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Five Stages of Erotic Touch
Dr. Barry McCarthy, noted sex therapist and educator, has said that pleasure-oriented touch is a key to revitalizing and maintaining sexual desire. He postulates that touch is the foundation for erotic flow, leading to intimacy and sexual satisfaction. For men in particular, the goal for sensual touch to a woman has traditionally focused on readying her for intercourse and orgasm. Dr. Paul Standal believes, as Dr McCarthy, that sensual touch is a portal to a reciprocal, pleasure-oriented, sensual experience in which both men and women participate, with the main purpose of mutual satisfaction and engagement without the “finish line” necessarily being intercourse. It engenders an erotic flow between partners that Martin Buber has called an “I-Thou” relationship.
Dr. McCarthy describes five stages of erotic touch like five gears that move through mutual affectionate and playful sensuality, which can, but not necessarily does, lead to sexual intercourse.
Sensual touch can only be satisfying if both partners have willing participation and can say yes or no to the engagement without feeling controlled, manipulated or coerced.
Affectionate touch (holding hands, hugging), not sexual.
Sensual touch. Sensual, non-genital touch, clothed, semi-clothed or nude. Foot rubs, back rubs, trust positions, and cradling before sleep, leading to sexual desire at that time or later.
Playful touch intermixed with genital or non-genital touch (genital pleasuring), nude or semi-clothed. Showering together, body massage, etc.
Erotic touch. Most challenging gear. Non-intercourse touch, manual or oral rubbing or vibrator stimulating. Creating vitality, creativity and unpredictability. Mutual or one-way and can proceed to orgasm or to intercourse.
It is a natural continuation of pleasuring eroticism processes, not a pass-fail sex performance test. It is part of the erotic flow.
These scenarios can include personal turn-ons and shared fantasies that facilitate sexual anticipation and desire. They can also be enhanced by external turn-ons, like x-rated movies, music, sex toys, or a weekend away from kids.
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