As I lay on the couch with my partner last night, his fingers stroking my bare shoulder, I marveled at the electricity that his touch. After seven years, his caresses are still so potent, so fueled with the promise of ecstasy. When he holds me, I feel safe, as if the world around us could tumble, but we would remain untouched. I marveled how simple contact of skin on skin, even should it just be a brush of the arm, could lead to so much. And yet, I dislike being touched.


I hate crowds. I can’t most forms of physical contact. For so many years through my early ‘dating’ life, I shied from the touch of another. An arm around the shoulder was possessive, a hand circled around the waist was oppressive, a kiss was enough to make me feel physical ill. I don’t know why this is. Even with members of my family, I disliked much contact. Touching had to be on my terms, it had to be something I freely chose to give, not something asked for or expected. Funnily enough, a girlfriend once told me that I give great hugs. They make people feel safe, loved and appreciated. She said it felt as if I gave myself completely, while expecting nothing in return. I liked that. I’m not sure that she realised, but she left me feeling warm for days with such a simple comment.


I still do not like to be touched. Often I have to psych myself up when I know that a great deal of physical contact will be required. I find having my make-up done to be exhausting because of the constant contact. Perhaps it simply comes down to an element of trust and the issues I have with granting it, as there are those I freely allow physical contact with. Friends I feel a connection with receive hugs, artists and health professionals I have built a rapport with, my partner.


How can I so dislike physical contact and yet crave it with my partner? Is it simple chemistry or the trust that I feel in him? Is it because of love or is it because of some deeper concept so romantically and sickeningly coined ‘soul mates’? As we lay there, entwined together, his hand on my waist and breathe on my shoulder, I considered this conundrum of self. I wonder if any others feel the way I do.


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