3 steps to enjoy touch more
If you want to enjoy touch more there are 3 elements you need. Find out what they are, and what you can do when things feel a bit edgy
There’s no doubt about it – touch is complex
Some people find it challenging, and do their best to avoid it. Others find themselves struggling if they don’t get enough.
Even with something as apparently simple as hugs there can be many factors that influence how you feel about them, from an underdeveloped vagus nerve, to cultural conditioning, or trauma.
What is clear, however, is that in order to enjoy touch more there are a number of things that need to be present.
Let’s work backwards:
Step 3 – experiencing pleasure
In order to enjoy touch more your body needs to be in a physiological state to actually feel pleasure.
Pleasure is possible in lots of different contexts, and body states:
- it’s possible to feel pleasure in a neutral physiological state (for example when you’re socially engaged, like having a chat with a friend);
- you can also experience pleasure when you’re in an activated state (play is a good example of this, like sport or dancing);
- or you can experience it in a relaxed state (such as intimacy).
The important thing to remember is that this experience of pleasure is happening in your own body – it’s not something anyone can ‘give’ you.
And in order to be able to feel what’s happening in your body (either sensation or emotion) you need to feel as safe as possible.
Step 2 – safety
However, when you start to feel unsafe your body enters a different type of state.
Depending on your level of activation this is commonly referred to as fight, flight, or freeze (as well as the associated states of fawn or flop).
Of course, safety is relative – what feels unsafe for one person might feel absolutely fine for another.
But even if your body response is only a mild version of any of these states it means that you’ll find it harder to keep feeling sensation or emotion, as your brain shuts down any parts of your system which it deems are not essential to survival.
Intimacy, play, or social engagement – and therefore pleasure – becomes harder the less safe you feel.
So how can you find your way back to them…?
Step 1 – create more choice
One of the best ways to create more of a feeling of safety is to create more choice.
Imagine being in a room with an open door. Now imagine being in a room where the door has been blocked up and there’s no way out. Which one feels safer for you? And what do you notice in your body as you imagine these two scenarios?
If you want to enjoy touch more the best place to start is by finding ways to create more choice for yourself in the environment where the touch is happening.
How this looks will be different for everybody. A few example might include:
- Creating a container for the touch which has clear limits – like a set amount of time, or a particular location
- Making an agreement beforehand with the other person about what kind of touch will (or won’t) happen
- Knowing you can change your mind, pause, or stop whenever you want
Extra tip: what to do if exploring touch feels edgy
When you’re exploring ways to enjoy touch more, and you’re struggling with what to do if things feel a bit edgy, and you want to expand your comfort zone safely, check out my video on feeling for the pull, rather than the push:
If you want to enjoy touch more working with me is a great way to build your skills and practice in a learning space designed specifically for you and your needs – get in touch to find out more, or get started right now with my supported self-study Learn To Touch short course.
Each quadrant in the Wheel Of Consent creates a different experience and teaches you something different about yourself. Learn more about each one:
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