I remember one time doing a massage exchange when I felt very uncertain and lacked confidence.
That experience took place many years ago, when I was paired up with someone in an intimacy workshop. During the introductions, my partner had spoken casually, confidently and at length about their experience with sensual massage.
I was impressed and intimidated. This showed in how I touched them. My lack of confidence lead to an experience that was unpleasant for both giver and receiver.
While confidence comes from practice it’s also true that acting confident helps – even if at first, you’re not feeling it.
There’s an old saying about confidence, “Fake it until you make it.” This reminds us that acting confident helps us to feel more confident.
When you touch someone with confidence, you strengthen the underlying intention for your time together.
If you touch them timidly and uncertainly, it’s easy for the person receiving touch to get caught up in concerns about you and your experience.
How you are feeling when you touch someone can very easily be conveyed through your touch. If you’re focused on feelings of anxiety, “Will I do this right,” that is likely to feel unsettling. It might even be anxiety producing for the receiver.
A confident touch can help you to be calmer. It will also help keep you from passing along anxiety or any other negative emotions.
When you touch with confidence, it’s easier for the other person to relax. It’s also easier for them to give feedback that will help you provide more pleasure for them.
Here are some specific things you can do right away to convey more confidence in your touch.
1. Touch with your full hand
Unless you are using a specific technique that calls for something else (like tickling), rest your full hand on your partner.
Make sure your full palm makes contact.
Hold your fingers together.
This conveys confidence and is more stabilizing and reassuring for the receiver.
Some people who lack confidence touch with fingertips only. Or they splay their fingers apart.
Both convey uncertainty to the receiver, especially touching with fingertips only.
This uncertainty makes it hard for the receiver’s nervous system to fully relax. They’re more likely to remain in a vigilant state.
2. Use a relaxed firmness
Do you remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? One bowl of oatmeal was too cold, one too hot and the other just right.
See if you can find the Goldilocks level of firmness in your touch.
Try this simple experiment. Hold your hand over your thigh or another horizontal body surface (like your stomach if you’re lying down). Let your hand touch the skin, but just barely.
Keep it almost hovering over the skin so it’s only making slight contact. Now move it side to side. This may feel ticklish or awkward. Unless there is a specific reason for it – like tickling or teasing – it may convey uncertainty and timidity.
Now give some pressure. Push the palm of your hand in as firmly as you can without causing injury. What is that like as you move your hand side to side,
This is likely to take a lot of effort for the giver. Its true pressure may feel good on some stiff muscles.
However, for most of the body, and for creating sensuality, the extra pressure is likely to be uncomfortable. The exertion needed for that extra pressure will also tire you out a lot faster.
Now just rest your hand on your thigh. Let the full weight of it rest there. Don’t push down. Don’t use your arm muscles to support the weight of your hand. Now without lifting your hands or pushing down, move it side to side.
This last approach is a lot closer to that Goldilocks pressure that feels “just right” to receive.
When you next have a chance, try this experiment with a partner, letting them experiment on you, too.
3. Place your full attention on your hands
We live in a society that values multi-tasking. There are many short term rewards to doing several things at once.
However, when it comes to something that is truly important, focused attention is important and valued. Consider jobs like doing surgery or flying an airplane. We expect the professionals who do these tasks to give it their full, undivided attention.
We might say we value the sensual touch with another person enough to give it our full attention, but are you really doing that?
The problem is that in our society most people have trained themselves to automatically multi-task, to let our minds go nonstop at high speed.
The proliferation of mobile devices means most people have a TV and computer in their pocket. This makes the social conditioning to multi-task even stronger.
Even if you intend to give your partner your full attention the mind is more likely to wander due to this social conditioning.
When it comes to sensual touch, sexual interaction, or a massage exchange, the perceived quality of your touch is directly connected to how focused your attention is.
If you’re not fully in the experience, the other person will feel it. It may be subtle, but they’ll feel your absence.
The simple solution to this is to place your attention on your hands, where they meet your partner’s body.
What does this feel like right now, And, with every movement of your hand – right now,
Any time your mind wanders, bring it back to the question of what does it feel like physically and emotionally in this moment touching this few inches of my partner’s body,
4. Move your hands slowly and deliberately
One of the most common mistakes people make with erotic touch and sensual massage is moving their hands too quickly.
Yes, there is a time and place for quick movements. Some examples include erotic wrestling, chasing and tickling someone. Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian form of sensual massage involves quick movements.
However, for most forms of sensual touch you’re looking to help the other person relax. The more their nervous system is calmed, the more pleasure most people can feel.
Moving your hands quickly when you touch someone is likely to put their nervous system on alert. It’s the same biological reaction that comes from danger.
Thousands of years ago, this was encoded in our evolutionary biology. Survival depended on being alert for unexpected attacks from tigers and warring tribes.
Today, it’s the reaction you have when you’re start to cross the street and a car unexpectedly comes flying around a corner. Your body releases cortisol and muscles tense. You might jump back onto the curb even if you’re not at risk of being hit. And, more subtly, it’s the same reaction as when your boss sends you an urgent email at 9 pm.
When touching your partner, bring awareness to how quickly you are moving your hands.
Now, see if you can slow your hands. Move them more deliberately.
One of the reasons people move their hands too quickly during sensual massage is they’re not sure what to do or how to move their hands.
The simple answer to this is to slow down. It doesn’t even hurt to pause.
Just hold your hands completely still, letting the weight of your hands rest firmly on your partner, without exerting any pressure.
Keeping your awareness on where your palms meet your partner’s body, take 2 or 3 slow deep breaths.
Then decide how you’ll move your hands next. Will that be in an up and down motion, A circle, A figure eight,
As long as you’re not pressing down too hard or rushing too fast, any of these can work and feel good.
5. Feedback is important too
The one thing I haven’t touched on is getting feedback from your partner. This is an important topic of its own.
I’ve noticed that many people are not comfortable asking for the receiver’s input at the beginning.
They may worry they won’t be able to do what is asked for. Another reason is that often people simply don’t know how they like to be touched. Or they may know what it feels like but be uncertain how to explain it.
Instead, you could ask your partner to experiment with you using the suggestions here.
Or just experiment and then ask them how it feels. What felt great? What might be better if it was a little different?
Confident touch is possible and it matters
Conveying confidence in your touch is important because your partner will be more relaxed and feel more pleasure
It will also help you feel better about what you’re doing. You’ll be better able to access your innate ability to touch.
Although an important part of confidence comes from practice, if you act confident both you and your partner will feel it. If you allow anxiety to creep into your hands, your partner will have a harder time relaxing.
Touch with your full hands. Use a relaxed firmness or Goldilocks touch.
Place your full attention on your hands and your partner. Move slowly and deliberately
When it comes to sensual touch that promotes intimacy and feels great, these factors are much more important than any techniques or special ways to move your hands.