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I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
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Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
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Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
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Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
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Sensual Renaissance: The Rise of Affection and Touch


I was nine or ten when the nude print appeared in the bathroom at my dad’s house.  I remember staring at it after closing the door.  The central figure was a woman in pale pinks and blues— all soft curves and exposed pubic hair. My first thoughts were, Now Dad is into dirty stuff. What will my friends think? My dad’s gross? Mom will roll her eyes at this. 

Dying Affection

Perhaps my dad was going through a sexual renaissance after his divorce — much like I am now.

Let’s face it the last few years of a dying marriage are often not hot bastions of sexy sex or sensuality. Affection and touch are too warm and intimate for a tension filled relationship.  Negative tension is a steel blade slicing away at any possibility of soft connection. You either dread or miss the touch of your partner.

Guard Down/Energy Up

As an introvert, I find conflict very stimulating and not in the good way. Introspectives have to be careful not to let external stimulation hijack their inner balance. The inner workings of an introvert’s brain are very busy.  Studies show that introvert’s brains are more active than extrovert’s. Inner stimulation added to intense outer stimulation leads to overload and eventually a deep need for solitude. Defensiveness and competition in a relationship steal energy from the place where genuine love and affection originate.  Instead of reaching out and caring for your partner, you are forced to use energy to keep your guard up.

This makes for bad sex and limited openness.

Since I have been able to choose partners who give me a sense of freedom and genuine warmth, I have a desire and the energy to love them physically.  Granted, dating in blackandwhitecouplespooninggeneral is novel and exciting for me at this point.  I am energized by the possibilities and exploration. But I still maintain the main reasons for my surge in outward affection toward my partner are feelings of equality, a lack of one-upping and conflict, and a natural ease around each other.  I don’t have to use energy to keep up or maintain the appearance of happiness.  I’m allowed to breathe and be, which allows for true love to arise from inside and flow outwardly.

Listening and Physical Affection: Same Effect

Like listening, physical affection nourishes the spirit. When was the last time someone deeply listened to you? When was the last time someone offered you genuine physical affection and caring? How did you feel after each?

I used to put less value on physical connection than I did on mental or spiritual connection. Now I see them all as key aspects of a thriving relationship.  Perhaps previously I tried to downgrade physical affection’s significance because it was difficult for me to give in that way.  I was worn out and had no energy for holding, caressing or dancing in the kitchen. I hoped my partner would not ask for more than I could give, but he always did.  I now have a better understanding of the light that I was withholding from him.

I wanted to be heard.  He wanted to be touched. Listening and affection, sacred offerings.

Open to Openness 

Years later I recognize that the nude picture in my dad’s loo was tasteful.  Why I originally nude-on-bedsaw it as dirty and embarrassing I’m not sure.  What makes us prudes first and openly available almost never?

Sexuality can be beautiful. Touching is necessary for infants to thrive. Vulnerable nakedness is us in our simplest state.  Allow yourself to let down your guard and glow under someone else’s fingertips. Allow yourself to enhance the quality of someone else’s existence by spreading warmth with your touch.

How do you feel about physical affection today? Has the desire for touch ebbed and flowed in your life? If so, why? If not, why?

If you enjoyed Sensual Renaissance… then you may also love:

Introvert Relationships: Love Me or Leave Me but Please Don’t Need Me (Too Much) – space2live

3 Elements of Exquisite Sex and Divine Writing (space2live)

It’s Never Too Late to Experience Mind Blowing Passion (space2live)

Sensuality in the Suburbs: Redefining the Norm (space2live)

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  1. Cynthia July 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    I’ve been thinking about what made a glorious relationship, with an extrovert at that, so good. We were opposites in many ways, and equals in others. The balance struck though was incredible. So I listed what is recalled (he passed away) as the strongest points.

    My experiences or feelings were very rarely hijacked. If anything, he would trust me to tend my own self, or sit quietly with discomforts with me. He would point out my strengths if I exposed a fear or frustration, nurturing me with which to bolster me. It was the most ego-less nurture I’d ever experienced. He didn’t try and foster dependence, he genuinely felt my independence *and* choosing him and loving him was the ideal. He said once he wanted the strongest me of my own accord to simply choose him day in and day out, that was the best gift of all and what he felt was consummate love.

    He was sensitive and encouraging to my introvert nature, instead of competing with it. He simply had comfort and trust my love was unfaltering and growing that way, and didn’t think my needs were selfish, but he wanted the best me too and saw autonomy as a part of that. Autonomy and intimacy was in good balance. I would stretch out and experience his world more openly accordingly, because I could withstand that stimuli based on the balance was so well nurtured.

    He developed connection ways against some obstacles we had, brilliant conduits not around – but through, issues, not the symptoms, but their roots. He tended them in an almost savant style. He was a ninja of nurture. He said the same of me.

    He challenged me in every way, in a invitational style, inviting me to see or experience things anew. He would call me out on things (which I like in that approach style), but in an unwaveringly loving and supporting way. His exceptional intelligence aroused a lot of deep and complex sharing in a concise form, which was catnip galore to me. Lots of data, tiny amount of stimuli. Efficiency was exquisite.

    He brought out the best in me, and celebrated it. And I did him. We both had great patience towards growth and celebrating nuance more than landmarks. It’s as if we reveled in minutia.

    He would want to linger in getting to understand something, answered questions were met with deeper questions, not his turn to speak until I asked. I never felt like I had to compete or work hard to be heard, and neither did he. We had an amazing efficiency in communication and supportiveness.

    I had a soul mate. Someone who intuitively, or through patient learning and respect, was symbiotic even though remarkably different in temperament. I must say, I am the luckiest woman in the world for every having that.

    • Brenda Knowles July 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm - Reply

      Wow, I am in awe of your beautiful relationship. May we all be so fortunate. I have met a few people with remarkable relationships like that. I always love to hear what made it work, what made it extraordinary. Thank you so much for sharing. I do believe introverts respond well to nurturing and encouragement. It’s permission to let our insides, out. Having to compete to express yourself is awful. I know.
      It sounds like mutual respect played a big part in your success. Again, thank you for sharing Cynthia. Very moving.

    • Cynthia July 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      I forgot the touch part. It was the realm I was most atrophied in initially. Based on all the other strengths, and the safety and vulnerability the connection afforded cerebral and emotionally, I slowly grew and developed under his nurture and patience. What culminated was such a pavlovian deep intimacy that a mere touch could generate an immense neurochemistry of soothing or arousal (context) that was profound. That I would seek the stimuli of his touch as a grounding mechanism rather than avoid it, that his touch because a solace point rather than a stimuli I needed to make balance with. I think, because I was so free to be myself, I almost was less of an introvert because I could be such an introvert openly. The ‘us’ became stronger and more preferred, I had that same sense of openness and sanctity to him as I did within myself. That’s the best way I can frame the dynamics of how what a imperfect soulmate does for an imperfect introvert when things align or are nurtured to align so well. We weren’t perfect, but we truly were perfect for each other.

      • Brenda Knowles July 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

        The physical part was heavenly too!?! My dear you were truly blessed. I’m learning from you. Thanks for describing so well what made your relationship work so beautifully.

      • Cynthia July 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

        It took so so so much time to develop. It ‘sounds’ easy, it wasn’t, an array of obstacles were availed on both our parts. It took touch a year to even get any stride, 3 years to become a refuge of sorts that naturally afforded the give and take of that energy balance. I don’t expect to ever find anything like that again, but that’s ok. To have experienced it resonates in a way that fulfills some too. I just hope the sharing it it, it’s characteristics, nurtures others experiencing finding their balances too. It all bases from respect and good communication indeed, we had efficiency in nurture too that really heightened it (made it feel less laborious). Synergy is a beautiful thing.

  2. […] Sensual Renaissance: The Rise of Affection and Touch (space2live) […]

  3. Athena May 12, 2013 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I’m not touchy-feely. So I have never needed touch. I’m strictly hands-off and that’s fine. It bothers other people, but I don’t care. To touch me is to invade my personal space, and that is an absolute no-no.

    • brennagee May 12, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

      I used to be less touchy-feely. Now that I surround myself with warm, non-judgmental people I enjoy physical touch more. I hear your words though. I believe you don’t need that kind of connection. How do you like to connect with others? Verbally? Through writing? Common experiences?

      Thanks for sharing your perspective Athena.:)

  4. Sarah T March 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Touch is one of my top Love Languages. As a divorced introvert, I do not get many chances to engage in the comforting physical touch I crave (I do not date). The only thing that keeps me from being institutionalized is tango. I take tango lessons several times a week and that gives me just enough physical contact to stay sane.

    Without the tango, the craving for physical contact leads me into hazardous relationships with people who drain me dry. For me, it’s “dance or die”. But I would dearly love a close companion with whom I could exchange comforting touch — however, that does not seem to be in the cards for me at this time.

    • brennagee March 6, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Tango is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in sensuality and touch. I can hear the music and visualize right now. Big props to you for finding this outlet for physical contact. Touch is #3 on my Love Language rankings. I get a lot of hugs and contact from my 3 children but physical touch with a partner is different and especially lovely if their need for it doesn’t overpower me or my need for space. I do get drained if physical affection becomes sex only and not part of the relationship dance. Comforting touch is a beautiful thing. I hope you find a partner who knows that.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love your tango solution. Creative and cool at the same time. Go you!

  5. idebenone January 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    @SABOTEUR I think physical affection is vital to our health. I think there are studies showing that people who aren’t touched enough, die earlier. Affection has many benefits, I’m sure. So I don’t think you should have to do without. I guess I think it is grounds for divorce if it is as extreme as that. I think it is the road to divorce if it is implemented later on in the relationship.

  6. Louise January 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I miss my husband more the moment I read this post.

    • brennagee January 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Awww. Was there a part that reminded you of him? People make up so much of our memories. I hope my writing brought back some good warm thoughts. You will always have those.

  7. sheketechad January 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    My best friend (she’s an intro also) referred me to your blog and I must say your writing is so spot on. I too, latched on to the words Doug did. I’m learning so much, and your writing is part of the path of my own self-discovery. I haven’t been able to write for some time, since just after my husband’s death – but you are giving me the strength to reconsider once more. Thank you for sharing.

    • brennagee January 7, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

      Writing is my path to self-discovery. I love to write to see what’s going on in my heart.;) You might try starting with some intuitive writing – giving yourself a prompt like, “What I learned about myself is…” or “What I love is…” and then just write for ten or fifteen minutes without stopping, don’t take the pen off the page or your fingers off the keyboard. Don’t edit at all. I found this exercise very therapeutic and it is what got me started with more organized writing. It’s also wonderful to do intuitive writing with significant friends. You can read your writing to each other if you feel comfortable.

      Thank you, thank you for your very kind comment. It is incredibly rewarding to hear that my words resonate with someone. I hope you return to writing.

  8. Doug Toft January 6, 2013 at 11:28 am - Reply

    “I wanted to be heard. He wanted to be touched. Listening and affection, sacred offerings.” I’m going to linger over those words.

    • brennagee January 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      I think those are the most truthful lines in this post. Good eye Doug.

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