I asked a male companion what he liked best about me after we’d spent a few days together. It was kinda a dare, but I was in the mood to hear something good about myself. He answered easily, ”You seem to really enjoy being touched.” And he added a second ‘liking’ without me prompting, “And you seem to enjoy touching me.”
Both answers caught me a little by surprise, really. I expected—“You are so easy to talk to, or you seem to really enjoy life, or you have a great attitude.” Down the line I could imagine hearing, “You’re playful, you’re smart—you have a PhD, love animals, have traveled a lot, you are articulate, etc.” But no, he liked our physical touching the best.
Now, it has taken me a long time to ‘love touching’ so much. A lot of my life I was pretty anxious or depressed about how touching could go wrong and found lots of excuses to just avoid it. (Kinda lonely really.) That changed after I made a study out of touching and intimacy—maybe because I wasn’t good at it. I schooled myself, made pleasure a discipline, ha!—and I got good at it! Like anything else you study and practice after you get good, it starts to feel easy, relaxed, nuanced and rewarding.
In studying intimate touch, I sought out teachers, books, workshops, partners and went to work—diligently studying pleasure! I knew there’d be fun parts, set backs and growth. I learned to research my curiosities, like my body, express what I wanted, give and get just the touch I desired and nothing more, and forget about trying to get someplace. That was a big change from trying to please someone else—and not doing a good job of it.
So when this man told me he liked how much pleasure I could receive from his touch and that I genuinely seemed to enjoy touching him, he was right on. No faking. Touch pulls me deeply into the moment, into the body, out of the head, and into a gentle space where I feel all of life converging just at the tip of a finger.
I think all of us have experienced similar and we want more of it. We desire to be touched in ways that feel authentic, pulls us into the present moment, where we are witnessed for who we are, have been, and are becoming. I think humans do not outgrow the need for touch, conversely, we may need it more. It’s just hard to find our way in shaming and sex negative world.
We profess to lose interest in sex as we age, but really we just need to redefine sex. To fit us. We make up the rules. We have the imagination—or at least can re-engage it. We get to be curious, we get to be gutsy. We are powerful. And age brings it on.
I tell my clients who see me for sex and intimacy coaching, go to where the pleasure is. We all think we need to race ahead—that we are ‘erotic retards’ and everyone else is having more fun. Baloney. What simple thing do you enjoy….hair brushing? Go there and stay there as long as you want.
If you haven’t started your Back to Touch journey yet, take a step, find a book, teacher or partner to practice with. And your partner may find one of the most endearing things about you is how much you can enjoy touch—and touching them.