The prominent philosophers The Righteous Brothers once warned about "los[ing] that loving feeling," and the sentiment was famously echoed in the 1986 fighter pilot documentary 'Top Gun'. After having lost said loving feeling, the brothers (not actually brothers) felt as if they couldn't go on. The sensation they felt wasn't poetic exaggeration. The Righteous Brothers, along with brothers Maverick and Goose were experiencing a very real and potentially dangerous biological response known as skin hunger.

Skin hunger is your body's reaction to lack of physical touch and it affects an increasing number of Americans while being a non existent phenomenon in more touch-happy countries like France. The problem that we're learning is that without skin-to-skin touch (might we add that it doesn't have to be sexual), your body doesn't produce the hormone oxytocin. Without that natural chemical, adults are more susceptible to depression and infants can have developmental problems or even die.

On this week's podcast, Jack O'Brien and Cracked editor Robert Evans are first joined by Dr. Kory Floyd, a professor at the University of Arizona, to talk about the physiological and sociological repercussions of skin hunger and why it's so prominent in today's culture. Later Jack and Robert are joined by Jean Franzblau of the Cuddle Sanctuary in Los Angeles and Travis Ashkenasy, an independent contractor, to talk about the services they provide as professional cuddlers and why you shouldn't be embarrassed to seek out a cuddle party.

Throw on your headphones and click play above, go here to subscribe on iTunes, or download it here.

Footnotes:

Psychology Today: What Lack of Affection Can Do to You

Sebastian Junger TED Talk on PTSD, Loneliness

NYT Book Review: Sebastian Junger's 'Tribe'

Tiffany Field's Book 'Touch'

Tiffany Field's Study of Touch at McDonald's in the US and France

Do High Fives Help Sports Teams?

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