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Old 04-10-2009, 05:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Skin hunger

I first read about this a few minutes ago when tigerlilly meantioned in in one of her posts.

From http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1516458:

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From the 2 words, skin and hunger, it describes the desire or craving to be touched, usually from a long period of deprivation.

Skin hunger is a relatively new term that has been applied to the emotional response engendered by the loss of touch in our society. One of the five basic senses, touch is the only one deemed essential to human life. During WW II babies in orphanages developed Failure to thrive or even died when deprived of human contact. In a classic study by Harry Harlow, newborn monkeys were taken from their biological mothers and given surrogates made of either wire or soft terry cloth. The baby monkeys consistently chose the soft mother even when deprived of nourishment. The need for bonding outweighed even the basic necessity of food.

The need for touch extends beyond the early developmental years. It is the first sense to develop in utero and the last to diminish as we die. Babies and children with loving parents are cuddled and kissed and touched. As a child ages he seeks to become more independent and may even resist too much lovin'. How many of us parents have mourned the day our children became too big to sit in our laps anymore? Boys, especially, are discouraged from showing too much affection. To be a man means to be strong and stoic and emotion is deemed a sign of weakness.

Adolescence is a time of self discovery and growing sexual awareness. As kids grow into teens they may seek sexual intimacy even when not emotionally ready because the need for touch is so strong. How many girls have had sex prematurely when all they really wanted was to be held? Compounding the problem, many parents will decrease physical contact with their teens because of fears of inappropriateness.

Maturing into adults we face a world that explodes with sexual images but discourages more than a friendly nod or a handshake in public. Sexuality is OK but intimacy is not.

The elderly, the disabled and the very ill, aka the "Untouchables", are at greatest risk of touch deprivation. Living in isolated homes, the elderly and the disabled often have limited mobility and fears of victimization may prevent their venturing out. People with a terminal illness like HIV may have very little contact with another human being due to inherent fears of the disease. Although not as fulfilling as human contact, a pet may provide the bonding and comfort needed.

Americans, especially, suffer from a lack of intimacy with each other. Following a research project on touch around the world, social scientists rated the United States and Great Britain among the lowest touch countries studied. The "warmer" high-touch countries included Spain, France, Italy, and Greece.

Tiffany Field, Director of Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami, feels touch is essential to how we learn, feel and think. A study conducted by Field compared the interaction of mothers and their children at playgrounds and McDonalds in Miami and Paris. The Parisian mothers touched their children far more often than their American counterparts. In addition, the French children displayed much less aggression than the American children.

The power of touch pervades all areas of our society. Salesmen may use a light touch to influence a potential client into a sale. Waitresses have been found to receive larger tips if they subtly touch a patron.

But the most well known association to touch is healing. The bible often makes reference to the "laying on of hands" to heal the sick. The word surgeon has its roots in the Greek word kheirourgos meaning "hand healer".

The modern healing touch can be found in different types of body work including massage, rolfing or reike, among others. Therapeutic massage is the most well known and accepted method of healing sore and injured muscles, reducing pain as well as imparting a feeling of relaxation and good will to the client. People experiencing skin hunger may often seek out massage just to satisfy their craving for touch.

What has led us to be so touch deprived?

Four trends in our society take most of the blame:

Technology

The age of technology has allowed us to interact with others around the world via satellites and microchips but has dehumanized our daily lives. In a recent poll Americans rated the cell phone as the device they hate the most, but can't live without. We interact more with our time-saving devices than we do with each other.

Children of busy mothers may often be "surrounded by plastic". From the day care center to the home environment, infants are "contained" in car seats, strollers and playpens. When mom is too tired or busy to attend to them, children may be plunked in front of the electronic babysitter, the TV. Contrast this to the child who is held all day, snuggled close in a baby carrier, or has the opportunity to interact and play freely with his environment.

Disconnected lifestyles

Urbanization, two career families and the loss of the extended family have led us to isolation.

Husband and wives, caught up in work and family obligations, are often too exhausted to give each other the affection needed. A recent Newsweek cover story focused on the "so-called epidemic of low-sex or no sex marriages in America."1

We rarely know our neighbors or live close to parents and grandparents. We are suspicious of strangers and carefully guard our personal space when we meet new people. Only in small cities and towns in America do you find the connectedness and community needed to "keep in touch".

A Litigious Society
Touching someone can be a federal offense these days. With the new sexual harassment laws many people are afraid to extend a warm hug or a friendly touch. In addition, with the increase in child molestation, we must guard our children's safety and teach them the difference between good and bad touching. Unfortunately for our children, that means their caregivers must be especially guarded in showing them affection, even when appropriate.

The media

Relaxed morals in mass media portray an unrealistic view of sexuality and relationships which can lead to inappropriate behavior and desires. We want what we see on the silver screen even if it is unattainable, further feeding our skin hunger.

To touch is to be human. It makes us feel valued and cared for. However, everyone is not comfortable with being touched. Some cultures and religions forbid touching someone other than a family member. When first meeting someone, take a clue from how they react to others and you will know if it is OK to approach. Just a pat on the shoulder or a touch on the hand is a caring gesture.

Now that you know how important it is, "reach out and touch someone" today!
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Fascinating article. Made me think of the "Free Hugs" videos on youtube. I think there is a lot of truth here.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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This is really interesting.
Because of my SA I don't really like people touching me, all I really want is to feel loved and to love someone I guess, touch isn't that important. Underneath it probably is though...
Shaking hands or having to kiss someone on the cheek when meeting them is the worst :/
I need to get over my fear of this
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I miss being intimate with a girl. I think it's been over a year now since that last happend. Having a girl in your arms is a great feeling, but I get easily aroused and things 'pop up' if you know what I mean and it can make things awkward lol.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Under Pressure View Post
I miss being intimate with a girl. I think it's been over a year now since that last happend. Having a girl in your arms is a great feeling, but I get easily aroused and things 'pop up' if you know what I mean and it can make things awkward lol.
LMAFOOOO

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Old 04-10-2009, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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That is so interesting and a lot of it sounds so true. Especially after something I was reading last night. I won't say what it was because I'm not sure it's appropriate for the forum.

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Originally Posted by lucyinthesky View Post
This is really interesting.
Because of my SA I don't really like people touching me, all I really want is to feel loved and to love someone I guess, touch isn't that important. Underneath it probably is though...
Shaking hands or having to kiss someone on the cheek when meeting them is the worst :/
I need to get over my fear of this
Same here. As a child and teen, I would cringe when I had to go with anyone to any dinners or to church or anything like that because EVERYONE would want to kiss and hug me all the time. Ugh! The horror of it all. I still hate it to this day.

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Originally Posted by Under Pressure View Post
I miss being intimate with a girl. I think it's been over a year now since that last happend. Having a girl in your arms is a great feeling, but I get easily aroused and things 'pop up' if you know what I mean and it can make things awkward lol.
I don't mean to laugh, but that is funny.
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Old 04-10-2009, 03:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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you know, (i don't remember when this happened) there were/are? huge orphanages in russia with like a thousand kids each, and they didn't have enough caretakers to hold all the children and give them enough attention... anyway it got into the news in europe and the US and couples all over started adopting these kids from russia, and then terrible things happened. like the kids would attack their adoptive families' other children, or mutilate family pets, or draw disturbing violent scenes and stuff, all at a really young age. the lack of contact as babies had made them into violent sociopaths.
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Old 04-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Iced Soul View Post
Same here. As a child and teen, I would cringe when I had to go with anyone to any dinners or to church or anything like that because EVERYONE would want to kiss and hug me all the time. Ugh! The horror of it all. I still hate it to this day.
i'm weird for an SA girl i guess... i don't especially like hugging strangers, but i need a lot of physical contact. i like hugging my friends and people at my church. i'm a very cuddly person.
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Old 04-10-2009, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by tigerlilly View Post
i'm weird for an SA girl i guess... i don't especially like hugging strangers, but i need a lot of physical contact. i like hugging my friends and people at my church. i'm a very cuddly person.
No, I don't think you're weird.
You said friends and people at your church (whom I assume you know at least somewhat), but not really anyone else.
I've only really had one friend and I'm fine with him touching me, but anyone else, no. And I stayed to myself at church (didn't talk or interact with anyone, the one girl I did talk to ran away from home, so I never saw her again), so I didn't really know anyone, so they were pretty much strangers that I saw twice a week, to me.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Just like the behavior of my dog who is scared to be touched but craves attention.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Yes, I think I may have this, but at the same time I have OCD so slight germophobia.


This reminds me of the deaf Japanese girl in the movie Babel.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Other than my immediate family I have never had any contact with anyone with occasional exceptions every several years...it sucks. So I guess in terms of "skin hunger" I'm anorexic and starving lol
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Good Article! I can relate too it indeed

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Originally Posted by Bredwh View Post
This reminds me of the deaf Japanese girl in the movie Babel
That's very true, she was an interesting character in that film
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Under Pressure View Post
I miss being intimate with a girl. I think it's been over a year now since that last happend. Having a girl in your arms is a great feeling, but I get easily aroused and things 'pop up' if you know what I mean and it can make things awkward lol.
I crave the same 'warm' feeling you get when you hold a girl in your arms. It's wonderful. It beats any other feeling on the planet, in my opinion even better than you know what. What would make it even better is if you were also very emotionally close to that person.

I think it's a common thing for some SA'ers to long for human contact and connection, for we do mostly find it virtually unnattainable a good deal of the time. I think this could almost be a form of connection hunger as well i.e having the access to intimacy, mutual understanding, sexual healing etc etc.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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When I saw the thread title I thought it would either be about people eating scabs(ewww) or zombies. It is an interesting article. I like the part about our society exploiting sexuality, but criticizing intimacy because it's so true.
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Old 04-11-2009, 02:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I didn't read all of that but i think i got the jist of it.

I feel really uncomfortable when strange people come close to me or touch me but I do like it when friends touch me...and thats guy friends...touching girl friends is a little more uncomfortable because im not really used to it apart from my sister.

But yeah ive grown up without a mother so im not used to being hugged...the only person that hugs me is my sister and i actually feel a little uncomfortable when she does that. I hug my friends occasionally (normally when drinking) and yeah I wish we'd touch more...I guess I need some girl friends cause they are more into that stuff.

But yes in general I feel like I need to touch people...but people I'm friends with.
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaiyyson View Post
I crave the same 'warm' feeling you get when you hold a girl in your arms. It's wonderful.
that is exactly what skin hunger is.

and i think a lot of people with SA have it. i know i do. i miss being hugged. hugs are wonderful :[
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:56 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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This was a good read, all very true. Apparently I suffer from skin hunger too.

I'm a hugger. I like physical contact, being hugged, doing the hugging, etc. but my SA usually prevents me from initiating it. Usually the other person has to do it to me first before I'll feel OK making even the slightest bit of contact with them. I otherwise feel like an intrusion. So.... I don't get much in the way of physical contact.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaiyyson View Post
I crave the same 'warm' feeling you get when you hold a girl in your arms. It's wonderful. It beats any other feeling on the planet, in my opinion even better than you know what. What would make it even better is if you were also very emotionally close to that person.

I think it's a common thing for some SA'ers to long for human contact and connection, for we do mostly find it virtually unnattainable a good deal of the time. I think this could almost be a form of connection hunger as well i.e having the access to intimacy, mutual understanding, sexual healing etc etc.
Yea I think this is relatively common for not just women, but males as well. I know I sure as hell miss having that intimate connection, both mental and physical, with a beautiful woman.

I've got you beat Under Pressure; been almost 2 years for me now of not having any real intimate contact with a female I was attracted to.........over a year since I've even bothered going on a first date(just too much anxiety for me and I am a wuss with rejection).

But I think we all long to feel the warmth and comfort you get from having an intimate partner that you can just touch, hold, play with their fingers......and all that other romanticism garbage I still hold dear to me for some reason........I try telling myself I'm a little wuss and stuff, haha, especially when I get into this mood/depression on random nights where I am just feel entirely all alone and miss the comfort I've had in past, intimate relationships.

I honestly think it's even worse, for both guys and girls, that have had that "special someone" at one point in their life and then lost that partner some how. Living with a heart that's shattered is annoying.........depressing initially, then over time if you can't overcome it and move on it really just becomes this monkey on your back.......can't escape it, but you can't move on and seek out a new relationship and partner; both because of this aspect and obviously the whole SA part of things.

Bah! Like all of you I hate this subject. I feel so worthless saying that I'm lonely and crave the sensual touch of a womans simple hand........
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Bah! Like all of you I hate this subject. I feel so worthless saying that I'm lonely and crave the sensual touch of a womans simple hand........
I happen to think that is completely sweet. Sad, but sweet.
Hopefully, you'll find someone soon.
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