Everyone needs to be touched. Infants deprived of human touch will fail to thrive, sicken, and even die. Children instinctively seek out touch, and a failure to do so is considered a red flag for possible neurological problems or possible abuse. As we grow older, we tend to touch less. Seniors are the least touched group in our society.
Many adults rationalize that touch isn't important. If we didn't grow up in a family that touched each other, that is a justification for the lack of touch today. Touch can come to be associated exclusively with sexuality. After a time, we forget that we need to be touched now as much as we did as when we were young.
That happened to me, without even realizing it. I didn't grow up in a family that made physical contact. Kisses, hugs -- rarely expressing feelings at all much less those of love, but that's another story -- just didn't happen. How much that influenced a few wild periods in my "adult" years, I wouldn't even begin to speculate.
Interestingly, once I went on anti-depressants around age 30 and began to have a somewhat rational outlook on the world, I figured out that sex and love weren't the same thing, that that crazy roller coaster drama I thought was love really wasn't, and I started looking for a mate rather than a mating. Consequently, since I also don't have many good friends and none of them are touch people, my opportunities for physical contact sharply declined, first because I was getting my head together and then because I didn't feel like sleeping around anymore.
I split with my last boyfriend several years ago. I try to avoid rebound relationships or whatever euphemism you want to use, so I took a break from men that also coincided with a huge uptick in my professional life. Between putting my hormones on the back burner to give myself time to get over the last relationship and just not having any time whatsoever to even think about the opposite sex (or sex, period), a big chunk of time went by without me realizing how deeply I had buried everything. Not just the need to be touched, but to touch someone when they want you to touch them.
So when I recently had a bit of up close and personal time, it all came flooding back, nearly overwhelming me. Like a vital part of myself -- which really, it is -- had been completely gone and then put back. It's not even necessarily sexual, just a hunger for the contact of skin to skin.
That experience what part of what made me realize I not only wanted my sexy back but that I needed it. Mostly because I didn't even realize it was gone. I had forgotten that feeling of, I don't know, power over someone else who wants you. I wonder if a lot of people who, like me, don't feel attractive or desirable bury that need for touch. I vaguely remember times when I consciously put away that need, until it just became how it was. Again, it's a vital part of who we are as people. How did I lose that?
More importantly, how do I get it back? I want to feel beautiful and desirable again. Doing so is partly physical -- as in, losing weight, being more fit -- but a lot of it is mental, in the attitude. At least one person found me hot and sexy just the way I am. I'm trying hard to hold on to that feeling, to motivate me in other aspects of this journey.
In the meantime, I think I'll be signing up for monthly massages.