Introverts crave interactions of meaning and depth. Such connecting fills us up and depletes us less. Could physical touch be as fulfilling and meaningful as verbal caressing? Is connecting through touch comparable to emotional intimacy? Is physical contact more or less draining than verbal communication?

Much like learning a new language, I’m deciphering the nuances and unspoken words of physical affection. I’m paying attention to its cadence, its message, its energy and how it feels as it brushes across my lips and dances with my body.

In the past, I saw words and actions as primary paths for communication and affirmation. Conversation and acts of service are admittedly my first languages. Their familiar grooves still long to be traced but my vocabulary is expanding. I feel I could be trilingual if allowed to practice and master physical touch in a safe space with a willing teacher.

Collecting Nurturing Touch as a Child

As a child, my tender psyche noted and collected nurturing touch.Mother kissing her daughter tonight

The physical affection of my childhood:

1. The consistent ritual of kissing parents goodnight.

2. The indelible comfort of being wrapped in Grandma’s soft arms and bosom.

3. The affirming feel of Grandpa’s stubby and strong fingers deeply massaging my bony shoulders.

4. The overwhelming relief when Grandma rubbed my back when I couldn’t sleep.

5. The cherished warmth and safety of having my head on Dad’s chest as he read his Speedsport magazine.

My mom showed her affection more through caregiving and verbal encouragement. Mom was always there for us. A steadfast supporter, but a reluctant hugger. That’s changed. She now gives hugs more freely.

Safe, consistent touch = good but missing something

The physical connection with my husband provided safety, security and consistency but I think we would both agree it lacked spark and sensuality. Sure, we danced in the kitchen a little, pat each other on the bum occasionally, but we played it conservative and emotionally detached most of the time. I remember watching with envy as my brother-in-law and sister-in-law kissed passionately during their wedding ceremony. My husband and I did a traditional closed-mouth kiss at ours— playing it down for the crowd rather than amping it up for ourselves.

We went with proper rather than throwing color into our language.

Years later, when we did try to amp up our physical connection, my energy tank was empty after spending all day with three children. The emotional intimacy piece still waned and tension made touch over-stimulating rather than arousing.

Enter Sensuality

Since my divorce, I’ve been more open to learning a new language. A romance language of sorts. 873b1543e64f6881ab2e7b5fe66ea2deI’ve learned to speak more freely with my body. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about sensuality. Enjoying pleasure through touch. Communicating through contact.The most melodic language never spoken

I’ve found kissing for hours to be akin to meditation. It is presence. It gets me out of my head and into our bodies. Rhythm, mirroring and spontaneity converge to speak in sync. Our movements echo each other but also veer and voice their own intentions. The voice within the pressing of bodies says the unsaid. Our hearing peaks and listening is effortless. It’s heavenly to be heard without having to say anything.

Physical connecting with a  partner grounds me. For a time, it stops my future-oriented mind from worrying forward. It places me sensually in the now. My only focuses — touching and being touched. It’s spectacular and leaves me speechless in the best way.

Is touch enough?

My relationship with physical touch as a child was all about warmth, comfort, support and tenderness.

I’ve been looking for that ever since, but nurturing touch isn’t enough anymore. I now know the bliss of sensuality. The power of pleasing the senses with slow touch and feather-light kisses. I can’t go back to pre-sensuous.

As an introvert, everything is better when my energy tank is full. Sleep and solitude provide delicious foreplay to physical affection and just about everything else.

I have been filled up by hot and sweet dancing. I have felt the high of a superior make-out session. I have been depleted by too much physical play and not enough emotional connection.

There may be a day when physical connection completely satisfies my need for intimacy. For now, if you kiss hermindI still crave verbal affirmation. It stimulates my left brain with its language prowess. It lights up my mind and opens my body to new possibilities. I’ve never been closer to feeling comforted and satisfied with physical touch alone, than I am today. Touch my face and I feel tenderness. Kiss my forehead and I feel deep warmth. Dance with me and I’m energized. But…

I still get the biggest buzz from emotional intimacy primed with meaningful conversation.

I believe many men speak touch more fluently than verbal expression. I’m willing to take lessons in this love language but I have to feel safe with the teacher. I need to speak with them in my native language —validating, idea-generating, words— first.

How do you feel about physical affection? Does it energize you? Is it too much stimulation?

If this piece resonated or affected you in a meaningful way, I would truly appreciate it if you would share it with others who may benefit. Thank you!!

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