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Touchy-Feely

weather: cloudy
outside: 5.9°C
mood: contemplative
The subject of touch/physical contact came up in a community I read regularly.

I flinch at strangers touching me. On a bus or a public bench, I will sit as far away from the nearest human possible.

I have NO history of sexual abuse, no history of abuse of any sort for that matter. The only person that touches me at all, most of the time, is my husband. We're almost always holding hands when we're together, in public or not. We hug, lean on each other, sit very close together and play-fight a lot.

Asian women tend to hold hands and/or link arms; that's just a cultural norm. I thought I was going to explode the first time my Mother-in-Law linked arms with me, one day, way back when. I think I've gotten used to the arm linking. The only time I hug her is when she's just about to get on a plane to travel somewhere or the first time I see her after she comes back.

When we touch someone we love, we secrete hormones, one of which is the now well-known oxytocin, that biochemically bond us to those we love. It's an important part of the bonding process. Some people simply don't need it as much and get along just fine. They secrete the chemicals they need when they are in close proximity to their lovers and when they make love. It's highly individual.

Most of the INTJ profiles I've read will say something about not wanting to be touched. I found it very true. I'm not sure if it's because of my excessively utilitarian upbringing or if it's my lack of need for oxytocin. It's probably both.

Now that I think about it, the lack of need for physical contact and, therefore, oxytocin, correlates with the fact that A) I don't have many close friends and B) I don't see a huge problem with that.


Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
yueni
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC)
Most of the INTJ profiles I've read will say something about not wanting to be touched.

Wow. I'm an INTP, so not really too far off, but I'm finding that to be very true as well. I do hug people within a certain group of friends if I haven't seen them in a while because as a group, they tend towards the touchy feely, and I'll get pounced on either way. So I take the initiative to hug them, because then I get control over the hug.

I am a lot more "touchy feely" online, I think because you can *hug* somebody in comments and not actually have physical contact in real life. Interesting. Something to ponder.

Although, caveat is that I would like somebody to be touchy feely with on a permanent level at some point when I feel comfortable enough to do so.
bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
I'm okay with hugging good friends too. And, yeah, virtual hugs are more of an expression than an act, for me.
sapientmusings
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:18 am (UTC)
As an ISTJ/INTJ (I'm on the cusp, apparently), I'm totally with you. Sitting apart from people, sometimes standing around at a bus stop rather than sitting just so I DON'T have to be right next to a person... I do like to hug whomever I'm in a relationship with, of course, but generally don't want to be touched (or risk being touched) otherwise - no history of abuse here, either, of any kind. Sometimes it really freaks me out. I also don't have a whole lot of close friends, and I definitely don't see a problem with that. It's kind of liberating, actually.

Do large social events where you don't know more than a few people freak you out as well? I was invited to a party on Friday night but the guy inviting me said "more than 100 people are going to be there." INSTANT alarm bells in my mind to avoid that party...
bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
As an ISTJ/INTJ (I'm on the cusp, apparently)

I think I am too... on some tests I'm an 'S', on some I'm an 'N', but always IxTJ.

Do large social events where you don't know more than a few people freak you out as well?

I'd definitely prefer smaller groups (about 30-40), but I'm not too bad with larger groups either. I find that I end up socializing with 5-10 people in total, about 2 or 3 at a time and get to know that small group, being cordial with, but mostly ignoring the rest. If you think about it that way, it might not be as alarming =)

I'd go if there were a reason (a wedding or some kind of meaningful gathering).
karinakarina
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)
oh wow! i thought i was developing some sort of disorder because i hate it when other people touch me, especially strangers. i'm very affectionate with boyfriends though.

good to know i'm not alone.
bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
Unless it's really affecting your ability to function, do your job, or otherwise live your life, I'd say don't worry about it, that's just who you are.

If you're worried enough about it, you might also consider exploring _why_ you hate it when people touch you just to get to the root of what's bothering you so that you can know how to avoid it or communicate it to people or somehow try to overcome it.
chenpion
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:56 am (UTC)
Y'all are freaks... j/k =)
... speaking as an ENTJ/ESTJ.

Do you really think that's more of an I instead of E thing, or the Chinese culture in general? I'm more touchy-feely than the... average Chinese, but I know most of my classmates (Overseas born Chinese raised in an international school) don't like it. On the other hand, the -really- touchy-feely types give me chills.
bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Y'all are freaks... j/k =)
It could very well be a cultural thing...
(Deleted comment)
sophia
Mar. 16th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
i too flinch/ hate it.

no idea what personality type i am tho. must find out
nicosian
Mar. 16th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
I haaate getting accosted, patted, hugged, by uber touchy feely people. I detest it. Usually, it's women who feel the need to be constantly touching me and it just makes me want to scream. They usually do it as a matter of habit and when they're discussing something and they do it to everyone. when you say "I do not like to be touched" they look like you've asked them to grow a second head. I think they have an overabundance of touchy feeling hormone. Eeeh.

Hugging my friends, ok. My husband, hell yeah. Strangers/co workers? keep yer freaking hands to yourself, damn you.

bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
they look like you've asked them to grow a second head.

Yup. They're very taken aback. I don't think they realize that they're doing that. I've started ducking or just staying further away. =)
kaseido
Mar. 16th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
Hmm - I hadn't thought about it this way, but... I'm a highly flirty INTJ, and while I'm very physical with other people - I want it to be on *my* terms, and when other people touch me unbidden, it can freak me. Not that it happens much - my shields are *very* strong, and it's very, very rare that anybody tries to push me on anything. Interesting...
bride
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Heh, sometimes if I see a co-worker or acquaintence with a label sticking up from their shirt, I'll actually fix it for them. =D It always someone that I know and talk to on a regular basis though.
kaseido
Mar. 16th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, yeah - on *our* terms. That makes sense!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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