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  #11  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:38 AM
Halcyon Halcyon is offline
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Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
Have you taken the five love languages test? The book is also very good. You are very likely high in touch as how you express and feel love. If you google five love languages you can find free online tests. Also are you unusually empathetic? I've noticed that my friends who are highly empathetic either need more touch than most OR they are very very selective in who and how they touch.
I took a look at it, apparently I have a touch score of 12 and a Quality Time score of 8. Everything else is 4 or below. Interesting.

And I have been called empathetic before, I've never considered myself terribly empathetic.

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Finally, I have heard spiritual healers, shamans and energy workers describe touch similar to how you experience it. Talking with shamans, reiki practitioners, energy workers in general may be very useful to you and possibly a life work avenue.
I'm generally fairly open-minded and I've edged into reiki and similar territory before, never with terribly promising results.

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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Children are an amazing source for this *you slecified it need not be sexual* as they crave hugs and cuddles all day. In fact, you may consider as a sside gig, volunteering in some activity with kids in the 0-4 age group as they particularly are affectionate. They NEED the affection and they give it too.
I used to work with kids, but I left that job because of the parents. The idea of a male working with children was apparently just too weird for them to deal with. I ran into a frightening amount of paranoia that I'm not eager to jump back into that again. I loved working with the kids, it was the parents attitude towards a male caregiver that ultimately made me hate the job.

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Originally Posted by Fayerweather View Post
And yeah. I'm a massage therapist too. Have you ever had a professional, full body massage? If you can remove the sexual component (unless you go to a place that encourages that sort of thing) it can be pure heaven for a touch person.
I have and it did help. But it was very temporary.

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Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
I'd throw out it could be good making an OKcupid listing looking for a cuddle buddy, friends/partners, trying a cuddle party? Sharing this feeling with anybody close to you that might be open to bonding with you in that way? A contact sport that is friendly in nature? Asking a current trusted friend about non sexual cuddling, or an ex partner that you are still on good terms with?
I've been through these options and while they do work, they only work for a limited time. Eventually, I become inured to whoever is providing the touch and it starts up again.

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You don't mention if you have any current partners, if you do, are they in some way not meeting your needs for touch, if so, why is that? You not asking for it, they aren't into cuddling, etc.
I do actually have a ladyfriend but I can only see her on a limited basis because of time and distance constraints. I'm actively poly and looking to expand the relationship.

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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
HOWEVER, if your need to be touched is so pronounced as to affect your ability to function in other areas of your life (as it sounds in your post) then it sounds to me like it does carry hallmarks of addiction (including "tolerance" which you also describe in your post).

Anti-depressants are used to treat other conditions besides depression - migraine headache prophylaxis, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. So, one does not need to have depression to take anti-depressants - we are talking about regulation of neurotransmitters here - which regulate ALL functions of the nervous system, not just the emotional parts.

You will have read in your research (go "intarwebz"!) that the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are SSRIs (serotonin-specific re-uptake inhibitors). The newest class are SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors). However, you may want to talk to a doctor about the the atypical antidepressant bupropion (brand-name Wellbutrin, marketed under the brand Zyban when approved for smoking cessation) for its effect on dopamine.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved with telling our brains when we have had "enough" of something - "enough" food, "enough" sex, "enough" nicotine, etc. It it often used as an adjunctive when treating "dual-diagnosis" patients (mood disorder + addiction) which is how they came to figure out its usefulness in treating nicotine addiction. It can also be used in the treatment of obesity (on the "food addiction" side). And, unlike other anti-depressants, does not cause sexual dysfunction.
Your point is well taken. If I was to take a medication option, buproprion would be my first choice. I'm a little concerned because while it has shown promise with nicotine addiction and certain mood disorders, its effectiveness in things like methampetamine and other drugs is not well established. That and I'm wary of meds in general.

Admittedly this can severely interfere with my ability to function normally and as such perhaps concerns about exacerbating heart problems or personality changes should probably be secondary.
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2012, 09:41 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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My grade 12 English teacher taught us that humans need 14 touches from other humans, every day. It can be as simple as a handshake, holding an old lady's arm while she crosses the street, or poking your friend in the ribs. Humans are social creatures, and that's one of the ways we connect with other humans. So what you're describing doesn't sound at all strange.

I'm sure 14 is just the average. Some people get by on less, some people need more. Apparently you're someone who needs more, and who reacts more strongly both when you get it and when you don't. I see nothing wrong or weird about that.

I've met one or two people on OKC who are just looking for someone to cuddle with. No sex, no relationship... just holding hands watching a show or what have you.

I'm sure there's some kind of psychoanalysis to be done here. Not enough hugs from your mom when you were a baby, wrong kind of hugs from your uncle... A lot of these types of conditions stem from some kind of childhood trauma. If any that resonates with you, perhaps addressing those issues head on could provide some relief for your situation?
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2012, 03:41 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Halcyon View Post

Admittedly this can severely interfere with my ability to function normally and as such perhaps concerns about exacerbating heart problems or personality changes should probably be secondary.
The interfering with a person's ability to function normally is usually what makes a "condition" cross the line from non-pathological to pathological. I recommend that you upgrade your help-seeking from "self/peer/community/internet" to "professional".

Please remember (OP and everyone else) that I am not "judging" or "labeling" you. I'm simply responding to something YOU wrote about yourself.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2012, 06:56 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I'm going into woo-woo land here. I can prove scientifically nothing I am about to write. If you are depressed, then you should absolutely keep seeking help, including western medications, for that. Depression does cause physical aching pain. There may also be emotional or mental causes for what you describe.

My theory, which I have absolutely no way of confirming, is that you are unusually sensitive to personal energy fields. And you may be a bit vampiric in a sense in that you need to interact via touch with other's fields. (Sounds creepy but is not meant in that way. I don't believe you are actually draining or hurting anyone.) You may also be putting out energy to others. Done in an uncontrolled, unconscious manner, this can drain you and possibly cause the muscle pains described. If you are empathetic, you may be sensing other's skin hunger or pain and drawing it into your own body. The empaths I know have to consciously shield themselves or they risk drawing in other folk's emotions - and emotions are often expressed in the body via pain or other sensations.

This can be managed. You can learn to shield yourself. (Wiccans in particular have several techniques for this. Buddhists have developed mediation techniques for various things to a very high level. You do not have to ascribe to the belief system for these things to work. They are tools, not ideologies.) You can learn to manage energy interactions with others. That is why I suggested to talk to energy workers, shamans, spirtual healers about this. Not all of them will get it or have any ideas for you. But I suspect some will.

Of course, keep common sense. If someone seems to be a total quack, well, then they are. Move away quickly if they seem grasping or pushy. Otherwise learn what you can from them and keep looking for teachers. If it works for you, then it works and that is what matters.
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  #15  
Old 10-19-2012, 11:22 PM
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CandLinPC CandLinPC is offline
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Hey there. I have been lurking on the board for a while, and your post touched me because it's similar to what I go through.

I have this same need to be touched, and many of the things you describe in your post ring true for me too, to one degree or another. I have found out, through much soul-searching and psychotherapy that what I want is not specifically touch, it's a feeling of acceptance. I have always had bad self-image and esteem, and the only way my brain can accept that I am attractive or socially accepted is if people touch me, or allow me to touch them. I have not taken the love languages test, but I already know where I would score on it. High on touch, and low on everything else.

Have you thought of your issue from the angle that touch might only be the pathway to a deeper need? That's what it is for me.

Anyway, just my .02
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  #16  
Old 10-20-2012, 08:24 AM
Halcyon Halcyon is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I'm sure there's some kind of psychoanalysis to be done here. Not enough hugs from your mom when you were a baby, wrong kind of hugs from your uncle... A lot of these types of conditions stem from some kind of childhood trauma. If any that resonates with you, perhaps addressing those issues head on could provide some relief for your situation?
I cant really think of anything that would trigger this type of thinking. My mom and I aren't (and have never been) terribly close and touch wasn't a big part of life growing up, but it certainly wasn't abusive and she did try very hard to be a good parent. And if it was related to that, why would it only develop in my mid-teens? Why wouldn't it be something I recognized earlier?

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Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
The interfering with a person's ability to function normally is usually what makes a "condition" cross the line from non-pathological to pathological. I recommend that you upgrade your help-seeking from "self/peer/community/internet" to "professional".

Please remember (OP and everyone else) that I am not "judging" or "labeling" you. I'm simply responding to something YOU wrote about yourself.
No offense taken whatsoever and I completely agree, however I'm concerned about the professional route for two reasons.

First, what exactly do I tell them? "I really REALLY need to be touched" isnt terribly helpful and actually communicating the problem is difficult enough to begin with but I cant find anything in the literature that describes something even remotely close to this kind of problem.

If you cant name it, you cant really do anything at that point but throw medication at the problem and medications treat the symptoms but they dont treat the underlying problem in this case. That and a lot of the anti-depressants on the market were not designed for life-long use, they're supposed to get you to a stable enough place to work out what you need to work out so you dont need the anti-depressants anymore.

Second, I'm a little wary about dealing with mental health professionals in the first place. My job depends on employees being mentally and emotionally sound, if it comes down from somewhere that I'm seeking help for this vague problem that is effecting my mental health, I may find myself out of a job and that would be true disaster at this point.

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Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I'm going into woo-woo land here. I can prove scientifically nothing I am about to write. If you are depressed, then you should absolutely keep seeking help, including western medications, for that. Depression does cause physical aching pain. There may also be emotional or mental causes for what you describe.

My theory, which I have absolutely no way of confirming, is that you are unusually sensitive to personal energy fields. And you may be a bit vampiric in a sense in that you need to interact via touch with other's fields. (Sounds creepy but is not meant in that way. I don't believe you are actually draining or hurting anyone.) You may also be putting out energy to others. Done in an uncontrolled, unconscious manner, this can drain you and possibly cause the muscle pains described. If you are empathetic, you may be sensing other's skin hunger or pain and drawing it into your own body. The empaths I know have to consciously shield themselves or they risk drawing in other folk's emotions - and emotions are often expressed in the body via pain or other sensations.

This can be managed. You can learn to shield yourself. (Wiccans in particular have several techniques for this. Buddhists have developed mediation techniques for various things to a very high level. You do not have to ascribe to the belief system for these things to work. They are tools, not ideologies.) You can learn to manage energy interactions with others. That is why I suggested to talk to energy workers, shamans, spirtual healers about this. Not all of them will get it or have any ideas for you. But I suspect some will.

Of course, keep common sense. If someone seems to be a total quack, well, then they are. Move away quickly if they seem grasping or pushy. Otherwise learn what you can from them and keep looking for teachers. If it works for you, then it works and that is what matters.
I have talked to a couple of people who did this kind of work and while it was interesting to learn about, I cant say the techniques really helped. The meditation did slow my thinking down a little bit and slowed the process of deterioration over a period of days but it was not an appreciable difference. I still do practice some of the techniques though. Shielding and grounding did basically jack.

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Originally Posted by CandLinPC View Post
I have this same need to be touched, and many of the things you describe in your post ring true for me too, to one degree or another. I have found out, through much soul-searching and psychotherapy that what I want is not specifically touch, it's a feeling of acceptance. I have always had bad self-image and esteem, and the only way my brain can accept that I am attractive or socially accepted is if people touch me, or allow me to touch them. I have not taken the love languages test, but I already know where I would score on it. High on touch, and low on everything else.

Have you thought of your issue from the angle that touch might only be the pathway to a deeper need? That's what it is for me.
I cant say I have bad self-esteem. I'm not strutting by any measure but my self esteem isn't markedly below I guess "normal."

I have considered that but after thinking about it, I cant figure out what that deeper need might be. Touch itself is a pretty basic need to begin with. I had considered that maybe it was a need for affection, someone to relate to, or someone to have a connection with but I'm not really lacking in any of that. I'm not really lacking in anything I could logically tie to an intense need to be touched.


Thank you everyone for your help so far. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm shooting everyone down but please understand, I've been dealing with this for probably ten years or more by this point. I've tried A LOT of things and I feel like I've exhausted all the options and the only options remaining are bad ones.

Last edited by Halcyon; 10-20-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2012, 10:35 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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I understand your point about dealing with parents in those types of work settings.
But, for example, big brothers big sisters-the parents sign their child up TO spend time with an adult man for example. It's the whole point that they need male volunteers.

Also, you could seek out friends with kids in the poly world too.
As I said, especially YOUNG 0-4 kids and maybe offer to babysit occasionally (aren't we all hard pressed to find GOOD, FUN, LOVING caregivers for our kids so we can get some extra time with our multiple partners?)
Or even an activity, if there is a group discussion and you aren't necessarily interested in the topic that will be going on, maybe offer that you would be willing to watch kids in another room, so polys who did want to participate-but wouldn't be able to because of young kid-could?

*I intentionally haven't elaborated on the other aspects of your topic-because others seem to have covered them well.
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2012, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Halcyon View Post
I cant really think of anything that would trigger this type of thinking. My mom and I aren't (and have never been) terribly close and touch wasn't a big part of life growing up, but it certainly wasn't abusive and she did try very hard to be a good parent. And if it was related to that, why would it only develop in my mid-teens? Why wouldn't it be something I recognized earlier?
I apologize if my comment came across as hurtful in any way. I'm no psychologist, and I obviously haven't done an in-depth psychological analysis on you. But a lot of dysfunctions that people have as adults stem from things that happened, or didn't happen, as children.

I didn't imply that your mother abused you. I didn't mean to suggest that any of the possibilities I mentioned were reality. I don't know you, or your mom, or your uncle. I was just picking the low-hanging fruit of common childhood traumas that can create devastating psychological effects later in life.

However, you do acknowledge that touch wasn't a big part of life growing up. Touch is important to a human. A child who does not receive enough affection is almost certain to grow into an adult with some kind of personal issues. Even with extensive therapy, these issues will likely never be fully resolved. But you can learn healthy coping mechanisms.

My husband grew up in a family where hugging was completely forbidden. The most he could ever hope for was a slap on the back if he won first place showing cattle. As a result, when he hit puberty, he became one of those people who had sex with lots of people, just to be touched and feel an inkling of affection.

The brain is complicated. Lots of things don't show up for years or even decades. People repress things to cope. Years later, something can trigger those memories. Even if they don't fully form as conscious memories, they can cause symptoms of trauma.

The hormonal changes that take place at puberty have major effects on neurochemistry. They completely reshape your brain from a "child brain" to "teenager brain" which, as we all know, is all kinds of topsy-turvy.

I repeat, I'm not a psychologist. I've done extensive reading, as both my husband and mother had traumatic childhoods. It's been very helpful in understanding why they do the things that they do, and why they struggle with things that come so naturally to me.

I recommend you see a psychologist about this. Not just a therapist or counsellor, but a registered clinical psychologist. You say you've looked for scientific explanations, but your description hints that it's more of a psychological issue than a neurochemical issue.
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2012, 09:29 PM
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Example from my life: I was feeling lonely a lot of the time, even though I had good friends around me. I saw a psychologist about it. She suggested something that seemed totally ass-backwards at the time, but it ended up helping tremendously.

When my grandma got pregnant out of wedlock with my mom's oldest sister, her family completely disowned her. Two generations later, I was feeling lonely. Rationally, I figured "how could that have anything to do with it?" But I decided to suspend disbelief and give her suggestion a whirl. We went through this exercise of putting myself in my mother's shoes, my grandmother's shoes, and eventually my great-grandmother's shoes. As my great-gran, I had to "apologize" to my "daughter" for rejecting her. As my grandma, I had to "tell" my "mother" how much it hurt to be rejected. And so-on down the line, until I had to "tell" my mother that I cannot be responsible for her loneliness, that I'm an adult who has to live my own life.

At the time, the whole thing seemed totally flaky. But you know what? I felt so much better afterwards. I honestly haven't felt any irrational loneliness since then.

It's amazing how much these things can trickle down. Maybe your mom was abused as a child, so she learned to associate touching with negative feelings. As an adult, she continued to reject touching, and so did not provide her son with the touches a child needs to grow up healthy.

Again, I'm just throwing out possibilities, not saying "THIS is why you feel this way." But these are things you can explore with a professional who's trained in this kind of thing.
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2012, 12:47 AM
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I'd absolutely die if I went three weeks without touch.

Poly has been a complete blessing for me in this. FBF, in the distant past, used to occasionally flinch from my touch. This caused me no end of pain (I didn't want to hurt him, I just wanted to touch). CBF and I cannot be in each other's presence without touching. He always, and I mean every time, leans into my touch. I didn't understand how much I needed it until I was with him.

But I dated a lovely man long before FBF, and he touches everyone. When I first met him, he was freshly back from living six months in Brazil. He was nonplussed to return to the USA and become aware of how little touch goes on here. He has helped me to have more confidence about touching people (also getting older and not being afraid of as much).

So I don't completely rely upon my boyfriends for touch. I don't have as much as I want in my life, but I have to work on ensuring I don't starve.

I can completely understand what you wrote about the 'charge.' Me, my hands are totally sensitive, and I frequently forget. So if I'm touched the right way, I have totally body frissons (kriyas, shivers, it has many names), and it can be embarassing. FBF delights in creating them.

I recommend massage school. It's a completely respectable profession. The hardest part of it for me, was the ending of it. I was going to school every day and getting touched by lots of people. It was horrible withdrawals when it stopped. You could then become a teacher of massage, thus continuing the cycle. I was unable to continue because my body fell apart whilst I was in school (it wasn't just that, it was a perfect storm of awfulness that's not relevant to this story).

I would also suggest that if the woo energy management you learned isn't helping, then you haven't found the right help just yet. I, for one, don't see anything abnormal at all in your 'craving.' I do feel said that it's interfering with your happy life.
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with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
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