Growing up, the only consistent form of physical touch I was able to experience was through massaging my caretakers. Often it felt like the only window for intimate communication between us. The vulnerability of their bodies in my hand constructed a unique space where power dynamics were switched between us for a brief time. Somewhere in between an act of duty and an act of gratitude I started to channel my feelings through these sessions of intimacy and sometimes even enjoy them. 

The greater bond was established with the male body. I was able to develop sympathies massaging the different body parts and empathetically release stress of the massaged. I poured my creativity into developing new techniques that were often met by acknowledgement. Touching feet accounted as the biggest challenge at first. Afraid that my disgust would be perceived as a shortcoming in my masculinity, I had to perform that I was okay with it. Overcoming my little aversion to touching feet, made me feel very powerful. As If overcoming this would mean I could have more control over my feelings. Simultaneously I was able to feel power in temporary submission. A pattern that seeped into my general behavior. Feet that once symbolized disgust became a symbol of eroticism, that I would only start to discover sexually years later.

What was once performed out of duty became my preferred way of communication but also my longest lasting fantasy. Today I perceive massage as a liminal state that allows me to test limits of intimacy. Often in gatherings or afters I would start massaging friends, strangers. That would also be my contribution to loosen up myself and the people around me. That would also often be my way of breaking the ice in the beginning of a sex date. Allowing me to discover a partner’s body with my hands and simultaneously recharging my confidence. Ultimately I would like to create a very intimate situation that is not yet sexual; building up sexual tension and delaying the breaking point where the very thin ice breaks and the situation becomes sexual or romantic. It’s like edging but instead of teasing the orgasm, I like to detain the first kiss.

Touching bodies taught me a lot about self acceptance and body positivity. Beyond the initial gaze, I learned to appreciate bodies by how they would feel in my hands. The beauty about desiring a person through fantasizing by how it would feel touching them, opens up an array of curiosities and “hidden” qualities to appreciate. It is a fun challenge to discover the sweet spot in a body from a tactile perspective. Whether it’s how soft a neck feels to my gentle touch, or how scruffy a head feels against my chest during a body to body massage. It excites me to think of all the bodies that I might yet touch, explore and hopefully connect with.