Cuddling and Shame

Cuddling and Shame – Everyone has shame to some degree or another. In The Wisdom of Self-Acceptance by Tara Brach PHD, she discusses the prevalence of shame in our culture relating to “I’m not good enough”.  Do you recognize this pattern in yourself?  For me, my driving mantra is- I’m smart enough to figure this out. Which is what I tell myself to avoid the “I’m not good enough” feeling. I really beat myself up when I struggle to do something new.  Building my healing practice is a good example.  What do I know about business? I punched a time clock and gladly took home that weekly paycheck for three decades. No one ever taught me business skills, so why do I have to prove I’m smart enough to figure this out- alone.  Shame (about my ignorance) was keeping me from asking for help. To avoid feeling not good enough, I struggled and suffered unnecessarily to re-invent the wheel to build my practice.  Eventually my logical brain (with a bit of comedy) kicked in and asked, “Does anyone expect you to perform brain surgery or fly a space shuttle to the moon?”  “Of, course not”, I replied, “I’m not trained for that.”  Ahh.  Lightbulb.  I finally let go of trying to meet my own impossible standard. I released the shame was holding me back.

There is another way that shame also plays a part in my business growth. Would you expect a 50- to 60-year-old man to gush about his cuddle session? I get very few referrals because shame gets in the way.  Many clients share that they don’t tell anyone they come to see me.  That saddens me. But I respect their privacy. It comes down to vulnerability.

How is a cuddle session any different than taking care of yourself when you are sick and making a doctor’s appointment?  Are you ashamed to tell people you need to see a doctor?  Not usually, because we want to get well, to take care of ourselves.  And how often do we hear women bragging on their way out the door at the end of a tough day that they are going to the spa and having a massage. 

These things and cuddling relieve our stress and anxiety. Cuddling can meet our desires for connection by engaging the ingrained neurobiology in our bodies for touch. 

Wouldn’t you be pleased to work a full shift with someone who is stress-free, relaxed and smiling all day?  Hey, Frank, why are you so chipper? “Oh that,” Frank could reply with an even bigger smile, “I had a cuddle session last night.  I feel fantastic!”

So shame affects shame and on and on the cycle goes.   I hope this article can break down the societal barriers and ideas that cuddling is weak, shameful, embarrassing and shows neediness.  No, it doesn’t.  It shows self-care, self-love, and compassion and meets our needs for touch and connection.

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Thank you for reading about cuddling and shame, it is something I appreciate. I truly hope it helped you.
I have other blogs to check out too!
Just a small reminder unrelated my this blog post: If you found my website through Sacred Eros or any other platform, please let me know when making contact, thank you.

Cuddling and Shame | Vicki Tracy | Everett Washington | Online

Touch, Touch and More Touch

Touch – Those of you who know me well know how much I love to touch. It brings me physical pleasure and emotional wellbeing. Here I will define what touch is for me.

Comfort:  Hugs are comfort:  hello hugs, good-bye hugs, I’m-so-happy-for-you hugs, I’m sorry-you’re-sad hugs.  Comfort is also putting a hand on a friend’s shoulder or reaching out to touch them lightly as they share a burden.  As a woman this is easy me for.  Men, you’ll have to share your thoughts.

Nurturing/belonging:  Someone holding me, cuddling me, or caressing me lovingly.  This type of contact sends me the message that you see me, you want to be with me, I belong, I am safe. I feel secure. I too can offer this type of touch to you for the same reasons.

Sexual/sensual: Touching to stimulate pleasure.  I can touch you to stimulate you, I can touch you to stimulate me; you can touch me to stimulate you, you can touch me to stimulate me.   Whee!! Look at all those dynamics! 

Let’s look at how these definitions fit into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Touch | Vicki Tracy | Everett Washington USA | Online

I put comfort and nurturing/belonging contact in the basic needs category.  Cuddling and being held by someone I trust, I feel safe and secure.  The warmth and rest that brings me also fit here. Wow!  Looking at it that way makes touch sound very important, and it definitely is to me.  It helps me understand how to define myself. Contact is a main component in making me feel safe, and it encourages me to rest.  

Why are cuddling and cuddle parties so popular?  I think because they are meeting our basic needs.   Skilled cuddlers can develop the ability to feel greatly satisfied in this realm. The partner’s gender does not matter.  What’s important is the feeling you gain from human contact, not to mention the oxytocin high you can achieve.  Sex does not need to be part of cuddling.

This means sensual/sexual touch falls higher up the triangle for me, under psychological needs.  I have in the past ignored nurturing contact for the intensity and pleasure of sex, but it felt like something was missing. I was either unsatisfied, or satisfied in the moment but it faded away quickly, and I craved more.  This is where I believe sexual addiction can start.  We chase what we think we need and what feels really good, but it’s not what we actually need.  You just keep eating the icing off the cake. Sure, it’s good, but there isn’t any substance.

I know some people feel that all types of touch fall into the psychological needs category.  Touch is part of intimate relationships.  Touch can come from friends.  On the pyramid as defined above, where would you put touch?

What about when needs for direct human contact in an intimate encounter are mismatched?  Say you want sensual touch and your partner wants nurturing. Think of this as hiking or traveling with friends and family.  You go at the pace of the slowest or most out-of-shape person. Otherwise you leave behind someone who may need support.  It’s important to get basic needs met first. You may need to stay in nurturing mode for the whole encounter, and maybe the next one too. The slower person is building up stamina, getting in better shape, getting comfortable with you as a partner.  After going slower for a while, your partner may feel ready to meet you at your level.  It’s a tricky spot to navigate.

One of you may still feel unsatisfied. The two of you might negotiate so the person who needs nurturing touch will receive that and the person who wants it to be sensual will receive that, taking a turn for each of you to get what you desire.  I highly recommend just continuing to touch, touch and touch some more and find a good balance for both of you.

Define touch for yourself.  You may come up with the same categories I did or you may find your own.  How important is human contact for you?  How does it fit into your hierarchy? Once you define your categories, practice with just one type of touch.  Set an intention to try to avoid shifts into another category. If you slip up, giggle and laugh and return to the intention. Learn what each type of direct human contact does for you.   Do you feel safe?  Are you calmer?  Are you anxious? Breathless? Deeply satisfied? Craving more?  Notice what you like in which situation.   Practice makes perfect in every realm of learning.  And when it comes to touch, oh boy, can it be fun! Be playful, experiment, and ENJOY!

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Thank you for reading about touch, it is something I appreciate. I truly hope it helped you.
I have other blogs to check out too!
Just a small reminder unrelated my this blog post: If you found my website through Sacred Eros or any other platform, please let me know when making contact, thank you.