I don’t know how it starts out, and there may be several starting points, but what I do remember is very similar each time: I’m sitting in a room of vague dimensions – and I cannot really make out much beyond a couple of meters. It’s isolated but not dark as such. I am not alone, though: there is another man sitting very close, our legs entangled, either scissor fashion or one with legs stretched out and the other sitting on top. We are always facing each other with eyes at the same height, though.
I feel connected with that man, but I could not even tell if it is always the same one. Physical appearance plays no role in this encounter, but physical experience most certainly does. Our legs touch, and my eyes gaze into his. Without a word, we embrace and hold that position for a long time, until we have exhausted the feelings received and given in this place, holding each other and caring, until it becomes unbearable to not do anything else.
Letting go gently, my hands glide over his back, sides, shoulders, until only one hand is slowly moving across the hairs on his lower arm, the hollow of his elbow, up his upper arm. And then changing direction and making my way back towards his hands as slowly as I did go up. When I stop my movements, he starts to reciprocate, repeating my moves in detail, and excruciating slowness that awakens my need for more of this. So we switch sides and tend to the other arm in the same fashion. Time passes, racing and amazingly slow at the same time. I am outside of time. There is no such thing as time.
We switch sides over and over again, one gently sending signals on the other’s skin, the other receiving and enjoying the manipulations with full attention. Gradually, we move to different parts of the other’s body: bottoms, thighs, shins and feet, cock and balls, belly, chest and then, very gently, across every single feature of the face, the neck, and ultimately tousling the hair and slowly massaging the scalp, until we find ourselves sitting with the fingers of both hands entangled, silent.
There is a sense of peace and joy and arousal, but no absolute need to consummate our love in a more carnal fashion. This is perfection.
When I wake up at that point, my whole body is tingling, my breath is ragged and I’m often aroused, cock standing to attention. I find myself tempted to follow particular patterns of breathing, which brings with it more involuntary shivers, convulsions and sounds that I often cannot even identify as my own. I wonder when such a wonderful thing is going to happen next, in dream or in reality?
Let’s be clear about one thing: I have always been a hugger, and hugging someone was one of the greatest pleasures in my encounter with others. I feel that hugs convey a lot more meaning than just a brief physical confirmation that ‘I am here’, ‘I’m not a threat’ and ‘I enjoy being close to you’. There is an exchange of physical signals, of course, but it goes far beyond just that.
Sometimes that hug and the shape it takes can tell you more about the person and their current state of mind than you’d be ready to believe at face value. Next time you hug someone, consider these things (and more):
How long are you prepared to hold the hug? Is it one of those perfunctory hugs that are expected on occasion and you are really not into it? Would you like to hang on but are afraid it may feel too much for the other person?
How tight will you go? Are you REALLY squeezing the other person, pressing out the last bit of breath, or are you a light touch? Why did you choose this particular kind of hug? Is there a mental distance between the two of you?
Are there different kinds of hugs you reserve for particular groups of people? Or are you indiscriminate in your hugs?
There are so many ways to hug someone that it is surprising just how little thought goes into a hug, right? That’s what happened to me last week: I hugged someone and I started to wonder if I was expecting, giving and receiving the right kind of hug. And to my own surprise, I found that this particular hug was not satisfying at all. In fact, I felt that it wasn’t even necessary.
For the first time, I actively considered if this rather common exchange of pleasantries was actually doing what it was supposed to achieve: making us feel closer, feel held and understood, comfortable. Of course, some of this was happening, but by no means was it to the level that I had hoped for.
This made me wonder: how do we actually know what kind of hug is right? For me. For them. For comfort. For friendship. For communication.
Food for thought.
This said: it is nearly on the books again: at least here in the UK it has been gloriously announced that we are allowed to hug again – within reason and limited numbers of people, of course. That makes me wonder just how much I should lean into this if I wish to avoid disappointment when another wave comes along and we’ll have to retreat into solitude once more. Not that I hope for this, but I fully expect some level of returning virus threat sometime in the near future.
But let’s look at the positives: for now, we can hug each other, but does that actually mean going beyond hugs? A hug is a fairly simple affair without much level of undress, let alone anything remotely sex-related, right? How are we with nudity in company? How about having sex (within the limits of safe sex guidelines, of course)? Guidance is limited and sometimes vague to the point of suspicion that someone wants to push responsibility out of the way.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d normally be in front of the queue to get touch, intimacy and sensuality back on top of my personal list of things to strive for, but I’m not quite there yet. I believe there are still too many variables to feel unsettled about. That said: you may think otherwise and that is perfectly fine, as long as you don’t endanger anyone else. I’d say: make sure you get your shots AND wait until they have done their job, and until then refrain as much as you can from direct physical contact with those you don’t live with.
I know: hard call, but we are all in this together and the fewer broken links we have, the faster this whole episode in our lives will come to an end. I say, remain cautious! Be careful. Be caring. Hold on just a little bit longer. I know that I will.
Touch will come back into our lives, sooner or later. And the more we look out for each other, the faster it will happen.
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.