Synopsis: Ways of uncommonly growing your variety and skills for sending and receiving love by way of touch, starting with the most common ways of doing tactical love is well addressed in this mini-love-lesson.
Different! – Better! – More!Are you good at love touching? Is your variety of differing ways to touch, with and for love, rich and varied? (see “50 Varieties of Love Touch”) Are your ways of showing love by touch getting better, becoming more impactful and more diverse? How are you doing at getting yourself lovingly touched? Are you good, and getting better, at receiving, soaking up and savoring the touch from those who love you? If you want to be touched differently, do you ask for it clearly and with love? (see “Asking For What You Want -- With Love”) Do you know how those you love want to be touched by you? Has it changed? Finally, how much do you know about the getting and giving of love through touch and what that can achieve in physical, psychological and relational health? (see “Love Hugs for Health and Happiness”)
Five Basic Ways of Doing Touch Love – Maybe BetterLet’s consider five of the most common and popular ways people touch, with and for love, for connecting and the sharing, giving and getting healthy, real love. Let’s also consider doing these five ways a bit better, even if you do them quite well.
Think about handholding which is – tender and caring – or solid and reassuring – or comforting and friendly – or playful and happy. Now think about the differences in hand pressure and the hand motions during handholding which can help make each of those mood states happen. And let’s think about your two hands lovingly holding one hand of someone you love, then lovingly holding both their hands simultaneously. What might be the differences in love effects between those two ways of holding hands? Is the love impact or intensity of emotions different? How are those two ways different than only one of your hands holding just one hand of a loved one? What could be the different emotions that might occur, or be conveyed and/or shared with each different way of holding hands?
Let’s add thinking about holding hands while walking, sitting side-by-side, across a table and laying side-by-side. Which of those is best for you for being able to show your love through handholding touch? Imagine holding one hand with one of your hands while your other hand moves one finger slowly across the back of his or her hand, then between their fingers , then touching palm to palm and lastly, the back of your hand touching the back of theirs lightly. What effect might each of those actions have?
How good are you at return touching when loving hands touch you? (see “Touching Back – A Surprisingly Important Love Skill”) What would that be like, or has it been like if you already have done hand touching like that? Is this little handholding and touching variety sequence appealing to you and/or to your beloved?
With whomever you hold hands with, do you talk about it? Do you explore and experiment for new and more pleasurable ways to add to what might be called your handholding menu or repertoire?
With all these thoughts in mind, are you going to do something that might add to your future handholding with and for love?
2. Face Touching
Fantasize about softly cupping your hands around the cheeks of a loved one as you look lovingly into their eyes, creating a special moment of special love. Imagine gently stroking their eyebrows with one finger and then running fingers along the outline of their lips and other facial features. Suppose, ever so tenderly, patting one cheek with the palm of your hand and then, ever so much more gently, running a fingertip over their closed eyelids. Add soft kissing to their brow, earlobes, cheeks and then finally their lips. Now, imagine beginning to playfully twirl locks of their hair followed by pulling your loved ones head to your chest with their face being softly snuggled there. Lastly, in your mind’s, eye see your loved one’s cheek resting peacefully on your inner thigh as you both lay together in bed.
As you imagine these things, what are your feelings and your thoughts about doing more and different face touching love?
3. Back Rubbing.
Rubbing somebody’s back can be done for a variety of reasons. There is rubbing for only pain and tension relief, obligatory rubbing because you owe them one, therapeutic rubbing for health and, of course, as a seduction lead in. Then there is a back rub done primarily to show and share love. Is that back rub different from those other back rubs? Interestingly, there is research that says, yes it is. Preliminary and pilot studies revealed that when people who love each other lovingly touch, back rubs included, there are measurable neuroelectric and neurochemical differences occurring in their brains and nervous systems, as compared to mere acquaintances doing similar touching. These differences are healthful and can result in emotions sometimes described as feeling cherished, special, safer, closer, more serene and more loved.
People vary greatly in how they like their backs rubbed. Unfortunately people who grew up seldom being lovingly touched tend to be more aware of what they do not like concerning back rubs and also other kinds of touch. There are those who grew up with only hard and tough touches who, at first, find softer touch strange, irritating or otherwise disagreeable. Then there are those for whom all touch is interpreted as sexual. For them, nonsexual back rubs frequently are confusing, annoying and/or frustrating. Almost everybody who works at it, possibly with the help of a good massage therapist, can come to find back rubs to be a very pleasurable and often a loving experience. That is because the back has a wide scattering of nerve endings for pleasurable sensations.
What is important is to repeatedly experiment to discover what you naturally like, and then ask for it rather than just staying silent, complaining or dodging the issue. Also important is working at being a good giver of the gift of love reception responses. Appreciatively saying things like “that feels so good” and “thank you so much” are examples of good, love reception responses. Discovering what a loving back caress really feels like, and how receiving it well gives pleasure to the person giving you one, may double your pleasure and be well worth the effort.
Remember, with healthy self-love you can ask for the way you are being touched to change from what you like less to what you may like more. This is a loving thing to do because it helps those who love you to know you and to know what you want better. Lovingly asking for a touch that is harder or softer, faster or slower, moving to the right or left, up or down, or expressing what is just right is usually all you need. Those nine requests can usually get you touched pretty much just right.
The way you want to have a back rub may be very different from the way someone you love wants one. This actually goes for all touch. It also may change from time to time. The loving thing to do is to stay current by asking, every so often, how does your loved one want their back to be rubbed today. Adding experiments in back scratching, caresses using different materials like velvet and silk, feathers, warm rounded light weight river rocks, and the like, also can make the back rubbing experience a very special, loving experience. Sometimes the simple act of relieving tension by rubbing neck, shoulders, etc. also can be a quite nice loving thing to do.
4. Foot rubbing
Some researchers studying what successful couples do, were surprised to find foot rubs were mentioned much more often than they had expected. Couples stated things like they felt lovingly treated when lying on a couch or bed watching TV when their spouse would begin to rub their feet and both felt closer and more lovingly connected.
Like the hands, the feet have a lot of nerve endings for sensual and other tactile pleasures. This offers a lot of opportunities for creating positive feelings, both physical and emotional. Gentle toe pulling and squeezing, varying pressure on soles, heels and arches, top of the foot caressing, and so forth, adds to the experience. Some couples include soft towels, fuzzy cloths and special devices made for foot massage. The use of scented massage oils, skin creams, pumice stones, honey dust and body powders all can be employed to convey special love during foot rubs. Then too, just a simple relaxed foot caressing at the end of a hard day’s work also can be quite a love-conveying action.
5. Love Hugging
Is hugging the most wonderful way to do touch love? Is hugging the way that conveys love most quickly and fully in all kinds of love relationships? Are love hugs the most accurate way for conveying the widest array of the many emotions that come with love?
Many, when asked to think seriously about the above questions, gave a resounding YES as the right answer to each of those queries and others like them. There also is a growing body of scientific findings that tend to support those affirmative replies about hugging. In some studies, the ways people hug, cuddle and snuggle have been found to more effectively and more accurately convey a wide array of emotions having to do with love better than words or facial expressions. Link “Cuddling for Greater Love and Better Sex -- A Love Skill” Think of hugs that bring and share acceptance, joy, reassurance, emotional closeness, celebration, sense of being cherished, pride, comfort and safety, playful fun, empathy, sexiness, serene togetherness, healing, belonging, union and reunion.
Does the feeling shape the way the hug is done, or the other way around? Probably it is a circular system where it is both. What is important is that two or more people involved in the hug, and who have love for each other, share the feeling as they share the hug. Family and deeper friendship group hugs, as well as loving couple hugs, seem to share this mutuality of similar emotions but not quite as strongly as do couples.
Love Touch for All Relationships of Love – Save One.Bio-physically everybody can benefit from touches that convey healthy, real love. That is because a touch of love naturally and healthfully stimulates a bundle of beneficial brain reactions. They, in turn, make your immunity mechanisms work better, normalize blood pressure, reduce tension and stress, reduce depression and anxiety, improve circulation and maybe best of all increase the feeling of love connection with others. Love touching, including hugs of friends, family, young and old, mates, kids and even yourself can be a very good thing. Opening up to touch, and especially hugs which are tender, sweet, zestful, intimate, lively, bold and all the rest can be incredibly life-enriching for ever so many.
There is one big exception. Sadly, there are a lot of people who are trained and/or conditioned by their cultures, religions, families or bad experiences to fear and avoid most touch experiences, even though they might be quite love expressive. A great deal of that avoidance has to do with a fear of something sexual occurring. Many who have this training and/or conditioning get over it with the intervention of some good psychotherapy and are then very grateful for it.
Going on to Ever Better Tactile LoveTactile, or touch love, is thought to be our first, most basic and perhaps most important way of giving, getting and sharing love. More is being discovered about how healthful loving touch is and how it works by university and medical school researchers every year. You can do your own discovering, as you are doing right now by reading, followed by your own personal experimenting. You also can learn a lot from getting various kinds of massage, perhaps especially Esalen massage, by taking massage courses and by being much more mindful concerning the getting, giving and sharing of love by way of touch.
One More Little ThingHow would you like to go right now and give somebody a loving touch, caress, pat or some other touch gift, and maybe tell them about this mini-love-lesson and this website about love?
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Love Success Question: When love-touched, do you make sure to feel the touch with your mind’s awareness and, therefore, more fully experience the love, or is your mind off somewhere else, a bit out of touch?