[originally written by Cyndi Darnell]
One of the most basic forms of human connection is touch. For so many of us it’s hard to imagine life without it. From erotic passion to profound love, there is no deeper expression of affection, emotion and eroticism. Sadly, so many of us are touch starved, not only because we don’t touch, but because we just don’t really know how to really give and receive touch.
Seems absurd, doesn’t it? After all touch is at the centre of what good sex is about, but when was the last time you were touched, I mean really touched, in ways that rippled right through your body, in ways that left you yearning, in ways that left you feeling met, nourished and fulfilled?
If your response is don’t know or can’t remember then read on.
Embodied touch is a meaningful way of integrating the body with the mind (intentions and thoughts) and emotions to create more passion, potency and connection to your sexual expression. The emphasis is on not only giving touch with intention, intensity and awareness, but also mindfully receiving a lovers’ touch. In other words, embodied touch is a two-way dance between lovers that ignites the flames of desire and keeps them burning long after the honeymoon is over.
It’s easy to mistakenly think that receiving touch is like receiving a massage, you can just drift away and zone out. But sadly, such a disconnection between giver and receiver is often the cause of erotic breakdowns between lovers.
How easy is it to forget where you are or what you are doing in so many of life’s activities; eating, driving, on the bus / train / tram, on social media – you name it, our lives are geared to make us zone out. In fact, businesses make a fortune off the fact that’s exactly what we do. Especially when we are over worked and over stimulated.
So what’s the fall out? Partners tend to get distracted. Sex becomes mechanical or non-existent. Attention is cool and lovers drift away from each other rather than move toward each other; toward the connection they most deeply desire.
The antidote is in simply placing more attention on your intention. Wherever you put your attention, you will experience greater awareness. This is true in all aspects of life. Business, family, sporting skills, learning languages, friendships, finances, pleasure – wherever there is attention, there is change.
Creating the kind of connection you long for is absolutely possible and doesn’t require incense, fasting or endless hours of yoga. No trekking in Nepal or countless hours of study required. Touching your lover as if they were the most precious thing on the planet and allowing yourself to surrender into that moment, where time stops and you become one with all of who you are, is completely possible at any time you want it.
If embodied touch is so simple, why then so very rare?
Because the truth is, most of us have never really learnt nor experienced the wonder of deeply connected and meaningful loving touch. We don’t learn it at school and we don’t see it on TV or in the movies. We may have learnt to emphasise touch in our homes growing up, but this is rare. The bottom line is we don’t live in a world that values it. So it gets forgotten. We harden up and get on with it, forgetting what it is our bodies need, or never knowing how exquisite erotic connection through simple touch can really be.
But don’t despair.To get you on your way, here are a few essentials of embodied touch you can try, even by yourself, to experience the pleasure of uniting body, mind and heart.
- Starting Off.
Decide who will give and who will receive first. We often make the mistake of trying to give and receive at the same time. Instead, avoid the confusion and be clear about where to focus your attention. It’s hard to both give and receive touch with full awareness, at the same time.
If touching alone, place your awareness on one role at time, then switch. For example, if touching your arm with your hand, focus on the sensation of what the hand and fingers can feel first. Then switch to the arm; the recipient of the touch. How does that part feel being touched. Shift your awareness to different parts of your body that are touching and being touched.
In pairs, the receiver can choose to sit or lie down, eyes closed. The giver places *themself comfortably close enough for sustained touch. It’s important to find a comfy position, as being uncomfortable will take your mind off the job and cause you to lose focus by trying to get comfortable.
- The Essence of Presence.
Breath is a core component of connected, embodied eroticism. In fact, great sex is created by attention, but sustained by breath. Wherever there is breath there is life. Dead people don’t breathe folks! It’s true!
Synchronise your breath by observing or ‘feeling into’ each other’s bodies’ rise and fall with breath. Allow yourself some time for this. This process also allows you the opportunity to help slow your mind down.
Ideally the giver matches their breath with the receiver as a way of creating a safe container the receiver can be held in. Even with partners who have been together a long time, the idea of safety might seem absurd, but I am not talking about safety here as in ‘safe from danger’, but rather the safety that comes with not having to perform or be on show – being able to deeply relax into an experience without worrying about ‘doing it right’. This may take a few moments until it settles into a relaxed and ‘natural’ state.
If alone, pay attention to your own breath, the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen until you start to relax.
- Be Present.
Focus your awareness on yourself. Take a few minutes to notice how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and what you’re experiencing in your body. Without judging it, just acknowledge its presence. Whether giving or receiving, this process of ‘tuning in’ or observing yourself, means bringing this quality to the dance between you and informs the way you touch or receive. When you are more aware of how you are, you are better able to share that with others.
- Put Your Attention On Your Intention.
This helps to bring purpose to what you’re doing and allows the receiver to be more receptive and aware. Receivers can state (verbally) what they would like; sensual touch, arousing touch, genital touch, basic massage etc and givers can bring all of their attention to this request to offer the kind of touch required. Intention might be anything from relaxing and connecting, expressing love, letting go of the day or facilitating a profound orgasm. Studies have even proven that when we give and receive touch with intention we are able to communicate more intuitively than with words. If touching alone, set an intention for the experience – it may be something like permission to experience pleasure for its own sake without shame, to experience a different kind of erotic sensation ( do something out of your normal masturbation routine) or maybe experience masturbation without ejaculation.
- Touch From The Heart.
Begin the connection by becoming aware of your own heart (or heart beat if you can).
Givers place the left hand over the heart of the receiver. Palm first, then fingers. This way we are setting up a direct line from the giver’s heart, down the left arm into the heart of the receiver. You’re literally connected by the heart.
Check the breath is still synchronised and take a moment to feel your hand on your partner’s chest.
Slowing everything down is vital. Place the other hand on a part of the body that feels appropriate. The lower abdomen can often feel good. Ask if you need to. Apply the same ‘palm first’ process as a way of creating a stable and deep connection.
Receivers, feel the warmth of your partner’s hand and allow your heart to open and move toward it. Stay with this moment as long as required. Sometimes just having one’s heart touched can be a profoundly humbling and tender experience. If touching alone, use the same process to touch and honour your own heart. Don’t be surprised if you experience deep waves of pleasure and sensation from this process alone.
- Touch With Reverence.
Maintaining the palm to body connection, slowly move your hand(s) around the receiver’s body, sliding** with mindful awareness of the grounding sensation of the palm and breathing together.
Invite the receiver to receive ‘actively’ by breathing or releasing gentle sighs to show they are present to the touch and not drifting off into their own thoughts.
Givers, allow your intuition to guide speed and pressure and take your cues from the receiver’s expressions, body movements or invite their (verbal) feedback. During all of this you may like to maintain gentle eye-contact.
One of the biggest myths about sex is that our bodies are dangerous, that we are taught not to trust our bodies. We are told that our body leads us into so many areas of error. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Our mind is capable of playing all kinds of trick on us, but the body just never lies. By trusting in your bodies’ ability to communicate, you create connection in ways that words alone cannot. Rather than worrying you’re doing it ‘wrong’, build deeper erotic connection that leads to pleasure, orgasm or healing and release from old wounds.
*this word is used intentionally as a gender neutral pronoun
**If you notice your hands are a little clammy or sticky, sprinkle a little ‘pure’ corn flour over your partner’s body or into your hands. (Not great for the genitals though). I say pure because some corn flours aren’t actually made from corn flour – so check the ingredients on the pack first. Corn flour as opposed to wheat / rice flour or baby powder creates a very, very soft sliding sensation on the skin, as inviting as oil, but – well, without the oil. A different yet exquisite sensation. Or you could use massage oil – something natural and edible, coconut, almond or olive oil but not both oil and flour at the same time – otherwise you end up with a very claggy disgusting mess – unless that’s your thing, in which case enjoy!
Also remember if you are using oil –it breaks latex condoms and gloves so if you are going to use condoms and gloves for internal massage or intercourse – DON’T use oil for massage or vaginal / anal intercourse. Or, take a shower to wash the oil off the genitals before genital or anal sex. Easy peasy!