I had an especially rough day today— one of those days when you rue having crawled out of a nice warm bed, and into the icy clutches of this sometimes-hard world. As I lick my wounds at home, nursed by a purring cat and a steaming mug of coffee, I find myself reflecting on the curative powers of touch: sex, yes— but also sensual pleasures, and the warmth of an intimate embrace.
There is something deep in the human psyche that absolutely requires touch. It’s physical, as well as psychological, as is evidenced by the developmental damage done to under-attended young primates, as well as the “failure to thrive” syndrome suffered by some infants during the last century. The need for touch cannot be ignored.
As someone who holds a holistic view of sex, I believe that satisfying touch is available through many expressions other than intercourse— wonderful as that can be. A gentle, caring brush across your partner’s cheek, a tender and attentive massage to relieve cramped and aching shoulders, a kiss that conveys healing acceptance and caring— these are all examples of the breadth of curative touch.
In our American society, touch is often positioned and used as a means to an end: as a prelude to “real” sex (i.e. intercourse), or as a way to disarm someone and win favor. Too often, we’re led to believe that caring touch is just a ticket to the “main event” of sex. I think that perspective is especially prevalent among men. Such a belief can keep us from some of the most enjoyable aspects of connecting with a partner (or with ourselves).
It’s good to take a deep breath, smell the perfume of Spring blossoms on the air, look around and truly register all the beauty that surrounds us— and just be grateful to be alive. That can make us more appreciative of the special people in our life, and it can make us much more appealing to them. Once that connection is made, touch each other to show your appreciation and love. It’s great to be connected!