Touch Me… Please!

Via Freya Watson
on Apr 10, 2013
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Photo courtesy of Flickr
Photo courtesy of Flickr

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It was two in the morning and I was awake again, tossing and turning under the quilt with a restless yearning. My body had been used to being held, loved, stroked and pleasured, and it was suffering withdrawal symptoms.

I’d been separated—and celibate—for almost a year and was badly missing intimate physical contact. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I couldn’t find a massage therapist or a casual partner. I’d had plenty of massages, but none of them quite hit the spot. And casual partners weren’t exactly abundant at the time, for some reason. It wasn’t sex I was after, anyway—it was loving touch. The kind of touch a new lover naturally showers on their beloved in the early days of exploration and wonder.

I knew what I needed and was willing to ask, but finding it was another story. Luckily the dry period didn’t last long, though, and pretty soon my body was again feeling that happy glow that comes with being touched with love.

In the years since, when I take time off writing to see clients for healing, I’ve noticed how common it is to see people whose whole energy is begging, ‘touch me—please!’ Not that they’re necessarily aware of it, or looking for me to touch them. It’s just that they may not have had intimate contact with another person in years, and may have even forgotten how to allow themselves to be touched. Even if they’re in a relationship and sexually active, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are experiencing true intimacy and loving touch. Sex and intimacy don’t always go together. I wonder how many people go through adult life without being properly touched?

Our bodies are built for connection. Not just a casual hug or hand on the shoulder.

We’re built to thrive on love, and intimate touch is a natural physical manifestation of love. And by intimate touch I mean the kind that says ‘I’m right here, fully present with you, in this moment,’ rather than intimacy which is just about genital contact. It’s an intimacy which can be shared with anyone we love, not just sexual partners. Studies have shown that the cells in our bodies expand when they feel love and contract when they feel its opposite, and our ability to use our touch to transmit that energy to another is an innate gift which we all carry.

Modern society is moving further and further away from touch as a natural, integrated part of everyday life.

To fill the gap, we have created services that people buy and sell, but it’s not that same and we’re losing touch with our own natural ability to bring healing and pleasure to those close to us.

Massage is needed in the world because love has disappeared. Once the very touch of lovers was enough. A mother touched the child, played with his body, and it was massage. The husband played with the body of his woman and it was massage; it was enough, more than enough. It was deep relaxation and part of love. But that has disappeared from the world. By and by we have forgotten where to touch, how to touch, how deep to touch. In fact touch is one of the most forgotten languages.” ~ Osho from ‘Hammer on the Rock’

Reawakening that ability for loving touch can be one of the simplest and most beautiful gifts to ourselves and our loved ones. At its most basic, just showing up and being willing to touch someone with the intention of bringing healing or love can be a comforting experience for another. And sometimes it’s as easy as that. We may shy away from placing soothing hands on an aching back or stroking a tense head, thinking drugs or a doctor are more efficient, or not wanting to spend the time. Surprisingly, though, it can be all that’s needed to shift a mood, lighten discomfort, or unlock a deeper emotional layer that’s ready to be cleared. More importantly, touch connects people and increases that sense of trust and love in the world in a way that doctors and drugs struggle to do.

In essence, reclaiming our ability to lovingly touch another—whether child, friend or lover—can be as straightforward as practicing the following four qualities. The more often we practice them, the deeper our touch can go.

Clear intention. Be clear about why you want to touch another and stay focused on that intention. Are you intending to create a sense of well-being? Or pleasure? Or comfort? Whatever it is, be clear in your mind about it before you start. As an experiment, ask a friend to close their eyes and try two variations of the same touch—stroke their arm once while thinking of your favorite movie and then a second time while intending that they feel your love. Then ask if they noticed any difference.

Love. It sounds simple to say ‘love the one you’re with’ but it’s not always that easy to access a feeling of love for someone at the drop of a hat. So find another way in to the energy—twiddle that internal dial until you find that feeling of love somewhere inside (try music, or the face of a lover, or the memory of a warm summer’s day). Use your mind or senses to find a catalyst that can bring you back to a deep feeling of love, then refocus the energy on the person you’re with.

Presence. You can’t hear what another’s body is trying to say to you if your mind is busy, so bring that mind fully into the moment! Focus on the sensation of touch, or on synchronizing your breathing with the person you’re touching, if you need to have something to keep the mind busy with. Being present brings a stillness, and intuition reaches us through that stillness.

Trust. Trust that you can bring a sense of well-being and love to another by touching them. Trust that somewhere deep inside, you know how and where to touch them. Then follow your instincts, get on with it and see where it leads you.

Feelings of pleasure and well-being aren’t just for the lucky one who’s being touched, either.

The beauty of feeling another opening under your touch and discovering the depths that can be hidden in the body brings with it a deeper connection to the mysteries of life as well as a sense of profound gratitude for this simple gift. So find a partner and get touching! Then teach your kids.

 

*

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The Cuddle Sutra & the Benefits of Touch Therapy 

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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

451,018 views

About Freya Watson

How we ground our heart-felt truths into the everyday experience of relationships, work and family is the foundation for a lot of my work. Finding our 'truth' is a challenge in itself, but living it day to day is an even bigger challenge. My books are available on Amazon and you can also find me on Facebook and read more on my blog.

Comments

78 Responses to “Touch Me… Please!”

  1. Freya, this is such an important topic! I've been doing a great deal of writing and research on how touch's absence from our daily life has become a global problem. Thanks for writing!

  2. Carolyn Riker says:

    This is a beautifully written piece. Touch is so often misunderstood. Loving touch without expectations is often what we really need! Thank you, Freya. You're words touched me! Sending love your way.

  3. Maria says:

    Big Thank You for this!

  4. Freya Watson says:

    Thanks for the comment, Kate. It's such a broad subject, ranging from how we parent to how comfortable we are being close with friends to how we exchange with lovers. Worthy of your research!

  5. Freya Watson says:

    Gratefully received, Carolyn. Thank you!

  6. Freya Watson says:

    You're so welcome, Maria. x

  7. Mary says:

    Beautiful! I love the emphasis you give to the energy and intention of loving touch… it really brings a new level of depth and connection to a (sometimes) neglected concept. I can tell this was thoughtfully written 🙂

  8. Zoe says:

    I recently said to a new lover, with whom I will stay, that since our discussion about being together long-term I've felt a deeper connection from his wonderful, gentle, already-loving touch. We litererally spend hours stroking and touching – he has a thing for my crazy hair, which is completely amazing to me. The quality of the touch is something neither of us had, and the discovery has been absolutely mind-blowing. Thank you for writing about it.

  9. sheri says:

    love this…
    "The beauty of feeling another opening under your touch and discovering the depths that can be hidden in the body brings with it a deeper connection to the mysteries of life as well as a sense of profound gratitude for this simple gift. So find a partner and get touching! Then teach your kids."

    lovely article, Freya

  10. This is wonderful. As my marriage withered, the first thing I did was to find a massage therapist. Lovers as well, but that was not fully satisfying until I began to make connections. Thank you for touching on this subject for those of us who find ourselves, sometimes or always, with that human contact!

  11. Freya Watson says:

    Discovering that depth of touch for the first time is magical! Cherish and enjoy 🙂

  12. Freya Watson says:

    Thank you, Sheri. I'm glad it touched you.

  13. Freya Watson says:

    What kind of a world would it be if we could just ask, and receive, that kind of touch when we needed it? And offer it in return. I like to dream. But then all good things start off as dreams…Thank you for reading and commenting, Walker.

  14. bneal817 says:

    Excellent article, Freya. It is just too easy to stay caught up in the 'proper' rules, behaviors and boundaries that alienate us from one another. Touch is the shortest path back to connection and wholeness…

  15. Doug says:

    Amazing article! I was born 13 weeks premature and at age 47 am in a beautiful lovingly nurturing relationship, where touch is connecting us in ways that I could only imagine. I had trouble receiving touch from my parents growing up and in my 20's and 30's. It was only since early 2012 in the current relationship I'm in that touch has been an amazing aspect and learning, growth and love are blossoming. Thank you, Freya for a lovely, touching (!) article.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Deep Sigh. Wow. Thank You.
    (well, and purr too…) 🙂

  17. Katja says:

    Your words ring very true. There are also things you can do that do not require you to change society around you, but rather to seek out settings where there human touch is valued differently. Try contact improvisation, an improvisational dance that centers on human contact. and movement. Within this particular dance tradition/subculture physical contact is recognized to be as necessary for humans as food and sleep.

  18. Freya Watson says:

    Thank you! The whole area of boundaries is a really interesting one too and one I'd love to have included here, but it would have stretched the length of the article too far. When is a boundary neccessary and useful, and when is it an excuse that covers up a deeper fear? Do we really need to set boundaries at all? All interesting for future conversation.

  19. Freya Watson says:

    Your words have touched me deeply, Doug. Thank you for the beautiful comment. Isn't it true that sometimes we value something more when it's been lacking? And our forties can be such an amazing time for blossoming.

  20. Freya Watson says:

    I wish I could actually purr 🙂

  21. Freya Watson says:

    Katja, yes! There are some wonderful movement practices out there. It's something I love to integrate in my own life, too.

  22. supertrampnz says:

    I give my clients and my husband, conscious, connected touch. My son needs me to touch him too, thanks for the reminder. He does love it when I give him a massage.

  23. Thank you for this essay. It validates the experiences I recently had with a loving partner. I wondered why I was "so needy" and craved her loving touch.

  24. mommasutras says:

    Beautiful and yes touch is so vital to our well being, to our healing. The last relationship I was in my partner was incapable of any type of this kind of touch, and while I tried the relationship was domed from the start for sex alone cannot sustain a loving relationship. I felt like I was loosing my mind wanting to be touched and held, while he could only have sex and no touching. I have great empathy for his soul. Your article assists me in knowing that touch is key in our lives, and I am not and wasn't crazy to want it as part of a loving relationship. Thank you for stating it so eloquently!

  25. Shirley says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for this wonderful article! It made me want to read your books!
    I wish I could purr too!

  26. Freya Watson says:

    Sometimes its just the reminder we need. Writing this helped me to remember too 🙂

  27. Freya Watson says:

    You're welcome. That loving exchange between partners can be such an enriching part of a relationship. Enjoy!

  28. Freya Watson says:

    And thank you for the eloquent comment. Its so easy to feel isolated at times, no matter how much we think we know. Knowing there are others out there who are of a similar mind and heart can be comforting, even if they're not with us in the flesh.

  29. Freya Watson says:

    If you discover how, please share! Best I can manage is a moan/groan which is nothing like a purr.

  30. leffreff says:

    This is so good, so real. I've been dating a woman lately, after several years of no dating at all. We're both in our early 60's and pretty tentative about the extent of physical contact we want, and/or how to reach for it. When we tried a near-naked massage recently, followed by some full body hugging, I felt like I was lying in a field during a gentle summer rain. It was all I wanted. Let the rest come later. Or not.

  31. Ateeka says:

    thank you for this lovely reflections . . .
    I would like to bring your attention to TANTSU . . . a practice of safe, non-sexual intimate full body holding and contact . . .
    that addresses this very human need . . . maybe some day we will meet and I can share a Tantsu with you . . .
    http://www.tantsutraining.com

    Love
    Ateeka

  32. Ozell says:

    I touch my wife's back every morning in bed. Just a gentle rub arouses her and I can feel her mood change. It helps her start the day on a good note and it gives me a connection with her that I carry throughout the day. Touch is very important in maintaining an intimate relationship.

  33. sarahbrose says:

    Thank you.

  34. Freya Watson says:

    'Let the rest come later. Or not.' Such beautiful words and perspective! Our heads can get in the way so much at times, suggesting that we should want more or different. Being able to take it as it comes and to relax into it fully is a skill that can take a life time to learn. Thank you for sharing so openly and so eloquently.

  35. Freya Watson says:

    Thank you, Ateeka!

  36. Freya Watson says:

    What a lovely way to start the day! x

  37. Freya Watson says:

    You're welcome, Sarah 🙂

  38. dslyoga says:

    "Sex and intimacy don’t always go together." … I totally agree, Freya. Yet in my experience, too many people are using sex as a replacement for, or escape from, intimacy. And women have been getting more like men in that regard, rather than the other way around. Sex (making love is a better term, I think) could be an art form, with many benefits to both people, but I guess it pushes too many subconscious buttons to allow most people to travel down that path, and really let go into it. One of those buttons is that real & deep intimacy opens us up to deeper parts of our own inner-selves we might be afraid of, if we're not familiar with going to deeper places like that.

    Ironically, I've always been highly appreciated for my willingness to be fully there with Loving Touch, and not in small doses, either. (And I am a long time massage & bodywork therapist, too, so I get great feedback on the competency part.) But finding someone who can, and will, reciprocate that touch has been one of my great disappointments in life. People love to receive, but … but … (((SIGH))).

    Anyway, Freya, Regardless of how it might or might not actually be in Real Life and for how many people, your article is right on as to how is SHOULD be, at least to me. And finding it is one of the truly great blessings in life.

  39. Freya Watson says:

    Thank you for such a long, considered comment. I'm with you on everything you say and, like you say, finding a reciprocation in real life hasn't always been easy for me either. One of the driving forces behind my writing is that I hope that by raising topics – sensitively, like I feel I have here, or more directly, as I have at other times, others may be encouraged to share more openly. Which, in turn, may help those that are uncomfortable with touch, sexuality and deeper intimacy to explore outside their comfort zones too. My experience of working with clients is that so often the head, heart and genitals are disconnected and a process of reconnection is needed – which can come in many forms.

    Much love,

    Freya

  40. I really enjoyed reading your article here, it offers great information to the readers.

  41. Freya Watson says:

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! And I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  42. WolVes says:

    I disagree with your article. Not necessarily that it is in accurate, as i would argue all of it is accurate.

    However, what I do want to comment on is instability. Though this may sound absurd, I would argue that physically distancing yourself from other people promotes emotional and mental stability. Further I would also argue that mental instability is something that current day society lacks the most, making it one of the largest issues we need to rectify.

    Note, im not talking about crazy people when i say mentally unstable like bombers or people shooting up schools. I'm talking about the average Joe. From my experience, and frankly everywhere i look, i see a complete lack of logical thinking in decision making. In fact, i would say a majority of the decisions that are made are based off a persons feelings rather than their logic. This is a scary thought to me, as my primary moral obligation (and i think it should be for almost everyone) is the continued preservation of the human race. We see terrible decisions being made everyday all around us everything from basic RELATIONSHIPS to global warming.

    Anyway to get back to the touchy feely aspect of this argument… I have not had sex in 5 years. Dont get me wrong, when i am in love its amazing, it feels ecstatic. However, I also know im as high as a kite at the same time.. I know my thinking processes are being greatly swayed by emotional preferences. If you analyze yourself during these states, you will be hard pressed, i think, to argue against this. This is a dangerous aspect of love. I can tell you i have been more productive and beneficial to society as a whole in the last 5 years than any period of time in my life. I have actually made the decision to completely give up on relationships because of how much more stable and logical my brain works.

    Im not saying we should stop having sex and relationships. What I am saying is we need to calm our sexuality down. We are so sex and relationship craved in this society that we cannot think straight and this will have consequences. Our history during the Victorian era may have had it best, when sex and relationship was a familial obligation rather than an industry.

  43. WolVes says:

    Note there should be an edit button so when you re-read your work you can edit that spelling error in the second sentence..

  44. Judy says:

    I am grateful to you for choosing to dedicate yourself to helping your fellow humans. We certainly do live in perilous times. I would point out, however, that the preservation of the human race requires children and that in order for children to grow up as strong, loving individuals capable of continuing life-preserving work, they need exactly what Freya has so wonderfully described. And they would benefit from parents who live the truth of it as well. The world needs pockets of happiness in homes — a kind of "love locally, think globally" type of thing. The temptation to say "I've got mine" and pull down the shades and hide from the painful world is there, but it is far from inevitable. After all, I am talking to you instead of going in the living room where I have loving hugs and fun available upon request. Being high as a kite is okay, as long as the string is still attached to the Earth! Of course, you know better than anyone whether you can manage this, but I hope you meet someone who shares your values and visions, or who at least supports you in your work, because you deserve to be happy as much as anyone else. Humans are emotional beings and we need balance. That's logical, isn't it? Bless your heart!

  45. Freya Watson says:

    Yes, I know that one about the edit button. Thank you for taking the time to read and to post such a long comment. My intention was to raise the importance of touch, not sex necessarily – although, for me, sex is an important part of life (I accept this isn't the case for all of us). Touch isn't about sex, it's about touch and connection. And love isn't about being 'in love' always, it's about being in a place of connected, empathetic presence. So I agree with some of what you say, but not all. The point I would have to disagree with most is that we need to calm our sexuality down and promote logical thinking. I think what's needed is a connection between body, heart and mind so that both can be healthily, and fully, expressed. Much craziness comes from either the body operating solely from a place of emotion, or logic, or pure physicality.

  46. WolVes says:

    I understand you are talking about touch as a separate action from sex. However, for my argument they are one in the same. They both promote a great deal of emotional instability due to exorbitant highs with the consequences of lows, just like any drug… Even if one is not "in love", touch still promotes that emotional aspect, otherwise your post would be irrelevant. As you said, when you went a while without being touched, you yearned for it, which clearly demonstrates an emotional desire, struggle, and instability.

    When has solid logic ever been crazy?

  47. Judy says:

    The reply I posted to the article earlier today was meant to be a reply to your comment, but I made an error in how I posted it.

  48. WolVes says:

    Hello Judy and thanks for your response,

    I completely agree that the future needs kids and that kids need nurturing from their families in order to thrive in society. However, in today's society, the amount of sexual and intimate (too include touch) encounters that occur for the simple sake of sex and fun itself is far more prevalent than it has been in history. The need for familial honor and respect has suffered tremendously to a point where it is almost non-existent in places such as America. This has exposed younger and younger kids to intimate fun relationships, rather than waiting for marriage and other such institutions which normally restrict basic intimacies.

    I would argue that for any type of touchy feely activities to occur both parties must be attracted, emotionally dependent, and must trust one another to varying degrees. This clearly demonstrates that there is a stronger than usual relationship between the two people partaking in the touchy feely exercise. I would also point out that this implies a stronger than normal emotional response. This explains fairly well why sex friend relationships rarely work out; that emotional response is there whether they are aware of it or not.

    This takes me onto my main point. Im not saying we should stop having sex or any form of intimate relationships as a species. Rather I am saying that intimate relationships have become too commonplace, that we are learning to be addicted to sex at an early age, and that this greater than historical norm of intimacy is putting pressure on our species overall logical decision making. Furthermore, with over 7 billion people on our planet and with the larger majority not receiving proper education, this increase in sexuality is harmful to the continuation of the species.

    Having loving households is fine, but as with any relationship there are dangers. The more dependent you are on someone or the more you "love" someone the greater the negative reaction will be if they are lost. Wars are started this way. People killing other people is rarely a logical decision, but more of an emotionally controlled one (and if it is a logical decision it is normally driven by an emotional agenda). Imagine losing your family, do you really think you would act in a logical manner in response? I can tell you lots of people in the middle east are in that state of mind..

    Dont get me wrong, i know this world is never going to turn into some logic thinking Volcan planet. However, we need more logic and more global thinking otherwise we are in trouble…

  49. WolVes says:

    Looks like i did the same thing as you..