Americans suffer from a silent epidemic. This epidemic is skin hunger, and it afflicts millions. It is slow and sneaky; people can sense that something is wrong, but they don’t know what, or how to heal it, until someone says the words out loud. Skin hunger can affect our overall mental and physical health, and make our lives darker and more difficult. One friend recently described it as being killed by thousands of paper cuts. The cure is simple: all we need to do is reach out and ask others to embrace us. And yet….

Karuna Sessions recognizes that this chasm is hard for most people to cross. Being touched is a Really Big Deal, and when you haven’t had it for a long time, it’s hard to take the first step. We have created an immersive experience of compassionate touch that tells people, “We see you. We know you want to connect with others, and you deserve to have that pleasure. There’s no shame in wanting to be touched. We know it’s frightening to ask, and to receive. So we’re going to walk you through this fear, slowly and gently, and welcome you back into the human family.”

(And once people go through the experience, the relief on their face is palpable. They look 10 years younger, and say, smiling, “I had no idea how much I needed that.”)

Whether rich or poor, old or young, beautiful or ugly, healthy or sick, humans share one universal characteristic: we are all born in a physical body. When we are young, our parents care for us by holding our bodies close to ours. Before we can walk, think or talk, we learn what safety and contentment feels like. As we age, we move away from this simple pleasure, and take up residence in our heads. If we’re lucky we find this solace again in the arms of a lover.

People are starving, hungering for embrace, connection and touch. While they see a smorgasbord of sexual options offered up, many still find it impossible to open the door to the House of Platonic Touch, walk into the restaurant and have a seat at the table. Karuna Sessions offers compassionate touch: a home-cooked meal from mama, simple food prepared with love and care, nutritious and filling. We nourish and fortify people, let them know that it’s okay to be hungry, and that they will be fed. We give them a really satisfying meal, one that will sustain them if it’s a long time until they can feed their skin hunger again. (I’m also interested in having some research done on our process; I think it may have value for those suffering from PTSD, addiction, anxiety or depression.)

For the past two years, I have been trying to figure out how to let people know about our sumptuous fare. There are millions of people to feed out there, and we’re serving up a meal that satisfies their skin hunger, one at a time. Karuna Sessions truly is a ministry of the body.

I also believe that as the skin is the outer layer of our bodies, skin hunger is only the outer layer of our desires. We hunger to connect with other people’s hearts and minds and souls. It’s human to want to know others; we are nothing more than monkeys with car keys. Closeness is in our DNA; it has always helped us survive. Perhaps if we can experience being physically intimate with others in a safe space and experiences pleasure without expectations, we will learn to trust each other, to talk to our friends and neighbors, to ask questions instead of spewing opinions, and to recognize that we’re all in this together.

If we want to survive as a species, we’re going to have to get a bit closer and take care of each other, in a million different relationship configurations. And then maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a chance to navigate out of the multiple messes we find ourselves in.