Do You Really Want To Touch?Recently, a client mentioned that I am one of the only people who touches him without disgust for the body. This comment stayed with me and I wonder many things. Is he correct in his perception to begin with? Underneath, do people really want to touch him or even touch in general? Is it a fear of connection? A fear of intimacy? A fear of the other?
With clients who have different 'abnormalities' such as missing limbs, skin conditions, scars, etc I am conscious of my reactions and while rarely disgusted(though sometimes I worry about contagion with skin conditions, and generally react to lack of hygiene) I do tend to be quite curious. For example, I have felt in awe while touching previously burnt skin or have enjoyed exploring reactions with a man who had polio as a child and whose leg continued to be very sensitive. In those cases, people have often mentioned picking up on the disgust of others, the fear of the unknown, but with a client who is older and in shape, hygienic and pleasant I was surprised to learn that this was also his experience. It saddened me somehow to feel how touch has been twisted, broken and devalued in our society. How nice it can be to connect with someone through touch in such an intimate way. How beautiful the body is...ALL bodies. How much I value this in my life.