Are you seeking sex, when actually what you want is touch? Most of us have at some point sought sex, when really we were yearning for human contact on our skin. Consensual, pleasurable sex can be a wonderful thing, and healing in itself, however we don't actually need sex. We do however need touch; Sex is optional; touch is necessary.
Touch can be used to heal, however many people have had negative or abusive experience of touch, and non-sexual touch can be missing from our life. We receive mixed messages around touch and sexuality; on the one hand sexuality is ubiquitous in marketing and the media, yet it's still quite a taboo subject generally, despite the fact we all derive from it! Touch is often avoided, particularly in English culture. Additionally, as we seek-out "connection" online, we come less into real human contact. Lately British politics and more recently Corona virus have only exacerbated feelings of isolation, boundaries and restrain around touch.
There have been numerous studies detailing the importance of touch in the development of babies. Touch is one of the first senses to develop (around 8 weeks after conception) in utero and is the most developed sense at birth. Babies use their own touch and the touch of others to sooth themselves. The skin is the largest organ, and touch is essential to our growth and development. We come into this world with this innate ability, yet we forget, get distracted, or have negative experience of touch as we grow up.
"Studies of babies (human and animal) in suboptimal conditions (e.g., orphaned infants, infants separated from their mothers) have shown the striking negative impact that results from separation from caregivers, especially mothers who are a source of nourishment, and lack of human touch. These include delayed growth and development, illness, higher stress levels and issues with attachment and properly bonding with caregivers." The Power of human touch for babies. Paper by: Britney Benoit, Katelynn Boerner, Marsha Campbell-Yeo, PhD, Christine Chambers, PhD Centre for Pediatric Pain Research.
As adults we continue to need touch. One of the ways many people receive touch is with their intimate, sexual partner. Is it more acceptable or common place to ask for sex than to ask for touch? (Sex certainly has been commodified in a way that touch has not!) Are we sometimes engaging in sex when what we actually want is tenderness and the type of touch we want to receive? What if we are not currently involved in any intimate physical relationship?
"To Touch can be to give life". Micheal Angelo.
Without enough human contact and touch the body and emotions can harden with defensive patterns which can led to stress and disease. Is isolation the pathology of our time? A lack of nourishing touch can make us feel diminished, "less than", invisible even, as touch impacts a core part of our identity as social beings.
"The emerging science around the healing power of touch is undeniable. Touch elicits emotions, modulates emotions, and communicates emotions... Touch stimulates the autonomic nervous system, and the vagal stimulation supports reduced depression, pain, and stress and increased immune function. "The Polyvagal theory in Therapy" - Deb Dana.
Some of us receive physical contact in our intimate relationship, others in contact sports or partner dancing, others have a cat or other pet to stroke. Nothing however compares with receiving touch exactly the way you want it, and in the knowing that the giver has no personal agenda and needs nothing in return. Have you experienced this type of touch? There is another possibility to going along with touch we do not want, opting for sex when we really want touch, relying on our pet for contact, or being deprived of touch entirely....
Julia provides healing-touch sessions which are completely consensual, based around your choice and discovering what type of touch you want to receive. You may need the time and space to realise you don't know what type of touch you want, or you may first need to work on developing ways to ask to not be touched at all. We have all learned to go along with types of touch we do not want, and these sessions provide an opportunity to change habitual, conditioned response to touch. All feelings and exploration are welcome and the aim is to provide a trauma-aware, safe, relaxed environment for you to develop your choice around touch. This can be life changing.
Sessions may include:
- simple embodiment practice
- developing healthy boundaries
- exploring touch of your choice
- self-soothing touch techniques
You can learn much about touch and yourself in this process, and then take these skills into your into personal relationships.
Please do drop me an email if you feel this may be something you're interested in. All genders, orientations and ages (18 plus) welcome.
Benefits of non-sexual touch include:
- stress reduction
- deeper sleep
- boosts mood & psychological wellbeing
- improved immune function
- choice & self-empowerment
Sex is optional; touch is necessary.
Julia also runs monthly dance/movement events and is a certified Wheel of Consent® workshop facilitator and a Ritual Play facilitator.