We’ve discussed before how focused I am on touch. It’s my love language, after all. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I actually find the science of touch fascinating. Your skin — or your epidermis — is the largest organ of your body, and it’s an incredible creation.
For example, did you know that your thermoreceptors (the parts of you that can feel temperature changes) vary in sensitivity from place to place? Your cheeks and lips are about 100 times more sensitive to temperature changes than your feet.
But the skin’s not alone in its work. I find it interesting how the brain numbs steady sensory input after a time. For example, without moving, try to sense the weight of the clothes you’re wearing right now. Unless you’ve moved recently, it’s likely that you can’t even tell they’re there. Our brain is made to do that with “white noise” so our conscious thoughts can be with more pressing matters.
With that in mind, I try to mix things up a bit when I’m running light fingers over Clara’s body. It might be as simple as a bit of contact on her arm as we cuddle up with a movie, or it could be that relaxed post-coital state where I’m just taking in her whole body.
I used to always run fingers up and down in smooth steady motions. But it occurred to me that such a movement might get the white noise treatment after a few strokes. So I like to mix it up a little sometimes now.
My favorite technique is to trace tiny (about 1 inch) stars on her with my fingertip, over-extending that final, fifth stroke each time to become the first stroke of a new star. Using this seemingly random pattern, I’ll trace it down the path I’d otherwise take. One time she asked me, “Are you drawing stars?” That told me she was much more mindful of my touch than she normally is.
This approach could be done with many shapes. Hearts are good, taking one half at a time and making a pattern that might look like a seam. Rudimentary shapes like triangles work too.
It’s a simple mental shift that helps me focus on touching her and embracing the moment, and it seems to help her stay engaged, too. It’s the small things, sometimes. Small little stars of touchy goodness.
Now, here’s the real question. How many of my readers saw “epidermis” and immediately thought back to DC Talk’s Colored People?
Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, sir.
Originally posted 2017-07-31 08:00:00.