People talk about ‘erogenous zones’ but not everyone likes to be touched in the same places in the same way all the time.
They make this look really simple on screen. In TV, films and porn no-one has to talk about where they do and don’t like to be touched, this is because a) they are telepathic and b) it seems like everyone likes being touched in the same place. This is not true in real life. People say that there are ‘erogenous zones’ where everyone likes to be touched, but it’s not true.
In real life some people like to be touched in certain places, others don’t. Some people like to be touched in some places at certain times and at other times not. Some people need to know someone really well before they have certain kinds of touch, other people are different.
So I think it’s really important that if we are going to have sexual touching with someone else that
a) we think about where we do and don’t like to be touched and
b) we think about how we are going to communicate this to someone else.
Homework – your body map
Something you could try doing is drawing an outline picture of your body and then ticking and crossing where you do and don’t like to be touched. You could draw yourself with or without clothes on (or both). You could draw yourself front and back.
Or if you don’t want to get your felt tips out you could explore your body by yourself and work out what kind of touch you like – you could say to yourself “I like my kneecaps to be touched” for instance (though probably best to do this in private, not on the bus).
You could take this a bit further. As well as ticks and crosses you could put question marks, or add notes about when and where you would like this, about how things might be different if you had all your clothes on or off, how you might feel in different kinds of relationships.
How to communicate this?
Next: how are you are going to communicate this to the person you might want to touch you?This is something which some people find easier than others.
Some people are cool with talking about this in advance, like: “right, I like to be touched here, here, here, here, here and here. Touch me here and I’ll scream. Tickle me and you’re dead.” They either do this in person or by text or email (yes sexting isn’t all bad). Some people find that this is easier the more they practise and the more comfortable they are feeling with the language they are using.
Others like to wait until touching starts and are more like: “um this is nice but could you move your hand here,” or “I really liked it when you are touching me here.”
Others prefer to use non-verbal communication, moving someone’s hand to where they like for instance. Or picking up on their partner’s “mmmmmm” noises. We can often tell from looking at someone’s face and into their eyes whether they are happy and enjoying a particular kind of touch. Some people like to do all of this. More about this here.
Why this is important
It can be difficult to really work out what we want and even more difficult to work out how to ask for it – particularly if we feel rejected, unconfident, not hot, not enough. But the saying “if you don’t ask you don’t get” is true. And even if we ask and don’t get, we are giving ourselves some love/power/strength/clout/big-ups by asking.
It’s totally up to you where you like and don’t like to be touched – just because other people like to be touched in a particular area doesn’t mean you have to. If someone insists on touching you somewhere you don’t like being touched (and you’ve made this clear to them), is this person respecting you and your needs?
Here’s a great clip from friends about this (I don’t agree that there are 7 basic erogenous zones)
Check this advice from Dr Marty Klein, who is a renowned sex therapist about communicating wants and needs. I like the idea of having a safeword.
© Justin Hancock 2015