July 25, 2016

EP. 134 — Why Our Society Is Engineered To Make Us Feel Lonely

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.

This episode is sponsored by Magoosh, The Bouqs, and Credit Karma.


Psychology Today: What Lack of Affection Can Do to You: https://goo.gl/HOlA9y

Sebastian Junger TED Talk on PTSD, Loneliness: https://goo.gl/e31gD3

NYT Book Review: Sebastian Junger’s ‘Tribe’: http://goo.gl/ysbAAd

Tiffany Field’s Book ‘Touch’: https://goo.gl/oj4NzM

Tiffany Field’s Study of Touch at McDonald’s in the US and France: https://goo.gl/LxipQv

Do High Fives Help Sports Teams?: https://goo.gl/7OJlY9

Recent Episodes

January 26, 2020

Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-fear-based-democracies-arenE28099t-free-with-jason-pargin/

January 19, 2020

How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/5-parts-u.s.-economy-that-are-stranger-than-you-think

January 12, 2020

Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-times-pop-culture-accidentally-taught-people-to-save-lives/