We live in a “touch phobic” society says one psychologist. Humans like to have their own space without unnecessary intrusions. Even animals define their own territory. Dr. Edward Hall Professor of Anthropology called this tendency “proxemics.” The space we create around us depends on intimacy with others, our cultural upbringing, or on socially acceptable boundaries which differ in eastern and western cultures. Touch varies from one culture to another. A kiss or a hug in one culture may not be appropriate in another. Nose rubbing in some societies will seem bizarre in others. Even a simple handshake may be frowned upon by some.
Yet touch is a primeval need not just in humans but also in animals. Anthropologist Ashley Montagu in his book Touching says physical contact of babies with their mothers is essential for development. Many animals spend a long time licking their young ones after birth. This is not just to keep the young one clean, but the tactile stimulation also conveys security and warmth to the baby. Whether it is a dog, cat, monkey or human baby, they all need the touch of a mother.