Touch is an incredibly powerful sensation.
It is sensual, intimate, and essential for life.
Over 40 years of research point to the importance of affection in newborn and childhood development. We are hard-wired to crave physical touch, but all too often this is minimized in a relationship.
As important as touch is, couples tend to assume that if they hug, kiss, and make love, then they have experienced loving affection. But there is so much more to the magic of touch than that basic menu of options.
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Five creative tips for lovingly touching your partner in a fresh way
1) Trace your fingers lightly across often-neglected body parts
One of the interesting things about the sensation of touch is how quickly we can become desensitized to a familiar feeling. This helps us to cope with pain, but also heightens our enjoyment when new areas of skin receive attention.
Parts of the body that are often neglected:
- backs of the knees
- bottoms of the feet
- ear lobes
Caress each area lightly with long, feathery strokes. Swirl your fingers around the area, tracing the outline of the area and any internal contours that you find.
2) Alternate intensity, tempo, and type of touch
Because we become desensitized to familiar touches, it is also important to rotate through a range of touching styles.
Mixing up your touch style
- change the intensity (hard vs soft touch)
- alter the tempo (slow vs quick touch)
- switch the type (caressing, scratching, rubbing to create friction / heat, massaging to release muscles)
- adjust the rhythm (the pattern for touch and the timing for when and how you adjust the touch)
As soon as you perceive that one touch style is beginning to plateau, adjust one or more elements of the touch to keep your partner’s skin ‘guessing’.
3) Try touching with different parts of your body
While we tend to think of hands / fingers as the natural body part for initiating touch, you don’t have to be that one-dimensional in your affection adventure.
Change what you touch with
- kiss the skin
- use your lips to caress the skin (trace your lips across the skin, much like you did early with your fingers)
- use your tongue to lick particularly sensitive body parts (ears, neck, fingers, inside of the thigh, etc.)
- if you have long hair, drag it across your partner’s skin to give them a completely different sensation
- incorporate your breath to gently blow air across the skin
- lightly scrape your teeth across the skin, perhaps a gentle nibble, or even a playful bite
4) Pay special attention to parts of the body that are highly sensitive
Some areas of the body have more nerve endings and are more sensitive to experience the sensation of touch.
Parts of the body which are more receptive to touch
- Fingers: Trace the outside of your spouse’s fingers lightly. Scrape your nails lightly across the pads of the finger.
- Palm: Caress, scratch, and massage the palm of the hand.
- Lips: Gently trace your fingers along your mate’s lips. Lick your partner’s lips as if chocolate were on them.
- Face: Use the pads of your fingers to lightly caress every inch of your partner’s face (eyelids, forehead, cheek, chin, etc.)
5) Take your time
Most of all, don’t get in a hurry. Carve out time to explore your soul mate’s body. Sometimes touch is confused with foreplay and the assumption is that we need to progress the experience toward love-making. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Affection builds intimacy which can lead to sex, but the two should not be unnecessarily linked.
Touch is such a powerful experience and I encourage you to explore it with your mate. Learn what he or she really responds to and try to keep the skin ‘guessing’. Vary the tempo, the rhythm, the style, and the areas of the body.
Above all, remember that it is more about the journey than it is about the destination.
Kyle Gabhart is a blogger, public speaker, entrepreneur, and author of the up-coming book The Phoenix Marriage. He and his wife Tammy, founded “Equip Your Marriage” (www.equipyourmarriage.com), a faith-based ministry dedicated to empowering, equipping, and restoring marriages. Kyle is an avid soccer player and board game enthusiast, but he prides himself on being a constant embarrassment to his six children.