Creating A Touch Map
One of the best parts of my job as a professional sex and relationship therapist is helping couples come up with fun and playful ways of experimenting with their sex lives. Today I’m sharing a few of the exercises that have been most popular with my clients. Try them out with your partner tonight! If you’re interested in learning how exercises like these can help improve the communication, intimacy, and sexuality in your relationship, call (415) 658-5738 or visit my Appointments page to set up a consultation.
First, print out a handful of copies of human body outlines, like this one:
Take one copy for yourself and give the other to your partner. Take a few moments to think about what your ideal foreplay session would be in this moment, and think about which places on your body you would want to be touched. Think of how you would order those places, and write numbers onto the body outline based on the order that you come up with. For example, you might want to first be touched on your cheek, then your neck, then your shoulders, and so on. Base the order on what you are feeling in this particular moment; it’s ok if it would be completely different on another night. When you are finished, share your list with your partner, and have them share their list with you.
There are many other variations of this exercise that you can try. You can overlay this additional information on top of your outlines, or use a new outline for each variation.
- Write a sentence or two about how you would like to be touched in any particular part of your body. You might want to have your back tickled, your thigh kneaded, or your cheek caressed. Try to be as specific as possible. Consider what kind of pressure you might like, the speed, the emotional tone of the contact, and the amount of time you would want your partner to spend there.
- You could include what part of your partner’s body you would like them to touch each specific part of your body with. For example, you might wish to have them touch your throat with their lips, your belly with the palm of their hand, your feet with their feet, or your ear with their tongue.
- Try mapping out your safe zones and off-limits areas. This exercise can be particularly impactful for someone who has undergone sexual or physical abuse, or anyone who has a strong aversion to being touched in specific places. You may want to use words like “green” (meaning “good to touch”), “yellow (“sometimes ok to touch”) and “red” (“don’t ever touch”). Or you could number each area from 0-5, 0 being “off-limits”, 1 being “ok to touch, but not very pleasurable”, and 5 being “love to be touched”. Even if you have been with your partner for a long time, you may be surprised to see how little or how much they enjoy being touched on certain parts of their body.
- Create a map of what you enjoy about touching your partner’s body. You may love stroking her collarbone, licking his happy trail, or massaging her feet.
After you have completed your maps, take some time to share and discuss them with your partner. Do you notice any similarities between your maps? What about differences? Are you surprised by your partner’s maps? Do either of the maps stir up any reactions? Are you both willing to try touching each other in the ways you have mapped out?