Touch is one of our most basic needs. If we are fortunate, we begin our lives with a family who gives us nurturing, loving, compassionate touch. As we grow into adulthood, though, we are taught that the only way to get our touch needs met is through a sexual relationship. This all-or-nothing paradigm leaves many people with no touch whatsoever, and no way to get this need met. Even being in an intimate relationship doesn’t guarantee that you will be touched – just ask all those couples who never have sex!
Consensual platonic touch is a great way to get your skin hunger addressed. An important part of consent is it is okay to ask and it is also okay to say no. Be okay with rejection; we are all rejected from time to time, and the world doesn’t end when it happens. Approaching another person with no expectations, a sense of respect and an open heart is recommended and encouraged.
Be aware that going into a touch encounter with an agenda or desire to create a sexual connection is probably going to backfire and get you neither touch nor sex. Consider the other person’s needs and desires: is touch, or even verbal intercourse, something that would benefit them? Oddly enough, by getting your platonic touch needs met, you are more likely to be relaxed and attractive to others and be considered a good candidate for a more intimate relationship!
The following list provides some suggestions of non-sexual ways to receive touch.
- Ask a friend or family member to hug you. If it is a friend of the opposite sex, be clear that you are not interested in sex, just touch.
- Get a pedicure, manicure or facial.
- Get a haircut. Ask the stylist to shampoo your hair.
- Schedule a massage.
- Hire an escort or sex worker and ask them to simply hold you.
- Look for a local cuddle party in your area. Sometimes they are organized on www.meetup.com.
- Go to a busy public place and hold up a sign that says Free Hugs.
- Sign up for a dance class that involves partner dancing. Eastern European folk dancing also involves holding hands and dancing in a line.
- Run an ad on Craigslist asking for someone to cuddle with. Be willing to exchange emails with them, and meet in a public place, so that they will feel comfortable. (Pet peeve: many people are putting ads on Craigslist these days with a cuddling title, but they are really looking for casual sex. Be honest about what you want and need; bait-and-switch is unethical.)
- Make an appointment for a Karuna Session.
- Do not rule out the option of being touched by a member of the same sex. Women tend to be more touchy-feely with their friends than men, but in many other countries, heterosexual men routinely hug, hold hands and walk arm in arm.
- Ask for a hug from a medical professional you see (like a therapist or doctor). If they decline, tell them that this is something you are craving, ask them if they can recommend a touch professional.
- Join a social group or organization that meets regularly where members know each other and often hug at the beginning or end of events. Be prepared to show up regularly and allow them to get to know you.
- If you are a spiritual person, consider getting involved with a church. One of the biggest benefits of organized religion is the community created around it.
- Take a weekend-long workshop. People who spend a weekend exploring a topic that is somewhat self-reflective often become close and hug each other at the end.
- If you can’t find someone to hold you, you can wrap yourself tightly in a blanket, and rock a bit from side to side. This is the best way to simulate cuddling.
One last note, personal connections will involve taking some risks and getting out of your comfort zone. If this is too much of a leap for you, please consider an option that involves paid touch. It is likely that after your body has had a chance to relax, and you remember how good it feels to be held, you will be more ready to take some of these risks.