Reach out and touch me.
May 13, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I have an overwhelming need to be touched. How do i get my fix? Better yet, screw the fix. Can I turn off the desire completely?

I live in the US. In the past when I've had this desire, I've gone out and gotten myself a fuck buddy. I've thrown in the towel on that (haven't got the mentality). Apart from that and a massage (which can get expensive) how do I get my fill of being touched? We're talking sensual, not sexual.

It's not sexual (probably another reason the FB thing didn't work). And it's hard to do to myself -- going nuts over fabric just makes the desire to be touched even sharper.

Help! Please!

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Some solutions...

1. Get a cat/dog
2. wear a fur coat inside-out
3. back-scratcher with a glove
posted by gadha at 9:01 AM on May 13, 2007

oh and 4. silk + cordrouy
posted by gadha at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2007

Hair styling at the salon.
posted by meerkatty at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well you mentioned sexual touching, but you should definitely look into cuddle parties to get your fix. Its supposed to NOT be erotically charged, but maybe it'll work for you?
posted by Eudaimonia at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

cuddle party. Host one if there isn't one near you.
posted by grumblebee at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2007

This may sound crazy, but have you considered vintage corsetry? A long corset can hold the body beautifully from the hips to the chest, it's a tactile experience with no compare, and the materials are often beautiful. There's a line from a classic French novel, I forget which, about a good corset being a "permanent embrace".

My wife is very fond of it, I hasten to add.
posted by WPW at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Mosh pit crowd surfing
posted by found missing at 9:16 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why not look for a massage-buddy? I'd imagine it could be a popular thing in some circles. Though, with singles involved, they might turn into FBs, with all the associated problems. Among the monogamously attached, jealousies could erupt... So many problems...
posted by DarkForest at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2007

Seconding the idea of a very cuddly dog, if you have the necessary time and resources to invest.
posted by availablelight at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2007

Big cats can exert the same cuddle-force F=c^2*w*f/s (where c=cuteness, w=weight, f=fluffiness, and s=smell) as dogs, and are a lot easier to take care of.

But for some people real human contact is what you need. This is what significant others were designed for. Get yourself a girlfriend, boyfriend, or both as needed.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

I second the cuddly dog. It's the best. Many dogs are not cuddly -- they like to be near you but not necessarily on your lap, so it might take some selection. Poodles may be more likely to be cuddly, but it's really an individual thing -- I have a super-cuddly mutt.
posted by walla at 9:33 AM on May 13, 2007

Oh, by the way that significant other is going to expect sex as well as cuddling. But that's okay, because it feels really good -- or at least, it should. If it doesn't, you might want to look into that as well.

Oh, and if you want to turn off the desire you can always turn into a dull, emotionless automaton, although this is a less than desireable way to live your life.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2007

A Boyfriend's Arm Pillow?
posted by WPW at 9:37 AM on May 13, 2007

Massageseems like the best solution for sensual touching. But, it's expensive. So, massage buddy sounds like a good idea. I think in life, in general, either (a) something is reciprocal or (b) you pay.
posted by londongeezer at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2007

Why not get a gf/bf? Significant others do a lot of touching. Plus a bonus! Sex!
posted by zia at 9:52 AM on May 13, 2007

Silk sheets.
posted by Verdandi at 10:12 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Manicure/pedicure. Go to a salon for a professional facial, beard trim, haircut, whatever. I used to work for a guy who had weekly manicures just because he liked the touching.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2007

Swing dancing. Works like a charm.
posted by heatherann at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Get regular massages.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:28 AM on May 13, 2007

I'll second the swing dancing.
posted by othersomethings at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2007

A few friends, pillows, some good music, and some E.
Or so they say.
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 10:34 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seconding the haircut/shampoo. Last shampoo I had was amazing.

I cuddle my pillows, too. (flannel)

Turning it off would probably require some professional help, if it's that much of a compulsive behavior.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:38 AM on May 13, 2007

Massages aren't that expensive if you go to a massage school.
posted by kindall at 11:23 AM on May 13, 2007

Swimming in warm water?
posted by jeanmari at 1:08 PM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Instead of a fuck buddy, why not spend that energy finding a real long-term relationship.

If thats really not an option try a fluffy dressing gown, a fake fur blanket or clean sheets on a big bed - especially if they're straight out of the dryer and onto a nice feather duvet.
posted by missmagenta at 2:56 PM on May 13, 2007

Since you specifically say "It's not sexual" and "We're talking sensual, not sexual" [words yours; emphasis mine], a no-strings sexual arrangement seems a poor way to address your need. I'm not making a moral assessment, just a practical one: if you don't want the sex, why use it just to get the simple touching you do want?

Forgive me, anonymous, if this seems obvious or simplistic: how about more frequent low-level physical contact with your friends and/or family?

Your question doesn't seem all that unusual to me. I can think of plenty of occasions when a friend or sibling turned to me and out of the blue said, "I really need a hug."

Then, y'know, I hugged 'em. Hugged 'em hard, because when you need a hug you need a hug! If you were a friend of mine and you asked for a neckrub or a backrub, I'd give you one. I wouldn't wonder "Gosh, is X's neck sore, or does s/he just need to be touched?"

A few years ago, I mentioned to my long-time stylist how relaxing it is when she combs and fluffs my hair, and we speculated that it's a deepseated primate need. Since then, she has always taken an extra minute or two during my haircut to run her fingers through my hair. It's so lovely --- non-sexual, but the sensation resonates as deeply as some sexual feelings.

Finally, if massages fill the need, can you find a source for inexpensive massages? Just a quick search for massage students reduced fees OR prices with a city name turns up lots of hits. Obviously, you'd have to weed through to find legitimate schools making offers, but it might be worth it for you.
posted by Elsa at 3:38 PM on May 13, 2007

Hmm. Two thoughts:

A friend of mine recently trained to become an aesthetician. She and her fellow students needed to spend a lot of time practicing, and her school met that need by selling low-cost facials and makeovers and whatnot to whoever was interested.

I mention this because I remember her mentioning that a few of their regular clients weren't interested in makeup or better skin — they were just touch-starved and needed a cheap way to get caring physical contact.

I think there might be massage schools that do the same thing — offer massages from students at a discount.

But if you can't afford to pay for it at all, yes, go for social dancing: if not swing then contra, latin, ballroom or whatever floats your boat.

If you want something easy to learn that will approximate the feeling of a good cuddle, learn to waltz — and keep your eye out for the waltz parties that some dance groups throw. Tango is harder to learn but also very touchy and stereotypically "sensual." Contact improv might also be good for you if there's a group that does it in your area: you'll spend a lot of time lifting, holding, carrying, leaning and balancing on other people, and the focus is on playfulness and spontaneity rather than "proper" form.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:06 PM on May 13, 2007

(On non-preview: What Elsa said about massage schools.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:07 PM on May 13, 2007

I don't think you can turn this off. Whoever made deliberately put it in there. It draws you towards people. I'd suggest working on anything and everything that might be getting in the way of the type of relationship where physical affection is a part of it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 PM on May 13, 2007

I think I just invented a new service industry.

This is basic humanity. You could probably withdraw from it emotionally but I think that would probably be bad for your brain in the long run. Expensive massages now or expensive therapy later? I've certainly found cats useful in this regard. The only long term solution, of course, is the Significant Other. No matter what I think touch pining is just one of the facts of being single, it certainly always was for me. It's been a long time, but as I recall it sucks.
posted by nanojath at 11:33 PM on May 13, 2007

There isn't an easy fix for this.

There are some good suggestions above for ways you can arrange to be touched: student massages, hair and body treatments, certain kinds of dancing or martial arts.

Between times: if it's cold outside, take a hot bath, curl up under heavy blankets. (In a similar vein, those lead aprons they drape over you for dental x-rays can be surprisingly comforting.) In the summer, climb a tree, roll down a grassy slope. Swim. If you're near an ocean, let the waves knock you over.

And if all else fails there's always Temple Grandin's hug machine.
posted by tangerine at 12:31 AM on May 14, 2007

OK, maybe it’s time I did something about this idea I have:

Elect me President and I’ll create a Federally Mandated requirement that every person on American soil receive a full-body massage once a week. The gub’mint will build and maintain local massage facilities, businesses of over 10 people will be required to create and staff a massage room, and all able-bodied 18-year-olds will be required to study massage for 6 months, then tour the country in the USMC (United States Massage Corp) for an additional 18 months. Massage-dodgers will be subject to increased massage requirements.

Care to join my Party?
posted by dpcoffin at 2:33 PM on May 14, 2007

This sounds silly, and I debated posting it, but it's worth a try: sleep naked. This is not (exclusively) about masturbation; I was surprised to find that plain old skin-on-skin contact feels good even when it's only mine.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:15 PM on May 14, 2007

As someone who spends at least an hour a day just hugging (and it isn't quite enough :( ) I totally get you.

Seconding the corset idea. Corsets feel like being hugged, all the time. I love them :)

Sleeping naked, or with sensual fabrics also helps a bit. And dancing (waltz, tango, latin) is great for getting more human contact.

Maybe hit up your friends for a hug or six? They are the defacto greeting/leaving guesture in my friendship group.
posted by ysabet at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2007

Pick carefully the person you ask; I had someone who was using me tell me that it was wrong and bad for me to say I needed to be held.
posted by brujita at 11:00 PM on May 14, 2007

There have many studies about the importance of touch and how touch-deprived Americans are.

Around where I live, some of the malls have Asian massage therapists where you can get a really good chair massage for $10-15. I believe this is spreading.

Perhaps you could also change your career to something like hairdressing, massage, caregiving etc.

Start bowling/golfing and pretend to be really bad at it. Soon people will physically come to your aid.

Sit on a crowded bus.

As far as what a relationship might do for you, I remember my last relationship, some of the worst fights my boyfriend and I had, we STILL had our arms around each other!

Oh well, that part was good, but we broke up anyway. Still friends tho...perhaps due to all the touching?
posted by serena15221 at 10:06 PM on May 17, 2007

Take a class in massage

Tango dancing

New York City subway rush hour 6 train downtown from 42nd St.

Don't let anybody make you feel bad about needing to be touched. It's a very basic human need -- the fact that you feel it means that you are a healthy, human person.
posted by jennyjenny at 10:40 AM on May 18, 2007

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