I was appalled when I looked up the definition for sensual. I agree with the definition that it is something that “relates to or affects the senses or sensory organs,” but was shocked to see the second listing on my google search… lacking in moral restraints, lewd, or unchaste? WTF?! I can see where a religious entity or morally rigid person could contort the meaning of the word to apply it to their teachings and/or way of life. But to have the word sen>su>al tossed into a pile of “bad” words in an actual online reference is simply ludicrous. Give synonyms?! Say it “suggests” something that could be brought on by something lacking in moral restraints, but to say the DEFINITION of sensual is lewd??!! C’mon…
The definition of sexual contact accroding to the free dictionary, is as what I expected. Concise, explicit, and straightforward. "The touching of ... any other person's intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the other person's intimate parts"
So how do these two concepts get confused?
The word sensual gets lumped in with sex all too often, when in actuality, both are able to exist without the other. One can have a sensual experience without involving sex, just as one can have sex without it being sensual. Great sex generally involves more than penetration. When lovers can connect with their senses and be aware of their physical, mental, and emotional self during sex, the results can be… well, explosive.
Let’s just talk about one of our senses-TOUCH. It seems these days that many of us are disconnected with our physical self. We are afraid to make contact with ourselves, or each other. We neglect one of the most vital needs we have as human beings, the need to be touched. There have been studies which concluded that babies who didn’t get enough physical contact were more likely to die. There was ample nutrition, shelter, and care, but deprived of human touch, they withered away. Today in nurseries around the world, babies in the NICU are allotted “touch time,” to ensure they are getting their daily dose of affection.
When was the last time you touched your partner outside of the bedroom? Do you even caress and squeeze and hold them IN the bedroom? Perhaps you hold their hand or pat their ass, but do you hold their face? Kiss their shoulder? Caress their back? When was the last time you touched them for the sake of being sensual? Not sexual…not with any intention of having actual sex…but simply because it felt good to touch them?
Do you touch strangers? I do it all the time, I meet people in the AcroYoga community who fly me on their feet, and hold my hands, and touch my shoulders, among other areas... It is a warm, connective way to exercise, gain balance, stretch, get strong, and build friendships.
Does this make me a flirt?
I opened my inbox one day to find an email that boasted “The Art of Flirting,” I was surprised to see the following:
1. Eye contact
3. Laughing at jokes
4. Using their name in conversation
5. Touching them while talking to them.
Based on these five bullet points, I flirt with everyone I ever come into contact with!! GUILTY! But what shocked me about this list, was that THIS is what is considered flirting in our society? What happened to actual words? Context? The suggestion of romance or sex… don’t these things count? Isn’t the purpose of “flirting” to express sexual availability and interest? Are we so deprived for human connection that engaging in any type of connected interaction is considered a flirtation? I assure you that I am an educated, confident woman, who IF I were sexually available or interested in you, would be quite capable of clearly relaying that message to you. I hope that more people will blur these imposed lines (who created them anyway?!) with me. I choose NOT to live in a world where men need to be seduced into a financial arrangement with women, where women are not property to be possessed. I CHOOSE to live in a world, where men and women can be intimate friends, and then communicate their needs and desires if they crave more.
I am saddened for our future if basic human behaviors aren’t safe from assumption and insinuation. I hope that more people will continue to simply laugh, smile, call me by name, and look me in the eye, while touching me in appropriate ways…