The Words Sex and Touch are Getting a Divorce
“Your sense of taste is so sexy,” is probably something you’ve never heard someone say. That’s because taste is not a sense that is typically sexualized as opposed to touch which holds the trophy for the most sexualized of senses. However “creepy” touch can be (and, certainly in some contexts, it is inappropriate and not okay) the human need for safe, positive touch is both crucial and innate.
In fact, it’s something we anticipate before we’re even born. It’s the first sense that develops, merely three weeks after conception. Studies conducted by Durham University have shown that babies do prep work to prepare for touch by caressing their own faces and mouths. This potentially indicates the type of brain development essential in preparing for feeding, social interaction, and self-soothing.
The truth is, touch has gotten a bad rap in recent years, and rightfully so. The me too movement has done an amazing favor to society as it’s called into question “what is safe touch?” and “what is inappropriate touch?” Everyone from Joe Biden to news anchors to CEOs around the country have all been called out for inappropriate touch across the spectrum.
Unfortunately, professions that specialize in safe touch are often the ones that get the brunt of the misconception that all touch outside of relationships is sexual. This is dangerous for these practitioners as they sometimes get propositioned for sexual favors and put into uncomfortable situations when all they want to do is provide healing and transformative touch.
In her article Desexualizing the Touch Experience: A Proactive Approach, Cherie Sohnen-Moe writes:
“Sexuality is a natural part of the human experience. We are born as sexual beings with a need for touch and intimacy. We require a healthy environment that supports our natural development in these areas to thrive as organisms. By definition, sex, touch, and intimacy are three distinct behaviors and experiences. The fact that they overlap at times is what creates confusion.”
Safe, positive touch releases oxytocin (the love hormone) and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone). It’s an undeniable wellness booster and arguably something we all need regularly. So, how do we help ensure touch isn’t creepy? We go to people who are trained to touch, background checked, and to those who provide the proper consent forms. This could be a massage therapist, a Yomassage® therapist, or even (in some states) the cosmetologist licensed to wash your hair.
So while touch is creepy when it’s non-consensual, unwanted, or just inappropriate, safe, positive touch is transformative.
If you’re interested in meeting this need and feeling the difference it makes in your life, sign-up for a Yomassage® or Mindful Touch™ class.
Written by Samantha Eubanks