I’ve always thought of my left side as my more emotional side.
- When it was my turn to direct music in my high school music theory course, I noticed that I would use my right hand to indicate the beat and my left hand to direct the aspects of music that convey feeling, such as volume and the articulation of notes (e.g., staccato, glissando, and legato).
- I carried my babies on my left side (except when I was carrying both twins at once, of course). For that matter, as a little girl I carried my dolls in my left arm, too. Even now that my kids are adults, touching them with my left hand makes me feel more connected to them than touching them with my right hand.
- When I reach out to comfort someone, I almost always reach out with my left hand and left arm.
Left side of body, right side of brain
Apparently other folks have noticed this as well.
Research was published early this year shows that most mothers (70-85% of them) carry their babies on their left side. Human mothers—both right-handed and left-handed ones—do it. Even animal mothers tend to place their offspring to their left. Women who are not mothers do the same thing. (Fathers carry on the left, but men who are not fathers don’t show the same tendency. I’m not sure what to make of that, although I find it interesting.)
It turns out it’s a brain thing: Physical touch on the left side of the body elicits a response in the right side of the brain—which is the side that interprets physical cues and emotional signals. Moms who carry on the left are better able to understand and respond to an infant’s needs and emotional state.
In Why most women carry babies on their left side, the author explains it this way:
When a baby is held on the left, the right side of the mother’s brain lights up, and this physical activation of the right side of the mother’s brain helps her bond with her baby.
The article fascinated me. (Take a look, as it explains the research quite clearly and includes links to the studies.)
It got me wondering about whether there are any implications for sexual intimacy—and it turns out that there may be something to this, too. Item #2 in What Turns You On? 10 Fascinating Facts About Sexual Attraction (an older article, also with links to research) addresses this very thing: The left ear is more effective than the right ear when it comes to awareness of emotional words.
What does this mean for marriage?
When I consider my own marriage, I definitely see a left-side emotional preference in my relationship with Big Guy.
Ever since we began dating, when my husband and I are walking hand-in-hand, he is on my left. When he’s on my right, it feels wrong.
When we are in the car, he drives—and where we live, the driver is on the left side of the car. We often have good conversations in the car that help me feel connected. I always thought it was because of the idea that men do better side-by-side. Maybe our conversations are good because he has a preference for side-by-side conversations and because I do better with the emotional impact of the left ear.
When we stand and hug, I prefer to have the left sides of our faces touching rather than our right.
All of this raises interesting questions:
- If a woman is touched on her left side, will she have a stronger emotional connection with her husband?
- Will touching her husband with her left hand help her feel more loving in her actions?
- Will having her husband on her left help her better respond to his words of love, even if they aren’t in a sexual setting?
- If a woman is struggling to feel emotionally connected with her husband, will it help if she has her husband on her left?
What is your experience with your left side and intimacy? Do you have a preference for one side of your body when it comes to emotional connection?
In Song of Songs 2:6, we read,
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.
He isn’t on her left side, but if he is touching her with his right hand, I like to think he is touching the left side of her body.
Do you find that connecting on your left puts you in the right mind for love?