5 Ways to Touch a Face With Profound Effect

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No, not him, I thought when I looked up and saw him. Not him.

This was my reaction the first time I put our loving touch theory into action.

Early in my contemplations, with Willow, about connections between love and sexual energy I was thinking about how hard it is to generate feelings of love just by looking at someone. Both innately and from our culture, we have it wired into us that it is right to love one another. But sometimes it is hard to conjure up that emotion — that connection — depending on who we are looking at.

I sensed that if I could look at any person and touch their face, with a caress, or light stroke, or cradling, perhaps my love for them would be engaged. Actually touching someone at random, however, would not be appropriate. So I wondered if it would work if I touched them energetically. That is, I wondered if it would work if I simply looked at them and imagined myself physically touching their face lovingly with my fingers.

And so it was that I found myself on a 40 minute B.C. Ferry ride from Langdale to Vancouver, surrounded by people, regarding a large and lumpy, elderly, balding man.

The Universe had, of course, provided me with the perfect first subject: someone who did not fit my profile as easy to love. Not only was he rather unattractive by cultural standards, he was a man! As I said, I immediately turned away. No, I’m not ready for him, I thought for a second. I’ll try again. I’ll find someone more attractive. But then I realized that yes, he was a perfect first test. So I looked up again and embraced his face with my eyes.

I was amazed. As I let my fingers energetically reach out and caress this man’s face, to hold and touch his face lovingly, my regard for him was transformed. I felt his beauty. I felt how he was just like me, full of the same need for love, full of the same scars and wounds, full of the same illusion of separateness that we all have cultivated inside us. A minute ago I would have needed mental gymnastics to generate a feeling of love for him. But now, through the simple imagination of loving physical touch, my love for him flowed.

Since that moment I have tried this practice many times. It works in every case, with whomever I regard. The man-made calibrations of beauty in my head have been challenged often, but a true sense of beauty and love never fails to emerge when I energetically touch each face. I began to tell people to try this practice in the midst of an argument or conflict. Touch the other person’s face, in your mind, and see how it shifts the interaction.

This past week I had the opportunity to take this practice to another level. I was attending Caffyn Jesse’s one-week Intimacy Education workshop on Saltspring Island. It was fantastic in every respect. As part of the work, within a beautifully safe container, we have permission to give voice and choice to the kinds of touch we would like to receive. On the last day I knew I was due for one more session, which, by the way, within the context of this workshop can include full loving erotic engagement. As I had breakfast at a little restaurant called the Tree House, I asked myself, what kind of touch did I really want that day?

The practice of face touching came back into mind. As I thought about it, I wondered what it would feel like to actually have my face touched in love, both for me and the one doing the touching. Would it be as powerful as the energetic touching? Would it be healing in some way? Would it be erotic in some way?

I was excited. As I contemplated what I would ask for, it struck me that the person doing the touching could regard me in several different ways and in each case it might shift the quality of the touching and the emotion generated.

So I came up with the following five ways for the person to caress and hold and touch my face, with curiosity and love, finding the beauty:

1. Touch my face lovingly as me, as who I am.
2. Touch my face lovingly as every human, with love for the human race.
3. Touch my face lovingly as someone you have forgiven.
4. Touch my face lovingly as someone you need to ask forgiveness from.
5. Touch my face lovingly as you, as you would lovingly touch your own face.

I thought about who I would like to touch me in this way, who was right for this instance, and a couple who were attending came to mind.

I had a strong inkling it was going to be powerful. But I had no idea how deep it would be.

The couple enthusiastically agreed to my request. As I laid on the massage table, the man and the woman each took 15 minutes to cycle through the touch perspectives, telling me when they shifted from one to the next. Almost immediately, when I felt their fingers gently touch my face, I was filled with emotion. When I opened my eyes, to momentarily look into theirs as they touched, the emotion intensified. Our hearts became deeply connected. When they touched in the framework of forgiveness, tears flowed freely.

It was an honor to “stand in” for the human race, for those forgiven, for those who need to be asked for forgiveness, for themselves. I felt cleansed. I felt healed in some inexplicable way. Bathed in their love, I floated on a sensation of bliss for 30 minutes. This is how it is meant to be, I thought. And their experience touching me was equally profound.

When we shared our experience with the rest of the group, everyone was moved. We were given the opportunity to touch the two facilitator’s faces from these various perspectives as a thank you and farewell. Once again it had deep impact.

Trying to love without physical connection is difficult. But reach out and actually touch someone with an intention to love, and that deep, innate, pure love that energizes all of life will get plugged in. Our minds get taken offline. Our hearts get powerfully engaged.

This will become a common ritual at our loving sexual energy Discovery Weekends. I invite you to try touching someone’s face in this way, whether energetically — which you can do basically anywhere, at work, on buses or rapid transit, on the street — or physically with someone willing, within a safe “container”. Try touching someone who is sick, or someone at the end of life, or someone you love, or someone you don’t like, or someone you’ve never met before. Try touching each other’s face from the five perspectives listed above. Pure, healing love will flow.

Touch as the Fountain of Youth?

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Skin hunger is an actual physiological condition recognized by medical and psychiatric organizations. I hadn’t heard of it until a year or so ago. Here is a description from an article I copied, but don’t have the link to.

Essentially [skin hunger] is the adult version of failure-to-thrive syndrome. Early in [the 20th] century, social workers at city orphanages discovered that babies who received no physical contact -- cuddling, rocking, kisses, tickling -- beyond the bare minimum of daily maintenance became withdrawn, sickly, and finally died. The conclusion seemed to be that human beings require a certain level of daily skin-to-skin contact in order to survive.
Skin hunger is the condition that applies to later life. Older children and adults may have received adequate contact as babies but, for various reasons, no longer receive that same level of touch. They become isolated and defensive, suffer intense feelings of loneliness... ...They’re also hypersensitive to temperature changes because their blood circulation deteriorates; also, loss of tactile sensitivity is common.
In sedentary subjects, skin hunger also causes muscle damage, particularly in the shoulders and back, in theory because the subjects are always tensed in order to ward off either a harmful touch or rejection of their need.

Another fascinating description of skin hunger and how it is essential for human life to thrive, plus a look at some of the basic causes in modern life, is found HERE.

And you can read a woman’s personal experience with skin hunger HERE.

Extendicare has also released information about the condition, because it is a prevalent problem as people near end of life. I can understand this, from visiting the old age home my mother was a resident of during the final year of her life. As we near end of life our bodies often become broken, twisted and diseased. Even though we may love our elders dearly, it is often hard to bring ourselves to lovingly touch them. And I don’t mean a pat on the shoulder, or a rub on the back, or even just holding their hand, although all are good. I mean really lovingly touch them. Skin is our biggest organ. For health benefits, our skin needs attention all over. But we are often held back by a litany of fears.

That got me thinking about how, as a rule, we begin to withdraw from touching and being touched as we get older. There are many reasons for this. Too many to list here. But the point is, in general, that someone who is in their 60s or 70s (or older) will likely have far less touch in their life than someone in their 20s or 30s. Especially intimate touch, the kind that generates loving sexual energy in the body.

I can’t find any long term scientific studies that explore the effect of regular intimate touch on well-being and longevity (please send us a link if you know of one), but it would not surprise me to discover that constant access to loving touch is akin to a fountain of youth, or youthfulness.

For anyone who has experienced the various forms of therapeutic touch, there is no question they have a powerful, positive effect on us. We feel more relaxed and vital as a result. We experience the same enhanced vitality after shared, expectation-free, intimate touch, especially if it is not rushed, and even more especially if it ends in orgasmic bliss.

For me it is no surprise that human bodies in our modern, fragmented, touch-deprived cultures begin to rapidly deteriorate as we get older. We need to break down barriers and allow ourselves to touch each other more. Imagine if you were part of a community of people who were committed to giving you loving, honoring touch—to enlivening the big skin organ of your body—right to your passing from this life to the next. No skin hunger, ever. Extended vitality. That makes me smile. How about you?

Perhaps I'll let reknowned poet Stanley Kunitz have the final say on this, reading his final poem, "Touch Me".

A Touch is Like a Musical Tone

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Wikipedia describes a musical tone as this:

A musical tone is a steady periodic sound. A musical tone is characterized by its duration, pitch, intensity (or loudness), and timbre (or quality).

A very beautiful friend of mine (all women are equally beautiful, don’t you think) and I were recently discussing her joy of playing the piano. At some point she marveled at how magical it is that every time we hear a musical tone, we never tire of it. It always seems new and fresh.

I have often thought how miraculous it is that all the songs that exist have been written from the same old notes and chords. So many great hits are built from the same basic musical tones, just re-imagined somehow. I have experienced it myself. If I pick up my guitar and play three chords, say C, D and G, and fool around with them, I can always find new melodic combinations by changing tempo and sequence.

Somehow my friend’s comment about how a musical tone always seems new, no matter how many times we hear it, caused us to realize there is a parallel with touch. A touch on skin always feels new. A caress, or a nibble, or a suckle, or a gentle bite feels just as good this time as it has every other time. That goes for the future as well.

Just like a musical tone, touch is also characterized by its “duration, pitch, intensity and timbre”. We play music on each other’s bodies by rearranging and modifying the way we do it. Sometimes it creates a touch-song that is a ‘hit’ for the ages.

All tones are vibrations. How wonderful it is to know that we can create beautiful vibrations of loving sexual energy in each other’s bodies by composing new and fresh melodies with the same touches we (and everyone else before us) have used many times before.