The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

“I Don’t Like To Be Touched”

This made no sense to me when I first heard that phrase uttered by a young woman back in high school. I hadn’t been trying to touch her, actually. I was overhearing her conversation with a female friend. Since then, I’ve heard that phrase, said by both women and men, many more times over the years. The phrase disturbs me. It seems completely unnatural that a person doesn’t like being touched.

Human beings are social creatures. We need to be together, hermits notwithstanding. The use of touch helps to maintain the social bonds amoungst us. Various cultures have ritualistic touching during greetings such as shaking hands, kissing cheeks, hugs, etc. The feelings conveyed include trust, intimacy, affection, loyalty, love and so much more. Marriages end without touch.

Attraction and dating simply couldn’t happen without touch. Pickup artists (PUAs) are keenly aware of the power of touch as a way of showing attraction and perceiving attraction. “Kino” is the term used when a PUA subtly touches a woman during the attraction phase when meeting. When a woman is attracted to a man, she will often involuntarily touch a man. These initial touches are usually subtle.

When a person admits he or she doesn’t like being touched, it’s a direct statement of some type of emotional problem. A problem that clearly puts a huge barrier to forming healthy human relationships. Even a reluctance to be touched can cause dating and attraction issues. This is one of the psychological issues that post-divorce daters must be honest and introspective about before going back into dating.

This is not a demand to change one’s essential nature. This is an opportunity to break from old patterns of behavior that could very well prevent anyone from reaching relationship goals. Just “be yourself” is bad attraction and dating advice if those relationship goals aren’t being met.

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16 thoughts on ““I Don’t Like To Be Touched”

  1. I am one of these people who don’t like to be touched. It’s not as bad as years prior to meeting my FwB (he has helped me relearn so much), but if someone I don’t know prolongs a hug or handshake it still gives me great anxiety. Worse is when someone initiates touch without me being aware of it…A female customer of mine once snuck up behind me and gave me a crushing “bear hug” and wouldn’t let go until I threatened to kick her out of the store. I kept it together just long enough to get into the break room, and then spent the next 15 minutes shivering uncontrollably and hyperventilating. It’s a problem, and one that I’m working on fixing…but having people assume it’s an issue one can just “deal with” doesn’t help at all.

  2. I wouldnt say its a mental issue necessarily. It could be a calculated behavior.

    I don’t like being touched by people I don’t know well for one simple reason: touching builds intimacy, and I don’t begin building such a relationship until AFTER I get to know a person. Handshakes are fine, but I hate dealing with “huggers”.

    The truth is, most people dont make the cut for me to be comfortable with physical contact. I have no desire to build social bonds with everyone I meet. I select my tribe members carefully, and only my tribe knows me well enough for touching. With them I’m actually a very touchy person.

    And don’t get me started on personal “bubble” space. I don’t do busses or subways.

    Maybe I am crazy. :-p

  3. It could also mean that she was sexually molested or abused in some other way as a child or youth by someone who gave her those social bonding touches, resulting in perversion of their purpose. It happens. A lot.

    • This.^^^
      What Jacob said.

      When you don’t come from a touchy-feely family and the only time you’re held/caressed/touched at all is during abuse…It gives you a negative Pavlovian response to future touching.
      Classical conditioning at its worst.

    • I think that’s what he alludes to with stating it indicates there are emotional problems that would have to be dealt with…. For post-divorce men, that’s a huge investment risk… what if she ultimately doesn’t want to do the work in counseling to get over it?

  4. Facepalm on said:

    I don’t like to be touched. Usually it should have an addendum which is I don’t like to be touched by you. You, is anyone who is not a hot girl. What’s the problem? If you want to hold another man’s hand then convert to islam.

  5. I second the people who said that it might be due to childhood sexual abuse. Rape could also cause it, I think. But it could also be physiological touch oversensitivity, apparently: http://ct.counseling.org/2011/04/dont-touch-me/

    • Emma, that’s pretty interesting stuff.

      What should really be mentioned at this point is that if your date (be they male or female) has issues like this, it is perfectly acceptable to take a reasonable look at the situation and conclude that it’s not something you can handle. I was lucky…my FwB had previous experience with teens/young adults who’d been abused, and a past girlfriend had been raped by a relative. He understood the difficulties in helping someone relearn that touch I= humiliation or pain. Personally, it took over 9 months of us being “together” before we could have sex. Now we’ve been FwB for over 8 years, so obviously it worked out for us.

      BUT! If he hadn’t known how to do any of that and we simply remained normal friends, that would’ve been okay. It is nobody’s responsibility to fix anyone else, and no man or woman should be guilted into dating someone who needs to work on emotional issues, especially if these issues would drastically affect the potential relationship. It is fine to understand your own boundaries and abilities, and it is responsible to recognize that you may not be mentally or emotionally equipped to deal with such things.

  6. cecilhenry on said:

    Don;t like to be touched is some kind of problem???

    Not at all—except maybe for the one denied.

    Being touched, like any physical intimacy is voluntary and based on a wish to have contact with someone else. It is discriminatory and selective—otherwise it can neither be moral or intimate.

    One is only touched by something or someone they want contact with—that such a simple fact is missed says more about the one upset by this fact. Why are you afraid of boundaries???

    Your wish to touch may be a means to hide other motivations by forcing emotional reactions.

    Nothing to do with abuse (although that could be another cause, but ofter abused people lack boundaries).

    I like to touch some people-depends now doesn;t it??? It would have to!!!!

    The short-sightness and insularity of this article astounds. Stop and think this over again.

  7. I come here and find Tarnished and Emma in the same comments thread. Some days I feel like Kevin Bacon.

  8. Pingback: “I Don’t Like to be Touched” – TPM | Evil Weasel

  9. Tam the Bam on said:

    More common than the ubiquitous “childhood abuse” victim-status-claiming hypothesis, unless there’s concrete contemporary evidence for that, then a realistic explanation involves some facets (wavelengths?) of mild autistic spectrum disorder (or whatever it’s currently known as).
    Beg pardon for the long c&p.

    “People with an ASD may experience the following differences.

    Hypo
    Holds others tightly – needs to do so before there is a sensation of having applied any pressure.
    Has a high pain threshold.
    May self-harm.
    Enjoys heavy objects (eg, weighted blankets) on top of them.

    Hyper
    Touch can be painful and uncomfortable; people may not like to be touched and this can affect their relationships with others.
    Dislikes having anything on hands or feet.
    Difficulties brushing and washing hair because head is sensitive.
    Only likes certain types of clothing or textures.

    These syndromes are increasingly common among the local (UK) upper middle class, I’ve noticed, as they assortatively mate their way to pedigree collapse.
    All those superintelligent but socially awkward numbercrunchers, engineers and administrators, all choosing to splice their genes with others of their caste only.
    Kids frequently get a double dose, and it’s really noticeable. No master race on the horizon here, guv’ner. Just distraught and baffled parents.

  10. Johnny Doe on said:

    I heard this from a women who I was rather interested in a training stint for a job several years back:

    “I don’t like to smile”

    Sometimes, you just have to leave “well enough” alone. She seemed like a swell enough and cute gal, but I backpedaled from there. Took a look at her FB profile not too long ago–moved up in life to being a nurse, still looking pretty sweet…did the usual single dog woman thing, aka buy a new house for her and her dog.

    Can’t win them all.

    • Hamster Tamer on said:

      Sometimes that’s a cue/callout that she’s a serious and committed SUBmissive… you might have passed up a most willing and talented sex slave. Pity.

  11. I used to be a crazy outgoing person, and I hated people who “don’t like to be touched” Now, as a foreign exchange student who has experienced harassment from her landlord, I absolutely understand it. For me, it feels like a thousand needles pricking against my spine.

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