I realized that I want more cuddles from my friends. I don't feel touch-deprived at all, because in my relationship with Topaz we do share a lot of touch and I find it really nourishing. But it is important to me to have that dimension in my friendships, to participate in the non-verbal communication that happens only through touch. I want to feel cozy with the people I care about. And pretty much all (all but one maybe?) of my local friends are super cuddly, so where is the disconnect that leads to nothing more than greeting and parting hugs?
The disconnect is two-fold. On the one hand, I am super careful about consent, so I am not going to touch someone unless I am sure that they want it -- but I don't think to ask, so I exist in a state of not-knowing and therefore not-doing. On the other hand, I do not want to have to do all of the initiating or all of the giving, and I have gotten into that pattern so many times that I think I'm gun-shy about starting out with giving. It's not really a rational fear, I don't think, as I am pretty sure that my friends are generous with touch. But thinking about all of this made me realize that I need to verbalize these things now that I have made them consciously realized. As I talked with Cass about this, we cuddled -- walking with arms around each other or holding hands or stroking each others' shoulders. And it made me feel so satisfied and it made me feel more able to understand Cass in a way that I can't explain, and most of all it made me feel unafraid. I think in an ambient environment of no cuddles I feel anxious, I feel afraid of accidentally crossing boundaries that I didn't know existed, because it is unnatural to me to not cuddle and I have to be constantly aware of what NOT to do.
I also started thinking again about questions, about how being asked deep personal questions is such a sign of desire for intimacy and also a sign of respect. I realized that intimacy practice is actually meeting that need for me in a much bigger way than I realized, but that it is also something I want more of. I want to be prompted to share more, share new levels, look at things I haven't considered.