Two and a half years ago I didn’t have intercourse, graze the mouths or seductively hug the bodies of individuals I found attractive for eight months straight. My relationship with my latest BF came to a mutual, screeching halt, which sparked a long, dusty sexual dry spell that I wanted to desperately end. Problem was, I had no idea how to go about ending it. At this point, I had only coitused boyfriends, three of them to exact, and I hadn’t met another human who I wanted to exclusively kiss since the most recent human I exclusively kissed said goodbye.
I also, at this age, did not engage in casual, one night standing, no strings attached, fornication or smooch-a-cation or cuddle-a-cation. Thus, I abstained (not by choice) from all sensual physical contact that wasn’t me contacting with myself. Sure, friends would give me a tight, platonic squeeze and colleagues would firmly shake my hand and my mom would quickly peck my cheek but I don’t have to tell you that it’s not the same. When a person you want to see naked caresses your skin with their skin, you tingle like you have never tingled before. It’s a sensation that pulsates throughout every muscle inside of you. A bliss that could not be attained via any alternative method. A relaxing, calming, beautiful feeling that you’d like to experience over and over again for the rest of your days.
I had forgotten about that feeling, until one day, in the middle of my drought, I was standing on a busy, crowded bus and I made eye contact with a gentleman a foot away from me whose weird hat and awkward grin made my pubic hair stand on end. At one point, the terrible driver swerved and the weird hat-ed dude bumped into me, accidentally. His thin arm brushed up against my lower back and it reverberated and reverberated and reverberated from my head to my waist to my toes and back up again. He turned, awkwardly grinned once more, and quietly said Sorry. I laughed, unnecessarily hard and yelled IT’S OKAY! REALLY. Startled by my intense response, he took a step back. At the next stop, he exited the vehicle, leaving my imagination to recreate the rest of the back brushing scene in my mind.
I realized in that moment how much I missed being held and rubbed and tickled and fondled and embraced by a living being who I intensely desired. It had gotten to the point in my erotic dehydration that it seemed almost impossible that I would feel the rush of making contact with a future lover for the first time. You know, the rush of them placing their hand on your leg underneath a table or swirling their tongue around on top of your tongue or brushing their arm accidentally up against your lower back. I was thirsty for it and I didn’t know how thirsty until that minute.
Soon after, I stumbled upon a study on the internet about baby monkeys that said if given the choice of touch or food they would invariably choose touch over eating. My mind was blown when I read that sentence. Apparently, touch is not only craved by breathing creatures, it’s also required to maintain a healthy body. It strengthens the immune system. It raises happiness levels. It helps one survive in the lonely, sad wilderness (of Toronto). I don’t know if I felt especially isolated at the time, but those statements hit me real hard in the vulva and permanently shifted my outlook on the subject of tactility.
Before this, I would often think that I didn’t need affection. That I was totally fine and could have a fulfilling, joyous existence without spooning ever again. But, then I looked inwards and asked myself what I actually wanted. I knew I COULD have a fulfilling, joyous existence without spooning ever again, but is that what I pined for? Or did I pine for a sweaty body on my sweaty body? Did I pine to have someone else’s fingers run across my chest? Did I pine being touched by sexy humans? I did and that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It’s nature. I can’t deny biological needs and although I can go some time without pleasing those needs, I discovered that I wanted to make them more of a priority. So I did. I started asking people out and flirting and sending alluring Facebook messages which resulted in touching others and being touched by others a heck of a lot more. Suddenly, my immune system was stronger, my happiness levels had risen, and I was surviving in Toronto better than I had ever been.