There are some parts of the body that people don't like to be touched especially by strangers. Oxford researchers say that how people allow others to touch them in the different parts of their body depends on the relationship they have through the use of body maps.

Researchers from Oxford University in collaboration with Finland's Aalto University found out that most people from Finland, Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom were reluctant to get touched by a complete stranger on most parts of their bodies except their hands.

This is the largest study conducted to investigate how relationships influence where a person is comfortable to be touched and which parts would make him or her awkward. The survey from 1,368 people from these countries was conducted by giving them a map of the human body (front and back) and coloring pens.

They colored the body maps depending on which parts they would let their partners, parents, family members, relatives, acquaintances and strangers touch. All their answers were combined to create the first map ever to show touchable areas of the body for particular relationships.

Generally, women are more comfortable being touched than men but surprisingly, men are more comfortable being touched in their private part by a female acquaintance or friends rather than their mother.

Both genders were most comfortable being touched by their partners.

"Even in an era of mobile communications and social media, touch is still important for establishing and maintaining the bonds between people. We know that if people don't see each other the quality of that relationship diminishes and your best friend will bump down to just an acquaintance," said Evolutionary psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar.

"We interpret touch depending on the context of the relationship. We may perceive a touch in a particular place from a relative or friend as a comforting gesture, while the same touch from a partner might be more pleasurable, and from a stranger it would be entirely unwelcome," he added.

According to Prof. Dunbar, grooming or social touch stimulates the release of endorphins, opiates that are produced in the brain to release feelings of relaxation. He reiterated the importance of touch for human existence just like how babies crave human touch for survival.

There are millions of preterm babies being born every year. They have higher risks of dying in just a few weeks and hospitals have developed a way to increase chances of survival. They found out that a technique called 'kangaroo care' wherein parents would let the baby lie on their bare chest for prolonged periods increased their chances of survival by 51 percent.

Social grooming in humans were linked to increased relationship satisfaction and trust for romantic relationships. In as much as people crave for touch from their partners, they also crave touch from their parents and children.

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