Not all touch needs to be sexual. We need non-sexual touch in our marriages!
Thanks so much to Melt Massage for sponsoring this post!
This past April, the To Love, Honor, and Vacuum team went to Mont Tremblant for a Family Life Marriage conference. Many of us are coming out of seasons of a great deal of change – of the four couples who made it, two have one-year-old daughters, two couples have had cancer diagnoses in the last year, and one couple moved. It’s been a lot. As I wrote about after the event, the retreat was a great way to reconnect and brainstorm ways to make things better.
One major takeaway my staff talked about: a number of them are dedicated to working on non-sexual touch.
And so I figured that if we (who write about marriage and sex for a living) needed the reminder… well… we probably ALL need the reminder.
Intimacy and Non-Sexual Touch
Building marital intimacy is terrifically important. We need to connect as couples, and building our physical intimacy outside of sex is an important way to stay close as a couple. Touch is one of the 5 Love Languages Gary Chapman wrote about. A lot of times when we talk about love languages, we get focused on what our primary love language is, forgetting that while we may have a preferred way to give and receive love, we do actually need all five in our lives. We all realize that our marriages wouldn’t work if we never spend quality time together, but it’s sometimes easy to forget touch, especially touch that isn’t linked to sex.
Making touch a priority will help you feel closer. But too many of us rarely touch unless it’s sexual. So today I’d like to put a plea in for some non-sexual touch, including my absolute very favourite–massage.
One really great way to incorporate non sexual touch into your marriage is massage. I’ve written before about how it can help you transition from being “on” and in the hurry-scurry of the day to a quieter time for connection, relaxation, and rejuvenation. I know I spend so much time in my head that if we try to jump into making love, I’m often not there yet. But if he massages me for a bit first, I can calm myself down, focus on my body, and be in the moment. And that’s just what I need!
1. Massage is healthy
If an archaeologist looks at the skeleton of an English Longbowman, they will be able to tell you instantly what his profession was. Years of pulling back on a high tension bow built strong muscles but also had impact on bone. The same goes for women in ancient Mesopotamia who ground wheat into flour. Our professions affect our bodies.
As we go through our lives, whatever our profession, tension and stress get held in our muscles. Giving ourselves the opportunity to relax is so very, very important. Working together to use massage to take care of your physical selves together is a wonderful way to connect AND be good stewards. It’s an excellent win-win.
For me, massage is essential if I’m going to stay pain-free. I work all day at a computer, and even though I’m trying to repair my posture, and I’m working out more, and stretching, my neck and upper back just get a lot of strain since I’m always looking down. Increasingly Keith’s finding that, too. He threw his back out terribly recently when driving our RV back home from Louisiana, and now he has started needing regular massage, too! After a relaxing massage, I often find my shoulders have a greater range of motion. It’s so fun just to circle my arms afterwards and realize, “Hey! They can go back a lot further again!” It really does work.
2. Massage is intimate
Even when you’re not making love, touching someone when they’re naked is intimate. It just is! And if you’ve been having issues with sex, this is a great way to break through that barrier and connect with each other again. I also find that it’s the best way of really knowing each other’s bodies. Sure, you touch when you’re making love, but for massage, you actually study the muscles. You know where the tension points are. You learn all the little freckles they have (and it’s a good way to keep track of freckles, too, by the way, and watch for skin cancer!). Your hands know every bump.
When there’s been tension in your sex life, or your emotional life, massaging and touching one another helps you feel good, builds endorphins, and then makes it much easier to tackle those other issues or break down barriers so sex is more natural again.
3. Massage is better if you know what you’re doing
When Keith and first started massaging each other, we would go right for the tension points, and just rub them like crazy. We thought that was what you were supposed to do. But then I started going to a professional masseuse, and they did these long strokes instead first. When I watched the MELT Massage Video course, it all made sense. Going right for the tension points can aggravate the muscle. You need to relax the muscle, and that’s quite different. So since taking the MELT course, we’ve totally changed our technique, and it works so much better!
A lot of people don’t like giving massages because they don’t know where to start, but the MELT course takes you step by step through massage. You watch a five-minute video a night, learning one technique that you can put into practice right away (like those long, lovely strokes!), and then by the end of the videos you have a routine you can do. So you don’t feel quite like a fish out of water anymore.
One of my assistants, Joanna, made similar mistakes early in her marriage. Here’s her experience:
4. Massage is better if you have the right tools
You can absolutely do a massage without any lotion or oils, but it often feels better to include one. Oils, balms, and lotions give you the ability to glide across the body more easily and prevent skidding or pinching the skin. Additionally, using a lubricant also means that you are applying a moisturizer, which is definitely something we can all use.
Here’s something I’m so excited about:
You have to enter your credit card number, but it’s easy to cancel the subscription (and Denis tells you how when you sign up).
Order now, and you can get your oils and a free massage class right in time for Father’s Day!
Shipping is free with Amazon Prime within the U.S. I ordered to Canada, and it still came really quickly. You get a 16 oz bottle of the massage oil, plus a travel size bottle you can fill to take with you on romantic weekends. The oil is also Cold Pressed Sweet Almond Oil, and can be repurposed for many other uses, not just massage. Just add some essential oils, and it can be whatever you want it to be! So pamper him on Father’s Day with the oils and the videos, but if you need almond oil for other things, you’ve also got it. It’s a win-win!
Just order the oils, and then register for your class!
3. Massage lets you serve each other
It feels amazing to give your spouse a massage and watch the weight of the world fall from their shoulders. (Obviously it also feels amazing to receive a massage too!) I really appreciate massages from my husband since I often get ticklish when an actual massage therapist works on me. While a massage therapist has to be able to massage anyone, you get the added benefit of being able to focus solely on what your spouse prefers (and Keith knows where I’m ALWAYS sore!) Spending time together to do massages in the house is also a really inexpensive date night!
We’re staying in a hotel in downtown Toronto right now as Keith is attending a big Canadian Pediatrics Conference, and I brought our massage oils with us, ready to plan a big massage night tonight.
If you feel distant, like you haven’t connected in a while, maybe it’s time to try touching each other? And if you want to add some luxury to your sex life, massage is the way to go!
Check out the oils now. They’re wonderful, and it’s your chance to access the massage videos for free (Denis will likely never do this low a price again!). Just buy the oils, and then head over here and register for the class.
I hope you’ll have as much fun as we have!
I love giving my wife massages and I have noticed at times when I have been very sexually frustrated that giving her a massage kind of calms that down and makes me feel closer to her. I
The only problem I have is that my wife doesn’t like giving massages.
I ask her and she just presses for a less than a minute 😂😂
But I like giving her massages and it Relaxes me too in some way knowing that she get relaxed when I touch her:
The not very long massage problem–that’s something that the videos can help with! When you learn the different techniques, and put them into practice, then you see that it’s more than just giving a little rub. I found it very helpful.
Sounds like my house, but with a gender flip!😂
He loves back and foot massages, and they have become a near-daily part of our routine. That is, I give him massages regularly, but when he does (very rarely) reciprocate, he’s so half-hearted and perfunctory I don’t enjoy it much! Come to think of it, this describes most of our physical relationship!
My love language is touch, and I agree- giving touch does a great deal to meet my emotional needs in this area! I think that fact has allowed me to enable my husband’s sexual and relational laziness.
Now, how to get to work on fixing that without making him feel criticized and incompetent 🤔🤔…
Thanks, Sheila! Great article and resources!
I’m interested in the massage oil bundle, but I’m concerned about the content of the videos. My husband has very recently confessed of porn addiction of several years with acting out as well. He is in counselling, but I don’t want the images to be a distraction for him or set his mind in the wrong direction. What do you think?
I really didn’t find them like that at all. It was just focused on how to massage. She had a towel on, and when he was demonstrating long strokes, you couldn’t see anything other than her back. I thought it was quite tastefully done, showing what you did need to show in order to learn how to do it. I hope tha thelps!
I read about all this in an article in Duh! magazine. LOL. I’m trying to be funny. In all seriousness, non-sexual touch is awesome. Who doesn’t love massages, even the ones without a “happy ending”? I love touching my woman in a non-sexual way.
I think it’s one of those things that we know, but we so rarely do! We’ve got to be more intentional!
I know you’re being funny, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t enjoy receiving massages at all. I know because I’m one of them.
Mrs. Nathan enjoys a good massage now and then. Sometimes it leads to more and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s good, since sexual and non sexual touching are both good and necessary things.
My husband and I have really enjoyed using Melt massage oil, and the videos were super helpful to me because my husband would ask for a back rub, but I wouldn’t know how to help release the tension in his shoulders or how to rub so my hands wouldn’t get sore. And with his physical job, he needs a back rub a lot. 🙂 And if I need one, he’s happy to return the favor.