While you've probably heard of referring to someone as a hugger, there's not really even been much reason to think about what makes someone more inclined to physical affection before. But now, with social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, terms like "skin hunger" or "touch starvation" are becoming a common part of the vernacular—and for people who generally are more physically affectionate, it may be particularly difficult.

But what decided how we express affection? A recent study from researchers at the University of Arizona decided to tackle the question of why some people are just naturally more affectionate, specifically if there's a predisposition to it that can be linked to our genetics.

So, do our genes affect our expressions of affection?

According to the paper, published in Communication Monographs in May, genetics do play a role in how affectionate women are, but the correlation does not appear to extend to men as well. "The question that drove the study was: Recognizing that some people are more affectionate than others, what accounts for that variation," said Kory Floyd, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, "and is any part of that variation genetic?"

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