Touch: Questions and Answers
Q: I don’t want to touch people I don’t know. Isn’t it weird to touch strangers?
A: Everyday people use friendly touch with people we don’t know. We shake hands, touch someone’s arm and give pats on the back. Friendly caring and supportive touch establishes trust and strengthens our connections with men.
Q: What if I don’t want to be touched in certain areas?
A: At Heart2Heart Touch we have choices of how and where we are touched. Touch activities include instructions on how to give feedback, controlling how softly, firmly, slowly or tenderly we want to be touched. Safety and earned trust are essential to feel comfortable and to enjoy caring touch. Respecting our own boundaries and honoring others’, we give and receive touch that is reassuring and nourishing.
Q: Non-Sexual touch sounds boring. Why would I want to touch in non-sexual ways?
A: As men we have been taught by societal influences and gender roles that when we touch we want to have sex. If we ignore our need for non-sexual touch we experience feelings of touch deprivation. We can easily miss the pleasing sensations like the brush of a gentle hand on our face, the relaxing experience of a shoulder rub or the caring feeling of being held in someone’s arms. Caring touch can convey empathy, playfulness, affection, tenderness, acknowledgement and feelings of brotherhood.
Q: Why would I want to be touched if it doesn’t lead to sex?
A: We are a goal-oriented society believing that touch leads to sex, and eventually, sexual release. We frequently are ready to “get on with it” or “move to the next level” whenever we have physical contact. Some men live their lives with the philosophy of “Get in, Get off, and Get out.” When we push or jump to a future goal we miss the subtle rich pleasures of the moment.
Q: Doesn’t touch without sex lead only to sexual frustration?
A: When we exchange caring touch, we share energies from our heart and create connections with men. Eastern cultures views sharing of energy, our Chi, as a way of promoting self health, growth and movement toward wholeness. When touch is combined with openness and energy, we don’t suffer sexual frustration, we feel relaxed, connected and energized.
Q: What if I get turned on at Heart2Heart Experience?
A: As a gay or bisexual man, when a man touches us we get an erection. During workshop introductions, I tell the participants if you get an erection, don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, you will not be judged. Enjoy being turned on, appreciate the feeling and just let your manhood just be. It’s important to recognize our sexual feelings and consciously make a choice deciding when and where to act or not act upon them. Heart2Heart Touch is a non-sexual touch space. Kissing or sexual behavior is not permitted. We acknowledge our erotic feelings and just let them be, we do not act upon our sexual feelings. With guided instructions the men will explore touch with their hands, arms, chest, shoulders, face, head or back. Men are expected to be respectful of other men and responsible in honoring the Heart2Heart Touch Guidelines.
Q: In my past I was touched in an inappropriate and abusive way. How do I know I will be safe in at Heart2Heart Touch Experience?
A: In facilitated activities, fully clothed participants are instructed to honor their personal boundaries using words to express their choice of how and where they are touched. Safety and earned trust are essential to feel comfortable and to enjoy caring touch. Heart2Heart’s non-sexual touch guidelines are established so we feel relaxed, at choice, and comfortable with the process. Within guidelines we always have choice, deciding how and where we are touched.