Touch Me (Not)


Laughing together

is as close as you can get

to a hug without touching.

Gina Barreca



Among the happy citizens of our brave new world is my darling husband who no longer needs to mask his jealousies with admonitions like “No hugging, No kissing” now that this has become the social norm with friends and neighbors. He can sleep fitfully knowing there are no tango, hustle, or salsa dance parties beckoning me out of pajamas.  My skin has been happy to forego makeup and frequent showers, my toes happy to forget the ache of high heels that sit forlorn in the closet, wondering when or if they’ll ever get to come out and play again.  Despite our attempts at shrugging off and making light of our small privations, we will eventually have to acknowledge the true cost of this extended skin hunger to our sanity and emotions. How long can we deny our primal need for touch to thrive, to feel connected and comforted? Susan Orbach wrote in her short but sweet little classic Bodies:

In the last twenty years or so, the significance of human touch has come to the fore as being crucial to psychological well-being. Touch is the most basic and fundamental of human experiences. Before we can suckle, before we can even see, we are enveloped by the welcoming arms of our mother. As we nestle into her body, feel the steadiness of her heartbeat, breathe her smell, we embed ourselves with her as our beacon. Her body, her voice, her skin, her touch became the way we orient ourselves as we make our personal journey through infancy, childhood and beyond. And touch is the most crucial of these elements, not only providing us, in the case of loving touch, with a sense of security and ease in our bodies, but shaping our biology and our neuro-circuitry in ways that will affect our tempers and personalities throughout our lives.

We are accustomed to thinking of our bodies as just existing, propelled to grow by reasonable nutrition and our genetic inheritance. Psychotherapists working with troubled bodies show that the kind of touch we receive are crucial to the development of our own body sense.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you stay connected and comforted while living in this no touch world.








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