[Disc / Adv] So, touching...

View previous topic View next topic Go down

[Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Guest on Sat May 30, 2015 1:39 am

I've tried to write this thread about four times now, erasing everything each time after feeling like I can't convey what's in my head about this as well as I'd like. Let's see if this ends up the winner.

Basically, I don't like touching. Whether it's being touched or touching others, I'm not very comfortable with it. Of course, there are exceptions on both sides. Handshakes are fine (work does that to you) and there's family / some close friends I don't mind hugging and such. But in general I don't like touch.

When it comes to being touched, it just make me uncomfortable on this level that can be hard to control unless I'm totally pre-prepared for it. Like, meeting with friends, particularly women. They far more likely to offer a hug or be touchy in the first place. If I know I am going to meet them, I can do some small mental preparation so I don't feel 'ambushed'. When I suddenly run into people, well, I can usually coast through the situation but it can really throw me off and stress me out for a while afterwards. It also worries me that I find it really, really hard to say 'no' to touching. That could potentially lead to... not so good things.

On the other hand, touching others is more complicated. I find it hard to initiate, in general, outside of handshakes. I don't feel like it's a matter of timing and more a matter of desire and will. I'd rather not touch others if I can avoid it, so it leads me to default to simply not initiating much more than a handshake. Obviously, that's not the best when it comes to possibly dating someone, where I'd imagine timing would be an issue. Then there's the whole issue with trying to reconcile not liking physical contact and anything sexual requiring said physical contact and fearing that I'll have problems with that down the road. It's hard to imagine yourself ever being successful sexually when you're put off by even touching other people yet still desiring sex. How does that even make sense? Laughing

So, does anyone else relate at all? Any advice to share on it? I realise this is an issue with it's feet firmly set in 'see a therapist' territory, but it doesn't hurt to get other advice.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by nearly_takuan on Sat May 30, 2015 3:48 pm

Where I grew up, handshakes were way too formal a greeting to use in even relatively businesslike contexts. Graduation handshake? No, the principal gives you a hug.

Then I moved to the mainland US for college and spent a few years awkwardly misreading everyone's body language. Apparently people here prep for handshakes by grandly sweeping their shoulders back and up. Ended up swinging wildly back the other direction and assuming people didn't want hugs, at least not from me. To the point where I'm not even super comfortable hugging someone who explicitly says it is time for hugs.

Obviously, I also feel no desire to touch anyone in a sexual manner.

Yet there is still a piece of myself that craves affection and perceives touch as the symbol of that. You could say that 「there is a huge contradiction in this case!」

...So, yeah. I relate.

As far as advice goes, I would guess that we both just need practice. It sounds like you got more accustomed to handshake-touching because it was expected of you professionally; perhaps if you could find an environment where you are expected to initiate a level of touching beyond businesslike handshakes (e.g. certain styles of dance or group exercise), maybe you could train that behavior into yourself? ...Frankly, that sounds really unpleasant to me, so at this time I have no intention of doing anything like this. But, maybe you have different feelings or a stronger will.
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1057
Reputation : 431
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Enail on Sat May 30, 2015 4:21 pm

I can relate to this. I'm not generally a fan of social hugs and I haaaaate strangers/acquaintances who get touchy with me (and will generally react to unexpected touches with a violent reflex).

Since it sounds like exposure and closeness to the person does increase your comfort, this might not actually be as difficult as you fear - for me, after a while of reluctantly going along with greeting hugs (which where the norm in my social group), I stopped disliking them. Now I generally feel pretty neutral to them and will find myself initiating them without thinking about it in situations where that's what other people in my social group would do.

When it comes to dating, it sounds like you might do better with someone you can be upfront with and take it fairly slow so you can get comfortable with physical closeness with that person. I probably wouldn't want to have sex with someone I hadn't had some time to acclimatize to non-sexual affectionate touch with, maybe you're that kind of person too. But for me, hand-holding was probably the thing that took me the longest to get comfortable with/appreciate, so it's not necessarily the case that your ease of adjustment order will be platonic social touch<romantic touch (?)<sexual touch.

Do you think it might be helpful to you to practice some ways of saying no to unwanted touch so that you'll be more able to use them in the moment? I'm very good at very assertive refusals (aforementioned violent reflex is useful for that, and warning people about that also tends to make it very clear I will not welcome them touching me Wink ) but sometimes have trouble in situations where I want to shut down an incoming hug while still coming across as friendly and polite, so I find it useful to have some friendly ways to say "I don't want a hug" handy.
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3392
Reputation : 1672
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by jcorozza on Sat May 30, 2015 5:16 pm

Oh, I definitely relate. My family have never been super touchy-feely folks, and that has some what rubbed off on me. I was known for a while as the friend who didn't give hugs, and then the friend who would only hug for certain things (if I haven't seen the person for awhile, or they're going away, or they just got a job). I still find it a tad obnoxious to see those groups of (generally teenaged) girls who just constantly huge each other. Of course, this is because in that situation, I would be soooo uncomfortable). I now hug people more, but I'm never going to be that person who gets all gushy over it. And it's better with closer friends.

Now, oddly enough, I'm actually extremely affectionate in relationships. Granted, the first few dates for me tend to be physical contact-free, or involve a quick hug at best, but once the initial cuddling/snuggle session hurdle is over, it seems really natural and comfortable, though I'm still not a fan of excessive PDA. While I tend to move slowly when I date, I haven't found that being not much of a toucher in the rest of my life has meant that I would be the same in relationships,so it's possible that you might not be, either.

avatar
jcorozza

Posts : 453
Reputation : 185
Join date : 2015-03-08

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Andrew Corvero on Sat May 30, 2015 5:50 pm

I can definitely relate.

Italian culture is peculiar in this respect, since on one hand you're supposed to say goodbye to women you just met (and in some parts of Italy, to men you just met) by kissing them on their cheeks (which I never had any trouble doing, since I was raised this way) but on the other hand hugging isn't socially accepted outside of family, romantic partners and very close friends if you're a woman. Men in general are only supposed to hug their mothers, daughters, wives and romantic partners, or maybe their sisters if they're very little. A man who hugs another man, especially in public, is likely to attract some puzzled stares and a lot snickering.

When I moved to the United States for a year three years ago, hugs between men were something weird to me. I made a few friends who were very keen on "group hugs" which looked very weird to me and I felt very embarrassed and tended to shy away from hugs.

More than a few awkward moments ensued. One guy even told me I was "homophobic" for not giving in eagerly to group hugs with men until I explained him that I just wasn't used to it and that men don't hug each other in Italy.

_________________
"People don't just change who they are in an instant. It takes time, so you don't even know you're changing. Until one day you'll just a little bit different than you used to be and you can't even tell what the hell happened" (Rich Burlew)

"You shouldn't take advice from random strangers on the Internet too seriously" said the random stranger on the Internet.
avatar
Andrew Corvero

Posts : 184
Reputation : 136
Join date : 2015-04-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by The Wisp on Sat May 30, 2015 6:28 pm

I can totally relate. People just aren't very touchy-feely around where I live, and my family (extended and immediate) especially is not very touchy-feely at all. Couple that with social anxiety, and I feel very uncomfortable and even anxious around touch. Accidentally bumping into somebody besides immediate family makes me want to cringe. I find hugs (except with my mother) and even handshakes and pats on the back to be uncomfortable.

However, personally I do have a pretty strong desire to be touchy-feely with people of all genders I'm close to, in theory at least. I imagine the primary way I would want to express affection to a romantic partner is through touch (sexual and non-sexual). Also, I'd like to be able to express physical affection to close friends, possibly even more than just hello and good-bye hugs. The idea of a "cuddle party" with hypothetical friends in the future isn't an unappealing one.

However, I'm not sure how to initiate touch, or even to signal that I am open to it. I think I brought this up in another thread, but with my one friend he seemed to signal he was open to physical affection, but then has yet to do much of it with me. Of course, I fear that's because I fear I signaled discomfort the few times he pat me on the back or did a handshake. But, just because I'm uncomfortable doesn't mean I don't want it! I similarly think I'd probably be very uncomfortable initiating or reciprocating with the initial touching of a new sexual partner during the initial flirting stage.

I also wonder if physical touch outside of romantic or sexual relationships--hugs and handshakes with friends, more intense things like cuddle parties--will turn out for me to be like wild parties with lots of socializing and hooking up: fun to fantasize about, but uncomfortable and awkward at best, or anxiety-inducing, overwhelming, and unfun at worst, in reality.
avatar
The Wisp

Posts : 896
Reputation : 198
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Guest on Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:44 am

nearly_takuan wrote:Where I grew up, handshakes were way too formal a greeting to use in even relatively businesslike contexts. Graduation handshake? No, the principal gives you a hug.
Well... That's different. It's definitely all handshakes in Melbourne at least.

nearly_takuan wrote:Yet there is still a piece of myself that craves affection and perceives touch as the symbol of that. You could say that 「there is a huge contradiction in this case!」

...So, yeah. I relate.
Yes, this feeling is frustrating to the nth degree. I don't get the craving often, but I feel like when you set yourself up as someone that doesn't do physical contact or touch, it makes it that much harder to actually satiate the craving.

nearly_takuan wrote:...Frankly, that sounds really unpleasant to me, so at this time I have no intention of doing anything like this. But, maybe you have different feelings or a stronger will.
I agree, really. If only because it's forcing myself into to situations I normally wouldn't want to be in anyway. Using your examples, I'm not interested in dance, nor and I very fleet on my feet. And exercise is something I enjoy, but I enjoy it as a solitary activity that lets me mentally de-stress too.

I'm sure there are other options that are more palatable, but the general idea of touching requiring some kind of social activity I don't already do a lot of? Eurgh...

Enail wrote:When it comes to dating, it sounds like you might do better with someone you can be upfront with and take it fairly slow so you can get comfortable with physical closeness with that person. I probably wouldn't want to have sex with someone I hadn't had some time to acclimatize to non-sexual affectionate touch with, maybe you're that kind of person too. But for me, hand-holding was probably the thing that took me the longest to get comfortable with/appreciate, so it's not necessarily the case that your ease of adjustment order will be platonic social touch<romantic touch (?)<sexual touch.
In general I think I would need to talk relationships quite slowly - it takes me a long time to reach that platonic comfort level with people. It feels like there's a wall between that level and beyond that will take a lot of time to break down.

Never having had to do touch in any other way than platonic, you're right that it might not be as simple as platonic to romantic to sexual in comfort levels. It's not outside the realm of possibility that I could also reject sexual touch better since there is a better framework for doing so.

Enail wrote:Do you think it might be helpful to you to practice some ways of saying no to unwanted touch so that you'll be more able to use them in the moment? I'm very good at very assertive refusals (aforementioned violent reflex is useful for that, and warning people about that also tends to make it very clear I will not welcome them touching me  Wink ) but sometimes have trouble in situations where I want to shut down an incoming hug while still coming across as friendly and polite, so I find it useful to have some friendly ways to say "I don't want a hug" handy.
Very helpful - I have a strong flight reflex to touch I don't want. I think intimate touch I don't want could make me eject myself from a situation rather ungracefully and rudely. My greatest fear is that I lock up and don't remove myself from the situation. I struggle with perceiving my avoidant (...is avoidant not a word? Chrome's US dictionary doesn't like it hah) actions as polite or not as well - often I simply don't initiate things like goodbye kisses and make sure that it's not possible for them to through smart timing. That only gets you so far and out of but a subset of situations, however.

jcorozza wrote:Oh, I definitely relate.  My family have never been super touchy-feely folks, and that has some what rubbed off on me. I was known for a while as the friend who didn't give hugs, and then the friend who would only hug for certain things (if I haven't seen the person for awhile, or they're going away, or they just got a job).  I still find it a tad obnoxious to see those groups of (generally teenaged) girls who just constantly huge each other. Of course, this is because in that situation, I would be soooo uncomfortable).  I now hug people more, but I'm never going to be that person who gets all gushy over it.  And it's better with closer friends.
Oh boy, my sister recently started a job at a workplace that has a big touchy-feely culture (bridal sales, yay...) and she's the exact opposite of that kind of personality. She is more touch averse than I am. Obnoxious a word she used herself to describe the culture there, I believe, if only because she had to be a part of it.

jcorozza wrote:While I tend to move slowly when I date, I haven't found that being not much of a toucher in the rest of my life has meant that I would be the same in relationships,so it's possible that you might not be, either.
Certainly a reassuring thought!

Andrew Corvero wrote: When I moved to the United States for a year three years ago, hugs between men were something weird to me. I made a few friends who were very keen on "group hugs" which looked very weird to me and I felt very embarrassed and tended to shy away from hugs.
Interesting. Australia is similar to the US in this regard. I think. When I'm with fellow Celts, there's often lots of men being huggy. I don't believe that stops when you get to wider Australia, but it certainly does seem less common than my little subculture. I'm only mildly more comfortable hugging men than women, however. I think women generally being bigger initiators of physical contact where I live has made me worry that they might spring it on me. I dunno.

The Wisp wrote:I can totally relate. People just aren't very touchy-feely around where I live, and my family (extended and immediate) especially is not very touchy-feely at all. Couple that with social anxiety, and I feel very uncomfortable and even anxious around touch. Accidentally bumping into somebody besides immediate family makes me want to cringe. I find hugs (except with my mother) and even handshakes and pats on the back to be uncomfortable.

However, personally I do have a pretty strong desire to be touchy-feely with people of all genders I'm close to, in theory at least. I imagine the primary way I would want to express affection to a romantic partner is through touch (sexual and non-sexual). Also, I'd like to be able to express physical affection to close friends, possibly even more than just hello and good-bye hugs. The idea of a "cuddle party" with hypothetical friends in the future isn't an unappealing one.

However, I'm not sure how to initiate touch, or even to signal that I am open to it. I think I brought this up in another thread, but with my one friend he seemed to signal he was open to physical affection, but then has yet to do much of it with me. Of course, I fear that's because I fear I signaled discomfort the few times he pat me on the back or did a handshake. But, just because I'm uncomfortable doesn't mean I don't want it! I similarly think I'd probably be very uncomfortable initiating or reciprocating with the initial touching of a new sexual partner during the initial flirting stage.

I also wonder if physical touch outside of romantic or sexual relationships--hugs and handshakes with friends, more intense things like cuddle parties--will turn out for me to be like wild parties with lots of socializing and hooking up: fun to fantasize about, but uncomfortable and awkward at best, or anxiety-inducing, overwhelming, and unfun at worst, in reality.
All of this. Laughing Especially unexpected bumping into each other and the like. On public transport, if I'm stuck in the bus or train like a sardine in a can, I can feel the stress and strain building and building. I end up gritting my teeth so hard I get migraines.

Also, that bit about fantasy. I've often mulled over the thought that a lot of the things I wish I was doing or I think I would find fun end up being that way only because I'm imagining myself as someone who would be comfortable with it in the first place. In other words, the fantasy isn't the specific scenario but the conditions that would make that scenario appealing in the first place. If that makes any sense.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Caffeinated on Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:08 pm

MapWater wrote:Also, that bit about fantasy. I've often mulled over the thought that a lot of the things I wish I was doing or I think I would find fun end up being that way only because I'm imagining myself as someone who would be comfortable with it in the first place. In other words, the fantasy isn't the specific scenario but the conditions that would make that scenario appealing in the first place. If that makes any sense.

That sounds like it could be a useful kind of fantasy. It's like you're rehearsing in your mind how to find or make the conditions for yourself. Like a low-stakes practice session.
avatar
Caffeinated

Posts : 455
Reputation : 272
Join date : 2014-12-08

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [Disc / Adv] So, touching...

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum