One technology in particular that's been pointed to as a cause of modern skin hunger is infant formulae.

It's hardly remembered now but there was a time when almost no-one in North America was breast fed, and that generation of infants grew up to be the manically skin-hungry sixties generation.

However, customs may be involved too. In societies where homosexuality isn't an issue - either perfectly acceptable or perfectly unacceptable (including this society until near the turn of the century) - much more contact is common, and personal distances are much closer. It may be that in recent times, the most homophobic have been quickest to draw back in order to avoid any possible confusion and this has led to more distance and less touching in general.

Equally, and perhaps more plausibly, as sexual mores become more fluid, touches take on new meaning and therefore become rarer. One theory is that even as late as Victorian times touching between men and women was far more common than it is today, precisely because the sexual meaning had been removed by the strict sexual rules of the day. Women generally initiated such touches, only one person in an interaction would touch very much (except for very occaisional return touches), and no man would persist in touching a woman who pulled back her shoulder or anything else, even symbollically, but touching as part of conversation was then far from rare, as it now is.

It might also be noted that studies show that promiscuity is rare in those who have been touched a great deal in childhood. So the sexual revolution might be both a cause and an effect of our common physical remoteness.

Perhaps we should try to bring back Victorian touching rules.