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A high five hands on yours, a hug from a family member…we have
recognized the therapeutic healing power associated with feel and touch for a
long time now. Yet research has shown that even small expressions, little
touches, as well as physical contact between individuals, leads to surprisingly
good behavioral adjustments.
In one study conducted with Brigham Young University, research
workers trained partners to keep them self updated on one another’s feeling by
means of nonsexual touch of the neck, shoulders as well as hands. They
discovered that couples which practiced this kind of contact acquired higher
levels of oxytocin, the hormone which boosts the sensation regarding binding as
well as wellbeing, and resulting in a lowered level of apha ayylase, a tension
signal stress indicator, than partners who had not receive the instructive
This past year the New York Times reported that students
who obtained any supportive touch such as a mild pat on the shoulder from a
teacher have been about twice as prone to volunteer in class as those who did
not…and that the same type touch from a physician made patients think that
their physician's check-up had lasted twice as long as those that had not
received the physical contact.
And also consider the high five or closed fists bumps? In a
study from University of California-Berkley scientists discovered that National
Basketball Association teams whose players had good positive tactile contact
performed far greater than teams that did not.
These studies concluded that physical contact appeared to
encourage cooperation…ease stress…and create a cozy as well as trusting
please, be sure to…hug your family members often…give your young ones all the
affectionate physical contact you can…and don’t hesitate to interact with
nonfamily members by simply placing your hand on their’s. That's effective
Kissing is more than a prelude to intimacy -- it is a healing act. A
triggers endorphins and melts away tension... brings us back into the moment...
restores energy... cultivates profound closeness... and contributes to a
fulfilling, loving relationship.
Most people kiss with
only a fraction of their awareness. They deliver quick, routine pecks that send
the message This is all the
time I have for you right now, or
engage in longer kisses while their minds are elsewhere, such as wondering
whether the kiss will lead to lovemaking.
Unfortunately, we lack
good role models for kissing. On TV and in the movies, kissing usually is
depicted as mashing lips together roughly. Mashing, puckering up and the quick smooch
all suggest that a person has predetermined how the kiss is going to be, rather
than letting the kiss evolve through the back-and-forth interplay between
The following exercises
can help anyone become a better kisser -- and are fun to do...
Surprise your partner
with a slow, luxuriant kiss. Place your hands on his/her face, and gently turn
it toward you. Look into his eyes and take two deep breaths -- as though you
are drinking in the essence of your partner. Continue to look into each other’s
eyes as you draw his face closer. Feel your connection to each other throughout
your whole body. Don’t kiss yet -- instead, revel in your partner’s nearness
and enjoy the tease and the hunger that precede the actual kiss. Finally, gently
embrace your partner’s lips by wrapping both your lips around one of his. Keep
breathing as you let your whole body sense the tenderness between you.
DEVELOP YOUR SENSES
We spend a great deal of
time thinking and planning and not enough time sensing and experiencing. To be
better kissers and truly enjoy kissing, we need to reconnect with our bodies.
becoming aware of physical sensations during everyday actions. When you walk, feel the sensation of your foot
striking and coming off the pavement and the temperature of the air on your
face. When cooking, let yourself fully appreciate the aroma and visual splendor
of the food you are preparing. In the shower, feel the pulse and heat of the
water on your skin.
favorite variety of chocolate, and eat it as slowly as possible. First, gaze at it, appreciating its shape and
color. Place it in your mouth. Before biting down, notice how it feels against
your tongue. As you slowly consume it, savor the changes in texture and flavor.
massages with your partner, taking
time to enjoy the relaxation and stimulation that arise from the sensitive
nerve endings in the feet.
When you kiss,
extend your sensual awareness to your partner as you delight in stroking his face and hair and inhaling his scent.
pillow talk. Before or after
making love, or any time you are cuddling, share with your partner something
he/she did that made you feel good. Example: "When you touched me this
morning, I felt alive, and I kept feeling your touch all day long."
Make noise. When you are kissing, notice any urge to sigh,
murmur or even moan. Give in to the urge to express your feelings in sound.
GET IN RHYTHM
partner’s breathing. You can do
this without telling the other person -- just pay attention to the pace of your
partner’s breath, and breathe in time with it. This creates a deep sense of
connection. The two of you also can do this together, consciously, deciding who
will match whom. For most couples, it is a good idea for the man to match the
woman’s breathing first. Many women are used to attuning themselves to others,
and they feel deeply appreciated when a partner attunes to them.
Don’t feel that you have
to be serious doing this exercise. If you find yourselves giggling, that’s even
better. Laughter is a powerful connecting force.
Put on some
tango or other Latin music, embrace each other and dance around the room as you
kiss. Feel the rhythm of the music
throughout your body. Improvise with your lips as you let the music inspire
offering and receiving. Have one
partner be the "lead kisser" for five minutes, then reverse roles for
five minutes. After that, let spontaneity take over as each of you leads and
It’s never too early or
too late to begin a conversation about what you prefer in a kiss. Do you like
moisture? How much? Yes, a
little, not so I have to wipe off my face, and never in my ear. Oh, and no loud
smacking kisses anywhere near my ears, please. Share feedback about what you and your partner most enjoy. Build on
this, and keep adding to your repertoire for as long as you two shall kiss.
A word about tongues: As kissing continues, use your
lips and tongue to invite your beloved’s tongue to come and play. Tongues
become something of a third lip, adding dimension and complexity to the kiss.
Kisses, like your breath, your touch and your connection, become more fully and
deeply engaged as you share your energy back and forth. The conversation of
tongues becomes more expressive -- teeth begin to nibble and grab, sucking of
lip or tongue may ensue and a pause of lip-locked stillness can open the moment
into a rush of pure connection, engendering passion and floods of hormones.
Cherie Byrd, MA, is a holistic psychotherapist based
in Seattle, who has been practicing and teaching the art and energy of intimacy
for more than 35 years. She opened the Kissing School in Seattle in 1998.