I Don't Understand Why I Don't Like Being Touched

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 08:37
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Hi Dr. Betty,

I feel a bit abnormal for admitting this, but I have never liked being touched. Massages, pedicures, etc. are fine, but I don’t like hugs or kisses, even from my husband. When he touches me I stiffen up and feel very uncomfortable. In order to have sex I have to have at least a glass of wine to relax enough just to stand it.

This is particularly a problem right now because alcohol is off-limits (I’m pregnant). There’s also no incentive to have sex because I don’t get any physical gratification whatsoever. We’ve been married a few years and there’s been no improvement. I really don’t understand what’s wrong because I fantasize about sex with him, I’m attracted to him, and I REALLY want physical intimacy (not to mention an orgasm), but when the time comes, I just want run.

Is there anything I can do to become more comfortable with touch? I’m so frustrated!


Dear E,

Although it's fairly rare, I know both women and men who feel the same as you. For all of them, it led back to a memory of a parent or care giver who bathed them is a rough and uncomfortable manner or an overly doting parent who felt free to constantly arrange, mess with and fiddle with some aspect of their person.

Some touch was sexually inappropriate and others were intrusive like my friend with an over-bearing mother. I would recommend seeing a counselor to sort this out. In the meantime, massive doses of self love and masturbating to orgasm is advised.

Dr Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Understanding not Liking Being Touched – !Normal Neurobiology!

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:37
??? feminist indignation ??? (not verified)

Dear E,

      I would echo what Betty said. Yours is a
most interesting question as well suited for this blog it is dedicated to
learning about physical contact between intimates as well as between strangers
(Betty’s group sex). The romance novels would lead us to believe your anxiety
is rear but in reality all of us suffer from the same sort of fear of being
exposed to others. Men seem to shake it off easier than woman it’s why they
arouse faster but we all have the same neurobiologies that get in the way of
how we think we aught to be.

      Your aversion to being exposed a bit more pronounced but all triggers activate similarly below our Level of Consciousness. Therefore it is NOT a question being touched or even the trigger that activates this emotion. The question is how we deal with the emotions form
the trigger that leads to change. It has nothing to do with how much you do or
don’t love either yourself or your husband.


      Oddly as you point out touching by strangers is easier than with someone you depend on like your husband. That’s not at all surprising. It is likely that after marriage the reactions to being exposed (touched) became greater. What you are experiencing is
neurobiologically speaking normal! If you look at this through an Attachment
Lens there is certain logic. It is that you are so much in love; depend so
heavily on him for your well being that risking loosing that unconditional
support from him is fearful. Fearful because of some trigger totally unrelated
to your life with him activates. And you have these feelings of aversion
despite sexual lust and vivid fantasies. It’s confusing like a lot of what our
primal neuralgic system does for us with out our awareness or consent.

      Discovering the cause of the trigger is no where near as important as reprogramming your brain to deal with the triggers differently when they occur. You must do the due diligence to find a skilled therapist who has a track record in helping people explore and deal
with themselves. Most therapists don’t! Most therapists have real problems
exploring sex. The your therapist should have to have a firm understanding of
what is happening with your neurobiology and show you and your husband
method(s) to reappraise, self and social regulate. You might want to check out
EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) counselors Certified by Susan M. Johnson (http://www.iceeft.com/ ) or
look into the John and Julie Gottman approach. Sue Johnson is all about very
focused therapy with a very limited number of visits. Beware of your best
friend who has sees the best counselor in your town for six months to years.
You don’t want to wait indefinitely for results to come to your sex life and
your bonded relationship.

       With Johnson and Gottman you will find your husband to be a great ally, source of great support, and understanding. These approaches are about learning to support each other through learning about human neurobiology. While what you are experiencing may be disconcerting it is your neurobiologically speaking normally about a trigger in the context
of human attachment! We all have to learn how deal with our own and each
other’s neurology - that’s normal. That process is made much easier if you gain
emotional knowledge from academic research and people who have developed
therapeutic approaches from that science.

       Enjoy life, husband, baby and sex!