I love to swim. I love the water running past every inch of my skin, tickling the hair follicles as it passes over my alert and ready nerve endings. I dive into the pool outside my living room French doors and push off repeatedly to the surface from the bottom of the deep end. I experience the thrill it gives me as I push up from the bottom and break the surface. I focus my mind on the sensations the water makes streaming past every hair follicle on my body, over and over again. I am training my mind/body to more fully love the sensations I already know and love.
Very recent studies indicate that in addition to the regular nerves we have buried in our skin there are some new types that have been discovered. These unmyelinated, specialized nerve fibers, called C-tactile fibers, each cover about one square centimeter of skin. They are purely pleasure fibers and have a direct route to the brain. And, they send stronger signals than pain receptors. Yes, soft, erotic touch can relieve pain. Just think about the potential when you're not in pain and seeking pleasure.
Consider this fact: according to Dr. Daniel Amen, in his book Sex on The Brain, women are about ten times more sensitive to the great sensations of soft touch than men are. This means that you heterosexual fellows need to realize how starting slowly, with a lot of touch, can make a good evening into a great one. By repeatedly getting her juices flowing with liberal amounts of touching, caressing and nibbling you are helping her deliver the brain chemicals that then allow her body and brain to start sending them out prior to your touch in the future. When both of you understand this phenomena you can use it to your advantage. It's a great feedback loop. She can use her mind to help get things going and you can use your touch to facilitate the experience. If you're both on-board you can actually get to a place that requires less time to higher states of arousal. It's all in the playful practice (like my pool exercises above)!
Since your imagination is built on memories and your memories are built on experiences it is obvious we need to be creating new, positive experiences all the time. Touching one another is a very good place to start training your body, mind and spirit to receive Love Potion #9 - Oxytocin. Oxytocin, is the love and bonding neurotransmitter. It is released during orgasm, breastfeeding, childbirth, eye gazing, cuddling, touching and more. Science is discovering new ways we express it all the time.
One of the most intriguing things about giving touch is that if you follow a simple rule not only will the quality of the touching you give go way up you'll have a mindfulness practice that brings you pleasure, too. The next time you decide to give a soft, sensual massage, or simply touch your lover, pay deep attention to your own fingertips. You don't even have to think about your lover right now. Just notice your own fingers. Imagine that they are feeling outrageous and that it's getting even better by the minute. Put your entire mind on your own, erotic fingertips. Feel them. Eroticize them. Your lover is going to go wild because this is a game that can only get better as it goes on. If your fingertips are feeling this good then your lover is going to feel incredible. It is that simple.
This is a mindfulness practice. You're getting triple duty here. You are training your mind, feeling incredible and your partner is getting one big, erotic experience. If you want to up the ante a bit then put a blindfold on the receiver. About 50% of our sense receiving comes from the eyes so if you eliminate the eyes you're adding a lot of bandwidth to the other senses.
The other great thing about the C-tactile fibers and erotic touch is that you can pleasure yourself. The consequences are actually incredible. Think about it. Unlike trying to tickle yourself, which doesn't ever work, you can be your own pleasure-giver! You can train yourself to be ready and even primed for sex. If you try the practice above solo I bet you could get yourself up to about a level 4 or 5 on a scale of 10 by breathing, imagining a past erotic scenario and softly running your own fingertips over your arms, thighs and neck.
If you're at work or in public, watch where you're touching please.
Suzie Heumann is the founder of Tantra.com. She studies, writes, has authored three books and makes films about conscious sex, Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Check out Tantra.com Premium for the most comprehensive tantra training available on the Internet!