Re-prescription Part II: INTIMACY

  • science / data / lyrics
  • Susan’s story and a Nonprofit Wellness connection
  • things to DO or read from here
This is the Spanish version of the tool we’re revising (all materials are avail in Engl & Span).
  • A lingering hug releases the bonding hormone oxytocin, which can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate and improve your mood.
  • Adrenalin and oxytocin act together (in times of stress). Oxytocin helps repair the cardiovascular system. (check out Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk)
  • “Like a [6-second] long, mindful kiss, a 20-second hug can teach your body that you are safe; you have escaped the lion and arrived home, safe…” Nagoski sisters, authors of Burnout, which is a fun read)
  • Our two-time Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy writes on the importance of social connection: “Loneliness is a natural signal that our body gives us, similar to hunger, thirst. And that’s how important human connection is… when it’s prolonged, then it can become a chronic state of stress, which leads to inflammation in our body, damages tissues in blood vessels and, ultimately, damages our physical, as well as our emotional, health.”
This song is so old, it was released on cassette.
  • SCREENS: designed to be highly-addictive & part of daily life for most.
  • INTOXICANTS: Legal intoxicants like alcohol & pot are widely used, often daily; people also use illegal substances. There’s high addiction potential and, in the case of alcohol, encouragement and even subsidies.
  • and SEX: A fraught discussion topic in today’s #metoo office. Along with constantly shifting standards about LGBTQ+ lives and what’s acceptable to discuss, or legislate, or cover with HR policies.
“Pleasure Principle” from our V.1 Prescription — just begs you to ask us a question about it
V.2 of the prescription emphasizes the “roots” of self-care — hence the background

Described by Dr. Michelle Drouin, “Intimacy encapsulates a rainbow of experiences that one can have with another person. And intimacy famine is the lack of intimacy we are feeling in our everyday lives. Millions of people around the world are lonely, depressed, sad, and our happiness is going down. They are feeling less able to be vulnerable in the spaces in which they travel.”

Our covid-era MPH interns, also isolated across the country, dove into the research. We found compelling neuroscience on intimacy, and how it spurs oxytocin and dopamine. Right on time, two-time U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy published a book about togetherness and, in it, described three kinds of loneliness:

- Talk about intimacy with a friend. It’s not taboo (but discussing intimacy can trigger folks, so get consent first).

- To release oxytocin, hold a hug with a family member or friend for 20 seconds.

- Buy some touch! Book a massage, acupuncture, chiropractor, manicure, or pedicure appointment. Even haircuts and facials involve light massage and caring/skilled contact. Pay for it and enjoy this service.

- Cuddle with your dog or cat. (Mammals seem cuddlier to most of us, but if reptiles bring you joy, go for it.)

Two of my favorite cuddles (I’ve loved Banderas since the early 90s)

.- Orgasms are great, but you don’t have to be sexually active with another person to receive the benefits of touch and intimacy. Get a new toy, or try a new form of sensual self-touch (for example, switch hands when you masturbate).

- Give yourself a foot or belly massage. Or a breast massage. I just got ayurvedic breast massage cream and TBH I never thought of massaging the mammaries beyond a cancer-self-check, so this is a lovely new injection of touch in my life. It smells great, Banyan Botanicals!



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Susan Comfort

Susan Comfort

Co-founder of, manager of the DC/Balto/Pitt Alvéole teams, Tinkergarten leader, queer parent, bee promoter.