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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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craving isn't quite the word, but I don't know a better one
children of dune - leto 1
So I had this dream about tree-squid.

Wait. It's not that kind of dream. But I think it mostly is; I had a dream where there were tree-squid and scaly cats and I have no idea why this makes me giggle, but it does. Why I remember is because it was a nightmare, the way that a nightmare is when nothing terrifying happens, but you know that everything's wrong and you're not sure why. Well, that and having tree-squid thrown at me. I woke up utterly freaked out and blinking suspiciously at every tree I passed.

It still makes me giggle. They were squid the size of small dogs, like something out of Super Mario.

No, I'm not high. I'm just awake. And actually, I woke up an hour or so ago after a dream that lasted years. I was dancing because when I fell asleep, I was remembering a post by hetrez from a week or so ago.

Put Me in a Package and Send Me There:

I've been thinking about this lately, and talking about it a lot, because I am struggling with sexuality, with the question of whether or not I have one, and I feel strange desiring touch when I don't have a corresponding desire -- the words "touch" and "body" seem hypersexualized to me sometimes, they seem loaded with a meaning that I don't want. If I am friends with someone, I want to put my hands on their face -- my fingers twitch, I have to rub my palms against my jeans, because it's weird, you know? Touching someone softly on the neck, at the corner of their jaw, behind their ears, and hoping that it will be anything else to that person besides a signal that I want to kiss them.

Heh. I don't know. Come over here, let me play with your hair. I promise I won't try anything funny.

It's been simmering for a while, I think, but so much moreso tonight, and I'm not sure why. The elegance of expression is part of it; I love the fit of words that flow together like the textual manifestation of touch.

I thought of this tonight, feeling fingers in my hair and on the back of my neck, and wonder.

It's harder with men, that's what I want to say, but the truth is, it's hard for me with anyone. I like it and hope for it and have a child and a niece who give it freely, that crawl into my lap so I can play with their hair and cuddle them whenever I like. Nick still wants good-night kisses and goodbye hugs and everything in between while he talks about robots that will rule the world and pirates on the seas. It's a craving I notice in the lack, when I just want any contact I can get.

I dated to get it, once upon a time; attraction is nice, sex is good, but touch is better. Someone who lent me their body without reservation; I'd learn them with my fingertips and the heels of my hands, draw my fingernails lightly over their skin, shiver a little when I could feel the change between muscle and knobs of bone. I never knew how to ask; how do you ask for that? I bought dinner and let them drive me home, suggested home movies so I could curl up on the couch with a head in my lap and a body spread out for me to explore. I held hands because I needed the contact, twining fingers, feeling until I was sated.

I miss it. Not dating, though sometimes I miss that, too.

It's confusing, because it's hotwired, however it happens, for sex; the taboo of not touching where you aren't fucking is so ingrained outside of family that I'm always startled by my body's reaction. My closest friends are also my family because I need the shortcut, people I can hug when I say hello and when I go, touch their hair and curl up with my head on their shoulders while we talk. In between, I'd go to clubs, make out with boys in dark corners and in the middle of dance floors, get drunk from getting what I wanted in the only way I felt I could.

It feels selfish, to make an offer I don't mean to keep. I doubt that they remember or care that there was once a girl in a club who let them push her against a wall and touch wherever they liked, as long as she could do the same, and wandered out when she was sated. I showed them how I wanted it, with fingers in my hair to tilt my head just so, slow strokes against my collar, fingernails through my shirt down my back. I'm not sure any of it was arousal at all; I just remember the relief of finally. Finally. And I'd walk away before they could ask for more.

Hmm. I could warn for TMI, but I don't think I've even moved past petting.

My first kiss was like that; I was seventeen and we watched a movie, and for three long hours we gravitated from brushed fingers to a hand on my shoulder while I shivered, feeling euphoric and impatient and never wanting it to stop. Three movies went by and I remember it like I remember how to breathe.

It happened like this:

He sat in his chair and I was on the couch. I laughed at a naked girl and reached over the arm to cover his eyes. He pulled my hand away and then he didn't let go.

Three hours, moving closer in inches that felt like years; I don't know why we were so afraid, shifting from chair to couch so abruptly we scared ourselves into another hour of careful movement, trying to read each other with our bodies because we were terrified to look each other in the eye. He kissed me finally, and it was so terrible and like a revelation all at once; I woke up. Oh, I remember thinking, trying to work out the geometry of tongues and teeth and lips, this is how two people fit, like a jigsaw puzzle with unexpected angles and odd corners and strange shapes; I never opened my eyes to see. I lived in my head so much, so often; I wanted to learn this with my body.

It was drugging, addicting; I could touch him, get skin under my hands, shape my hands to another body. He played with my hair, dragged his fingers down my back, rested a hand on my hip or laced his fingers through mine. I'd follow him anywhere with a pull, because withdrawal was so much worse.

It was rare then and it's even rarer now; I wonder if that's what adulthood is supposed to be like, and I can't say I'm fond of it.

I went to a con--two really, the same one twice. I sat down on a bench or on the ground and I'd find people next to me. A hand on my knee to get my attention, on my arm to ask a question, fingers playing with my hair or arms draped across my shoulders, bodies leaning back against my legs, grabbing my hand to lead me wherever they wanted me to go. I didn't care where we went; I'd follow them anywhere with a pull.

Withdrawal was so much worse.

It was new and so startlingly familiar; I must have forgotten more than I'd thought. I don't know what that means; I don't know if it's supposed to mean anything at all. And I don't even think I care.

...oh my God.


Also, this is my new favorite webpage ever.

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It was weird to have it come together; I've suspected before, but hetrez nailed it in a paragraph.

Skin hunger - YES.

I have always had to tread a careful line with my friends, because I wanted, longed to touch, to be anchored, without it being sexual. Touches that meant, "I'm here, and you're here, and I'm happy to be here with you, and won't you acknowledge I'm here, and let me feel that I'm not alone?"

I'm married with a kid, and I hope my son lets me snuggle him for a long, long time, and that my husband never gets tired of my running my hands up under his shirt just to touch his skin.

*nods* Oh yeah. Child? Is totally still all over the being cuddled (as long as it's not in front of other people) and am seriously not looking forward to the day he's not.

Yes, yes yes yes yes yes. I want touch. I don't want it to mean that I want something more. Sometimes I just want to curl up and be able to do that, exactly that, run my fingers down their arms and through their hair and have a sense memory of their face. That is what I want.

I have a guy friend whom I'm comfortable enough with, where it doesn't mean anything more than just contact and a kind of grounding, saying 'I am here'. And just, I don't know if he realises how much it means to me to have that.

There aren't very many of my girl friends whom I feel comfortable doing that with, maybe one because it's like a sibling relationship and I think it's ok and that maybe she might get it too.

It's like I have a yearning, a compulsion to have to touch. [ARGH why does that sound so stupidly sexualised - it's not meant to.]

*wanders over to that post*

Also with the brushing hair. Playing with someones hair gives me thrills. It's odd. But it feels so personal, especially crushing someone's hair.

Yes. Exactly. I'm a toucher by nature, but only with people I know. I have been known to still hold my mom or daddy's hand, and I'm nearly 40. The con experience is awesome, because everyone is so unafraid to touch. I guess we feel safe to express our physicality with these people who know what's in our heads and so welcome the presence of our bodies. I miss that closeness, too.

So, yeah - what you said.

I wondered about that too; it was so startling and casual the first time I almost jumped, kept wondering what if it meant something, could I reciprocate, because God did I want to. It was such a surprise, and one I'm still not really over. It feels like a gift.

*nods nods nods*

I'm living without it, any of it, and I can tell it's killing me slowly. :/

I've been lucky that my boyfriends have all been very cuddly. But yes, human touch is a good thing. Lowers cortisol levels and stuff.

*nods* There has to be more to people than physical sanctity, not when we still carry the instincts of animals. It's just so necessary in some way, and I don't even realize it until I've been without it for too long.

I used to be very very tactile, and I was surrounded by others who also were, so it was great, lots of affection, lots of comfort.

Now, I can't stand being touched by people who aren't my husband. It makes me feel icky, because it is *too* familiar, too intimate. Roger isn't a very touchy person, so over the years I found that every time he reached out to touch me, my hair, my hand, whatever, it was a very blatant gesture of loving me, of *needing* to touch me, and so even casual touches became intimate.

I still hug my friends hello and goodbye, hugs are vital to existing, I think, and with my family I'm fine, but even some of my closest friends can't touch me in certain ways without me needing to find a way to distance myself.

And in some ways I like that, I like that the people I love most in the world, the people I share a genetic connection with are the people I am most comfortable with, that there's an easy intimacy there that excludes the world at large, at least in my own mind.

*grins* I like that. It's lovely.

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hetrez nailed it best, I think; it's so hard to quantify something when you're not even sure what it's called.

Yes. God, the skin hunger, and it doesn't need to be sexual but I just need to touch.

Exactly. That's the concept, there.

(Deleted comment)
*thoughtful* It takes a while to figure out what precisely is missed. It's such an instinct that I almost never think about it until there's a lack, and then it's just there and needed right now.


I dreamed last night of dragon powered bicycles.


I went a whole year once, without being touched. It was during the deepest, darkest part of a depression that i'm not fully over yet. there is a reason i identify with Rogue so much.

My family has always been touch-oriented. I still hold my mom's hand when we go out. I pat my sister on the head when she's being silly.

I dated someone once just so he would touch me. just the running of knuckles over my face while moving hair out of the way.

i think i might be able to be truly happy now because i have someone who loves me, and understands that sometimes i just need to be touched. it's very centering, especially when i'm on the verge of having a panic attack. that i have friends with this same need who understand when I lean over and put my head on their shoulder and they pat my hair. and let they let me hang all over them too.

kids are the best source of free touch. I love that part of my job, the kids who can't wait to see me and hug me, or play with my hair. kids are awesome.

thank you for this. *hugs you*

God. *hugs you* I can't really imagine.

And yes, kids are perfect in that; and they can just go for it, crawl up in your lap and demand it, even if they don't know what to call it. *sighs*

And you're welcome. I have to admit, it's really nice to know other people feel the same thing.

God, yes. Absolutely yes. I'm from a very tactile family, but it was still a real revelation to me, when I first started dating, all the things my body could have that I'd been missing, and then over the last few years, when I haven't dated, I was lucky enough to find two female friends who were comfortable with snuggling. We had a sort of tacit understanding that we were all touch-hungry and loved each other, so we'd pile up together on the sofa or a bed to watch TV, but I don't know that either of them needed it as much as I did. I didn't realize how spoiled I'd been until I moved away from them and my family, and had to go months without anyone stroking my hair or holding me or letting me kiss their cheek and listen to their heartbeat. And why does that have to be a promise for sex? I don't miss sex half as much as I miss touch. I'm glad to know that's the same for others - it's such an unexpressed need, and I really don't know why.

*nods* A lot of my dating life has been based on the willingness to give me that; sex is cool, but a dealbreaker was always being able to reach out when I needed it, or have them nearby. And yes, it's impossible to explain at all to anyone. I've wondered about that part, too.