To many women, touching is an important part of sex. One woman wrote to Shere Hite: ‘You can’t love sex without loving to touch and to be touched. It’s the very physical closeness of sex that is the main pleasure.’ A British woman wrote: ‘I can’t understand why most men don’t seem to enjoy touching. Perhaps it’s the way we bring boys up to believe touching is “sissy”. The closeness of our bodies, before and after we have sex, means so much to me. It doesn’t replace the marvellous sensation of having my husband inside me but it adds so much to it.’

The evidence, scanty as it is, indicates that many women want to be touched and to touch more during sexual pleasuring. They want closeness and body contact with their lovers, not necessarily as a way of arousing them as a prelude to sexual intercourse, but for its own pleasure. Mutual pleasuring means mutual touching, exploring each other’s body, and enjoying each other’s shape, smell, and skin texture.

To touch and cuddle one’s lover, except briefly before intercourse, seems to be perceived by many men as inappropriate behaviour. ‘I only wish men could do this without it always and only being a lead-in to sex,’ wrote one woman.

There is no reason to believe that men do not enjoy physical affection and body contact, but their childhood training has conditioned them to avoid it, and to suppress their feelings.

As a first step to being a better lover find out if your partner would like to be touched and how she would like to be cuddled. Find out if she would enjoy bathing or showering with you, if she would enjoy having her body massaged. And if she does, overcome your fear of expressing your feelings and touch, touch, touch.


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