As a nation, why are we so touchy about touch?

Is it just me, or are the messages we get about touch very confusing?  If a British child didn’t want to be touched, would they really know how to say NO? Are we creating generations of vulnerable young people, because we do not teach choice and consent around touch? 

womans_hand_on_childs_headAs adults, we hug, kiss and pick up children without asking. What would a society look like, if we taught our children to ask, or more importantly, how would it be if we always ask a child before we touch them? What would it be like if we asked before patting a cute kid on the head, to ask before we tickle our grandchild’s tummy, or to ask our child if they feel like it before we give them a hug?

The rules of the school playground are often “survival of the fittest”. What are your memories of school? What advice were you given if another child hit you? Were you told to tell an adult, to go and play with someone else, or even to hit back twice as hard? What would it look like if playground violence was not expected or accepted? If the only way a child could hurt another, was to ask “Can I hit you?” 

As adults, the law brings clarity around violent touch. If I lash out at someone, then I know the police would be called! For “nice touch” such as hugging or holding hands there are lovely social traditions such as asking; Would you like a hug? or, Can I shake your hand? But within intimacy, our rights about receiving touch can be as vague as childhood………..

When we are old enough to date, how do we communicate that we like someone? I suspect that we all have memories of fumbles, “accidental” touches or hopeful kisses without consent. If we are lucky we are asked. Can I kiss you? and how AWESOME does that feel?

can-i-kiss-you-2

 

…………..Once a kiss has been accepted, what happens next? What are we allowed or supposed to want or do? How do we let each other know our likes and dislikes? What is normal? When or how often should we want to get or to give touch? What would it feel like to ask or to be asked………….

Can I lick chocolate off your nose?

Can you tickle my big toe?

Can I nibble your ear?

Can you gently stroke my hair?

……………………I will let you decide, Could that be fun or Would that be boring?

From Dawn, with Love x x x