A day in the life of a Sexologist

2015-06-20 13:58

The importance of touch

"We couldn't keep our hands off each other" or shouting out in anger "Don't touch me" are often the way some of my patients describe the role that touch play in their relationships. Daily I teach the importance of touch to couples that come to the Sex therapy clinic.

Touch is our first sense to develop and newborns have a well-developed sense of touch, this sense is vital to their survival. Touch is a behaviour learned in our birth family, then from others, from infancy onwards. Some do not learn enjoyable touch at home during childhood because of a “no touch“ family custom of because of negative – hurtful or punishing touch or confusing sexualized touch. These are differences in each person to be understood and respected. It is possible to gain perspective and heal past negatives. We can learn to change, because touching is a way of communicating. Positive appropriate loving touch today can, like healing ointment, take away the pain of past negatives. We can remove the cobwebs of the past to prevent contamination of present and future pleasure.

In a relationship or marriage: one partner may want more touch, both may want more touch but be afraid / ashamed to ask. Men in some countries are cheated out of pleasurable touch, because it is wrongly considered unmanly, except in sports or fights. Therefore, one partner may have difficulty receiving enjoyable touch. Another may enjoy giving it. Hugging and holding feel good and reassuring to both sexes and all ages. Both can learn, in a relationship, to receive and to give reciprocally. First think about it, then talk about it, then try it, then relax and enjoy it. Touching / massage / shower / Jacuzzi / etc. all stimulate natural skin nerve endings to manufacture natural pleasure neurohormones that relax that relax and nourish our whole system from being an embryo in uterus into old age. Touch may be desexualised or sexualised as your mood and fantasies regulate.

Sensate focus is sustained touch, also called petting or making out or foreplay by some couples. The exhilaration of the chase is a temporary “high” feeling that subsides to a secure plateau of caring. Don’t expect passion to be “volcanic” forever. For caring to endure in a relationship it needs nurturance with positive feedback, just as a plant needs water to survive. Smile. Hug. Appreciate and say so….

Foreplay, loveplay, sexplay, afterplay are all wonderful for both when you care and share. When there is tension, hostility and resentment then anger and powerplay will block positive feelings. Negative feelings must be recognised and resolved because they block loving touch.

Sex is not always the problem in a relationship, but rather the symptom of a deeper underlying and unresolved issue.

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