What is Transcendent Touch? – this article is a musing and how-to about transcendent touch. How to do it, how to share it, how to set your intent for it, how to actually use your hands to make a gift of it, the biology of blissful touch, and how to receive to experience it (the attitude of the receiver is as important as the approach of the giver for a blissful experience). In this writing i will address the meta concepts that for me provide a conceptual container within which to talk about transcendent touch. Future writing on the hands-on techniques will be presented later. Read on for more on the biological mechanics and paradigm of sublime touch. Seeing with your hands Geomorphology of the Human Body – Or how would you map a human body using your hands – My favorite simile for how to actually do transcendent touch is to imagine you are blind and your fingertips and palms are your only way to see. And you have been asked to provide a 3-dimensional drawing of a person’s body yet you cannot see them with your eyes. However, you can touch them to see them. You would have to move super slowly, with light touch, because if you pressed hard you would distort the flesh and not get an accurate ‘picture’ of their contours. You would have to be non-biased about what areas you touched, meaning, no preference for genitals/breasts/buttocks, you would have to touch them everywhere lightly, slowly, with attention to your fingertips and what information was coming back to your brain about their shape and texture of their skin. You would take quite a long time of slow exploration to pic up enough data points using your hands to get a good picture of their 3-dimensional form and the surface of their skin. You would have to approach your task with curiosity and a super slow and gentle touch and plenty of time to collect the data. Why bother with Transcendent Touch? The goal of transcendent touch is to feel pleasure and a mystical sense of closeness with another human, and to achieve a sense of floating on clouds of pleasure induced bliss as a result of receiving touch. It’s about an internal experience of feeling you are infinitely relaxed, cared for, and loved even. This is possible between two people who don’t have an ongoing relationship, so the closeness is a product of the way in which touch is given and received. It is particularly sublime between two people who are a couple. How to adjust your mental approach to receiving transcendent touch? My personal approach to skin pleasure always involves an exquisitely slow pace to everything. My extensive practice and readings in this area of human experience and potential also both point to a slower pace being necessary to a good experience. Slowness allows a depth of relaxation that facilitates feeling more pleasure merely because one is relaxed and more available for the brain to receive sensory stimuli in it’s fullness and translate it to feeling pleasure without distraction/obstruction of a tense body or a busy mind. Slowness allows the recipient to breathe deeply and more slowly, to pay exquisite attention, so every touch being received is fully experienced. If there is enough time between one touch and another, one can feel the beginning, middle, and end of a touch and nuances in pressure and how the tips of fingers feel on skin, how the palm of the hand feels on skin, how the delicate skin on the back of a hand feels as it lightly trails along skin, and the different sensation due to varying pressure of touch or different types of touch (a gliding caress, a light scratch, a light pinch, gentle compression, a tickle, or simple being heldl). Slowness brings an uncharted and endlessly mysterious realm where touch is a journey, an exploration of sensation, a dance of one person touching and another receiving, both with hyper awareness and a meeting of consciousness between fingertips of one person and the skin being touched of another. If done slowly and with true curiosity and an intent to give rather than take, both persons become engaged in a connected yet transcendent experience of sublime touch. I like to term this an in body out-of-body blissful experience because it is grounded in bodily sensation combined with hyper attention rather than fantasy and escape via the mind. This touch need never involve erogenous zones to be sublime for both parties. Lovers can mix this type of touch with sexual touch with equally sublime results. This writing will focus on non-sexual touch. I have long been a fan of exquisite touch. Transcendent touch is done not with the express intent to arouse, but with the intent to make another feel good via being touched with the palms of my hands, maybe on their shoulders, maybe with touching their hands. I used to get in trouble for doing this kind of touch to friends or acquaintances because it was misconstrued to be a come-on, but i wasn’t interested sexually in that person, i just like to share touch. For me as the giver it feels close and connected, my hands feel pleasure in touching, and my mind goes into a meditative state of focusing on the point of contact. Light slow touch on non-erogenous areas feels close and connected and friendly but i don’t have sexual desire involved on my part. It is more like how i feel petting a cat or dog, we both enjoy it a LOT but nobody is being wound up sexually. It is possible to feel utterly drunk and sublime with touch without any erogenous areas being involved, this is amazing and truly a gift from God, she who made our largest organ the skin and embedded it with all the mind-blowing number of pleasure nerve endings we posses! So i eventually find an outlet for this gift via exchanging transcendent touch with partners i met through craigslist, i could receive lovely touch and explicitly stipulate that it be non-erotic touch. And via giving sensual massage with clear boundaries, i could cause pleasure without having to upset someone that i wasn’t actually coming on to them. I could be in joyful service using my hands. For me it is a form of meditation and the giving can be a transcendent experience. Keeping within the realm of massage means i get to have the enjoyment of giving sensual touch without the demand for it to be something else. I absolutely adore sharing slow connected pleasurable touch and the sense of closeness that is possible between two human beings as a result of sharing aware sensual touch is sublime. The world stops and you feel seen and taken care of and nurtured by pleasure given through the palms and fingertips of another human being. Did you know that when we pet our dogs it releases oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’ which engenders feelings of pleasure and belonging both in the dog AND in us as we touch them). Deep doggie sigh! This can also happen between two humans, one touching and the other receiving touch, Ah!. Oxytocin IS a bliss hormone among its other more basic biological functions and it can be released via the specific kinds of touch and eye contact! We are wired for pleasure and bliss, it is how we are made and part of how we thrive. Let’s get back to basic anatomy and physiology as it relates to nerve endings and skin. What is considered an ‘erogenous’ zone is commonly mistaken to mean genitals, buttocks, and breasts in females. In fact our entire skin is capable of feeling sensation that is arousing, and specific areas outside of the genital skin, which have been studied with respect to their response to touch, include: head, neck, ears, mouth, scalp, tailbone, chest, abdomen, navel, arms, armpits, fingers, legs, feet, toes. See Scarleteen.com & Wikepedia for more on this. So we are covered with skin, and our entire external covering is capable of pleasure and with particular touch it is capable of truly sublime pleasure. So how do we approach giving transcendent touch? What factors combine to create sublime touch? The first part of answering this question will present the part of the giver of the touch. The next section will address the receiver of sublime touch. What factors combine symbiotically to produce transcendent pleasurable touch?
- Stillness: you MUST touch slowly, and begin with still hands behind the neck and at the sacrum for a long time (say 15-30 seconds), just resting lightly to ground and relax and settle both the giver the receiver. This starts the connection on a note of trust and safety and anticipatory pleasure. You are saying with your hands that there is no rush, that things will be so slow that the receiver can relax and need not be tense anticipating the next thing. That the next thing will come slowly and gently so no alarm is needed. Furthermore, relaxation helps the receiver feel this touch more profoundly because they are now sinking into their body and awareness of touch instead of being in their head tense and worried or maybe even escaping the body’s actual experience by engaging in erotic fantasy that is entirely disconnected from what is being given via the giver’s hands. i digress here into what the receiver’s approach would be to optimize their receiving of sensation and pleasure.
- Pace: using light gliding touch pressure move your hands slowly in an exploratory fashion as if you are blind and are seeing with your fingertips. What the fu** does she mean by slow? slow means you cover an inch of skin every 2-4 seconds. This should be even slower if you are near of on a traditional erogenous zone like genitals of buttocks or chest/breast area. Touch with long connected strokes, start at shoulders and glide to the feet in one long slow movement and reverse the direction. You can linger in stillness over the buttocks if the person is prone, just holding, then glide on to another part of the body. Let curiosity guide you and let your awareness be in your fingertips so you are experiencing the feel of the skin as you touch. Avoid being in a ‘doing’ mode, or in ‘i’m massaging this person’ mode, or ‘i’m getting this person aroused’ mode. Park your agenda in the agenda parking lot and let curiosity, affection, gentleness, and generosity guide your hands. Try to be open to the beauty contained in the small bit of surface area shared by the giver and receiver between the fingertips of the giver and the bit of skin being touched by the receiver, this small location in space-time is where your mutual attention, curiosity, awareness, and pleasure meet. If you’ve ever experienced super sweet tender connected eye contact with another human being that would be the best context to compare this touch-based sense of closeness to.
- Intent: one would think intent should be the fist thing on the list and i would agree. However, it is hard to describe this kind of touch without the words bringing sexual scenarios to mind, people will see the words on the page and immediately assume they refer to erotic/sexual touch. So let’s talk about intent as it relates to touch. one can touch and provide great pleasure without the intent to arouse (how we pet our pets or touch our children, loving tender slow touch that releases oxytocin in both giver and receiver but does not spill over into the realm of the sexual). With a lover we can touch lovingly and gently for pure skin pleasure and mix that with touch meant to sexually arouse. For experimenting with transcendent touch aim to touch with no intent to arouse, your aim is to provide pleasure via touching the skin with no particular focus on genitals/breast/buttocks. Although mixing these kinds of touch is fine in theory and practice, for the purpose of learning how to approach giving transcendent touch it is best to give touch without a demand that the receiver feel sexually aroused. The aim is pleasure from skin being touched all over the body in a slow light and tender approach that is giving instead of taking. Avoid touching the person with the intent of taking from them, that is, getting your rocks off by touching them, perhaps lingering at their genitals or breasts or buttocks because this gets YOU off, and you are no longer giving but taking with your touch. Aim to be aimless 🙂
- Pressure: You want the receiver feeling the tingly electric pleasure that comes with light touch. Start by using light touch, what does that mean? first touch skin with hand and then move the hands slightly off the skin so it is barely being touched. If the hands are moved the light pressure allows a very smooth gliding, the skin is not pulled along like it is with the pressure needed to do massage. the hands are floating along skin with just enough contact so touch is felt but light enough to allow glide without drag. Spend a considerable amount of time with this kind of touch mixed with just holding your hand/s still here and there on the body, to give depth to the non-moving touch and to ground both of you. You can then experiment with adding a bit of touch that is more like massage, it is slightly more pressure, enough to provide a bit of drag on the skin and muscles underneath. This touch is relaxing if it’s not too painful. Relaxing is good but too much of it and you are putting your subject to sleep. You want them feeling the tingly electric pleasure that comes with light touch interspersed with holding hands still and massage. Spend most of your time with the light touch, like 60%, some light massage, like 30%, and some time just holding various parts of their body, like 10%. That seems like a lot of holding but trust me on this.
- Attention: Focused attention is a crucial part of a good experience giving and receiving transcendent touch. The giver needs to be paying attention to slow pace and pressure, aiming to touch all over and not be stuck on erogenous zones, seeing how the receiver is responding (less body tension and perhaps deep breaths indicating relaxation), and also feeling the sensations of how the skin feels under their hands. The receiver is surrendered to a trustful safe experience of being touched super slowly and very gently and with slow pleasure that is not means to escalate them into tense sexual arousal. The mutual awareness of the point of contact between the fingertips of the giver and the skin being touched of the receiver is a beautiful place where two consciousnesses meet through touch and hyper awareness. This is like the eye contact between two people who love each other – a relaxed and yet hyper awareness of each other in the act of synergistic giving and receiving. The receiver is not passive except with respect to their body being still. The receiver’s attention follows the hands of the giver as they move around and also experiences the pleasure that arises from being touched this way.
- Receiving vs ‘winding up’: How does the receiver approach being the receptive partner in a touch experiment? relaxation and surrender are the essential components to having a good experience. This starts with clear boundaries about what areas are OK to touch and which are not. The receiver’s job is to pay attention to the touch being received, this may seem overly simplistic but consider other things that could be going on that would impede this. They could be nervous because they are with someone new, they could be needing to pee and embarrassed to speak up, they could be tense about work or whether the sheets are clean, they could be worried that the giver will violate the stated boundaries, they could be busy in their mind with fantasy to feel more aroused than they are feeling with the hands on them, the could be physically moving their body to escalate arousal like thrusting their hips or grinding their crotch into the table, or grabbing at the giver to increase mental arousal (i call this ‘winding up’). All of this gets in the way of feeling the actual touch that is happening. Transcendent pleasure via touch is different than sexual release via hand stimulation. Mind blowing transcendent pleasure is possible without ever touching genitals and it gets short circuited (literally, in the mind) when tension and fantasy and masturbatory physical and mental behavior are present. For the receiver to feel the bliss that comes from transcendent touch they need to stop winding themselves up internally and be present to pay attention to what they are actually receiving. Otherwise they are merely using another person to masturbate themselves with, the giver might as well not touch them at all or not be present. If the receiver is engaged in erotic fantasy to escalate their arousal they can’t be feeling the nuance of touch coming to them via their skin and their body, they are in their head masturbating and physically very separate from the giver. Receiving is a sacrament and involves paying focused attention to sensation happening on the skin, breathing in a relaxed fashion (not holding the breath), and allowing pleasure to happen out of actual physical touch. Honor the person touching you by being present to feel what they are giving you. If it is in any way uncomfortable you must speak up. I admit this may not be a possibility for everyone but it is a very real phenomenon hard wired into our very skin and how touch can be processed in our brain and very consciousness. The sustained skin pleasure from slow light touch can bring about blissful transcendent mental states that feel like one’s entire being is pleasure (not genital-focused) and this can go one for a long time if the touch occurs over longish period of time, say an hour or longer.
- Communication: like Dan Savage of Savage Love Podcast says ‘Use your words!’. Communication at the onset to establish boundaries and expectations and how communication will happen. The giver needs to check in a lot and stop a lot to allow feedback. Pace needs to be slow to allow feedback in time so it is relevant to the touch just received, if the touch is too fast the feedback can’t be effective because it refers to some touch that happened 5 seconds ago which now can’t really be pinpointed without coming out of relaxation and having to describe it. If pace of touch is slow then the receiver can give nuanced feedback that is during or immediately as touch shifts to a different pressure/quality/pace/etc. Going slow enough to allow for real-time feedback is very important if the giver genuinely cares about what the receiver is feeling and sincerely is interested in delivering touch that feels good to the recipient. An example of this going badly is if the giver thinks they are going to do ‘deep tissue’ massage on the recipient and proceed to do so with fast strokes that actually feel painful to the recipient – quite a few painful strokes can occur before the recipient can recover from the sense of violation enough to speak up and ‘cry uncle’. I’ve had well-intentioned yet violating deep tissue massages where no matter how much i spoke up the giver wouldn’t reduce the pressure of their massage. i had to finally get off the massage table :-). He was perpetrating deep tissue massage and not receiving my requests for less pressure and i never agreed to receive from him again, so sad! So, go slowly, speak up, check in, repeat, and have fun.
In closing i’ll add that sexual pleasure has it’s place with, and separate from, transcendent touch pleasure. I will write about male and female genital massage (for sharing with a sweetie) in future posts, stay tuned. Also, this writing is NOT a personal invitation of any sort but an educational public service writing. References http://www.scarleteen.com/glossary#erogenous_zones Erogenous Zones on Scarleteen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erogenous_zone Erogenous Zones on Wikepedia http://psychcentral.com/lib/about-oxytocin/ Oxytocin http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/ Ocytocin and animals
http://www.thestranger.com/columns/savage-love/2016/02/24/23614305/savage-love Dan Savage P.S. i write fast and furious and care a lot about delivering something that can really deliver nuanced understanding of a topic, so excuse the run-on style and any repetitive content (saying the same thing in different ways). I churn the info out and edit later 🙂 but i DO edit it later. Inspiration is like an avalanche, undeniable, like a flood coming through a water spigot. I let it flow and tidy up later. Happy explorations!