiencing: fatigue, anxiety, bouts of loneliness and insecurity that I thought would pass. And I didn’t think my ache for intimacy had anything to do with it. However, I was feeling fatigued even during a low-stress week of school, which comparatively shouldn’t have bothered me at all. And I would still feel great waves of insecurity even after I just had a nice lunch with a group of people I easily socialize with. I didn’t feel connected to my environment and my peers and my isolating asocial mentalities came seeping back to me.

Then the true sign of my skin hunger showed up during my last period of the day. I was already drowning in questioning one of my closest friendships despite there logically being no reason to do so, and at the end of the period I saw said friend scoop up one of his friends in his arms and spin them around in an embrace right as I was leaving. 

And oh man did the floodgates open with flying colors.

I quickly exited into the hallway as fast as possible, wanting to cry but couldn’t let it loose just yet, and finally got to a bathroom to consider what I just felt and why the heck it happened. It was then I realized, like a brick to the face, I was hardcore suffering from skin hunger.

And the cruddy thing about that hunger is the insecurities make you feel worthless and undeserving of that affection you really need. I knew I needed a hug, especially from the close friend I mentioned, but I kept thinking “I’m not really his best friend, I’m just another friend, I would just be bothering him, his other friends are probably more important” etc. Luckily I’ve come to terms which putting my health in priority and understanding I need to fix this thing or else it will get worse. But none the less it took a lot of pushing through those ugly thoughts to just hit send on my message “hey, next time we meet, could I have a hug?”


To wrap up the story, I did get my much needed hug, received reassurance from my best bro that I can ask for a hug whenever I need one, and got another hug before he left. While it didn’t suddenly cure all my insecurities and self-deprecating thoughts (as part of me hoped), it definitely helped and my ache for physical affection wasn’t screaming at me any longer. And now I heed much more attention to it to prevent another breakdown like that again!

If you think you might also have skin hunger, there are ways to overcome it. Inevitably going up to your friend and being like “I HAVE THE SKIN HUNGER” can seem, rather weird and terrifying,

-but if you explain the term to them you may be surprised at how understanding they’ll be. Voicing a desire for intimacy usually won’t make a good friend or family member whom you trust to think little of you, despite what those lying insecurities tell you. More likely than not they’ll need physical affection just as much as you!

The most obvious way is to seek intimacy is with your loved ones, whether that be friends or family. Perhaps plan a movie night and snuggle up as you watch a Harry Potter movie marathon, or host a spa night where you and your friends can brush each other’s hair and apply face masks, or just play video games on the couch together. However you can get your loved ones to hang out with you with something you all enjoy, while also satisfying your skin hunger. Even just asking for a hug after a long day will work if you don’t want to plan anything fancy.

And if you can’t get intimacy in a close relationship, you can find subtle ways to achieve it. Going to the hairdresser can provide comfort as they wash and style hair, or even just shaking someone’s hand with new people you meet. 

All the same, don’t be afraid to ask or show more affection towards the people you trust and care about. The internet is great for cheering yourself up with memes and videos for the time being, but it can’t replace human touch. Remind yourself that you are deserving of love and affection. You are not alone in wanting intimacy; its not weird, it’s not clingy of you, it’s a normal human feeling! 


Have you guys experienced skin hunger ? Feel free to talk about your experiences in the comments below! ;u;)/

Mod S2S Mentor

While I post a lot of art, I'm also a writer deep in my soul :'D I used to be writing books but I've moved more into the webcomic realm as of now.

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Comments

  • Ah, thank you for writing this (and making the awesome illustrations to go along with it)! I've been having a hard day and this really cheered me up and made me realize that, yes, I do have "skin hunger" and I really need a hug atm. It also helped explain why for the past six months I've been feeling so lonely and starved for intimacy, and why I often feel the need to go up to my mom and ask for a hug. Thank you!! *huggles*
  • I love this and it is really interesting! Great drawings! I am editing this post I had before because I have been thinking about Skin Hunger more and realized how much it applies to me. My closest friend is not touchy-feely at all, to the point where when I touch accidentaly, she squirms. My other friends I hardly see and they will hug me once when I greet them or something, but nothing more. I never thought much about it until I started noticing how much other people touch each other in genaral and I was like "I want that..." Anyway, this is an awsome article, and I wonder if my friend who doesn't like physical contact at all feels this way ever...
  • Mod S2S Mentor
    This is a wonderful article, Katharine! Thank you so much for sharing it. (And congratulations on getting it written in time, BTW. x3)
    I'm not sure if I've ever experienced skin hunger to that extent myself, but, like most people, I certainly do sometimes feel the need for human contact—even be it something as simple as just sitting on the couch with my sister resting against me or leaning against my mom in the kitchen for a little while. (Even petting our family dog. <3)
    For me, it's made more complicated in that I also am made rather uncomfortable by any prolonged physical contact with people I don't feel very close to, and since, for better or worse, most of the people I feel on that level of comfort with—with the exception of my family—are people whom I seldom or never see IRL. (Including some people on NMG. x3) So I'm rather limited in the people with whom I can seek that type of intimacy without feeling uncomfortable about it. It's usually not something that bothers me that much, but I must admit, occasionally it does.

    Anyway, without rambling on any further, I greatly enjoyed reading this article, and it's an important thing to acknowledge. Different people have different levels of need for physical affection/intimacy, but most of us probably do feel that need at some time or other, to some degree or another—and there's nothing at all weird or wrong with wanting it. Thanks for writing this. <33 (And great drawings, as always. :'D)
  • This is great! (Btw the drawings are amazing!!!!)
  • Awesome article, Katharine!! I'm really glad you wrote this and I love your little drawings...<33 Also, side note, I just noticed that your profile picture is someone rubbing someone else's head?? Is that a coincidence or did you do that on purpose? x3
  • Mod S2S Mentor
    I have actually experienced skin hunger myself, and for me the struggle is not to withdraw any more at that point, to be able to ask for hugs from my dad, cuddles from my mom, to have my friend brush my hair, that sort of thing. There are definitely highs and lows with it, right now I'm doing really well but other days/weeks/months I really have a hard time with it. This is an excellent and well-formulated article Katharine; this sort of thing really needs to be said: it's okay to need human touch, it isn't weird at all <3 *huggles*
    • Mod S2S Mentor
      ^^ Exactly- glad to know I'm not the only who struggles with it like that (and thank you!!) ;v; *hugglesnuggles*
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