Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day Eight : Touch

Do you remember that experiment they teach us about in basic psychology courses?  The one where they take away two baby monkeys from their mothers?  One is handled regularly by human handlers, the other gets a meshed cage.  When I was taking this in high school psychology, they told us the monkey declined and had to be nursed back to life by the handler.  A nice protecting lie.  The monkey died and became a statistic.  Cold, but true.

It's a hard thing for me to acknowledge, but I desperately need human touch, and the need for that touch has had a lot to do with getting myself into trouble with men.  Oddly enough, this touching is not necessarily sexual.  I have been able to walk away from a ridiculous amount of one night stands with nary a thought of contacting the person again, who may only later remain in my brain as an "oops."  The addiction in my case has more to do with simple cuddling, kissing, and other ridiculous gestures that are supposed to support a feeling of intimacy.  I think the hardest part of letting go of the latest crush for example, was that he was a gifted cuddler, and added to that, an excellent complimenter.  Who doesn't want to hear that their abs look like a Grecian statue while someone plays with your hair as you listen to their heart beat.  But then, agh.  Where does that all lead?  Perhaps the other person also has a touch addiction.  And you replay these moments in your mind, trying to regain the touch, but all you've got is a steel cage.

There's got to be a way of beating that pattern of thinking.

When I was young, I understood that nuns didn't have sex, but my acceptance of that fact, I realize now, was based on a different reasoning.  Nuns are married to God = Nuns can't have sex with anyone else.  Nuns can't have sex with anyone else = Nuns are highly disciplined and faithful.  Then later I learned that Nuns can't even masturbate, and suddenly the real reasoning behind all of that became clear to me - even if at the time it seemed ridiculous.

I get it now.  While I haven't been explicit about this before, part of this vow is not, er, touching myself in a way that would have to involve conjuring up the idea of a man to give myself pleasure.  (In baser terms, no masturbating.)  And here is what it does - or so far.  It gives you so much stored frustration that you are about to explode.  In the beginning the frustration manifested itself as anger.  God help the poor woman who let her dog chase our yard cats and was the recipient of my first ever addressing of a stranger as a "cunt."  God also help the horrible woman who yelled at me to pick up after my dg after I already had, who got verbally punched with a "fat bitch."  While somewhat satisactory, this kind of anger is not what I like to feel or to demonstrate.  In the past part of what kept me from it were physical outlets - exercise, sex, cuddling, you name it.

I've been good with the exercise, but taking masturbation out of the equation seems to have complicated things somewhat.  And so, back to the nuns.

Yes, there are nuns who make a Catholic school student's life a living nightmare - but there are those who are kind and do amazing things.  I am pretty sure Mother Theresa could listen to the Divinyls without being the least bit tempted.  I realized that a nun's vows not to masturbate was less about sexuality, but more about reigning in a force to be directed elsewhere because all that biological desire the body has to propagate can't really disappear, as much as it would be convenient.

It can, however, be pointed in other directions.  It can make me run faster.  It can make me tear through a hard project I've been dreading.  It can make me write.  It can make me read voraciously.  It can make me observe with a sharper awareness because I am not only attuned to how my body should handle stimulus, but rather how my mind and my heart (properly sequestered from my sexuality) should.  And so, I learn to touch in other ways.  To stroke my dog on the occasions she wishes to be read to and lies across my chest.  To put my hand on a friend's shoulder to support her if she tells me something difficult.  To try my hand at potting herbs after a very long horticultural vacation.  To cut vegetables to cook, to streamlining my house, to painting my toenails a nice crimson.  Maybe, even, one day to clean my bathtub - although if that happens, I will immediately show up at the Ursulines with a packed suitcase.

Point being, lacking the touches I crave does not leave me with a steel cage and withering away.  I have the advantage of being human and not the subject of any experiment but those in which I willingly participate.  I will touch other things and take those few pulsating seconds of orgasm somewhere else.  To make big bangs, indeed.

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