(Re) Discovering Touch
Our bodies are designed to experience the world through our senses. Sight, smell, taste… and touch. We’re constantly exposed to all types of touch, so much so that we tune out most of it. Because of this, we spend more time anticipating and assigning value to the idea of touch rather than feeling the touch itself. This can lead to a lot of problems around pleasure, performance, and even consent when it comes to sex. So how do we reclaim our body’s relationship to touch? It’s easier than you might think…
The first step in re-booting our relationship with touch comes from embodied awareness—kind of like meditation for your body. Take some time to listen to the touch sensations that your body is feeling right now. Can you feel how your clothing touches your body? Places where your body touches itself? The path of your breath? The air on your face? Let your attention wander around your body seeking the loudest (most obvious) sensations… and then look for the most subtle ones.
Touching with Curiosity
Breaking the pattern of touching with a specific result in mind will help you be a better lover AND enjoy sex more. After practicing embodied awareness, try exploring objects with your hands. It can be anything: a piece of fruit, a silk scarf, a spoon. Touch without assigning value (good or bad) to sensations, but instead pay attention to things like temperature, pressure, and texture. Be curious about how things feel… and how they make you feel. If you practice this, chances are your body will become VERY sensitive and aware of touch.
Even though our bodies carry TONS of social messaging and personal history, we’re really all just objects. Because of this, we can explore touch on ourselves or with each other just like any other object (temperature! Pressure! Texture!).
We want to touch others with consent and respect. How do we do this? COMMUNICATION! We all have our own sets of feelings, desires, and experiences that inform how we process touch. So talk about it! Share your experiences and ask your partner to share theirs. Staying engaged through communication will help you and your partner feel safe, curious, and connected rather than objectified or dehumanized.
Try trading touch with your partner like it was a laboratory experiment (Bishop Black and Lina Bembe do a great job of this in “Pleasure Mapping”). This touch doesn’t have to look a certain way, have an agenda, or achieve a specific result (like getting turned on). Explore their body with curiosity (and with their permission!). Then touch them in ways they ask you to… and then switch roles. Share how this touch feels (both to give and to receive) and how it MAKES you feel (comforted? energized? aroused?). Remember, the purpose isn’t sexual gratification… it’s just curious exploration… for both of you!
Exploring touch can be amazingly enriching, whether it’s platonic, sensual, or sexual… solo or with partner(s). Go slowly. Be curious. Listen to your body. Explore. Communicate… and Enjoy!