How to enjoy playful touch without feeling like you have to go “all the way.”


Janna Denton-Howes

There’s a story I ​repeatedly hear from women, especially those who waited to have sex until marriage.

Before marriage, they feel all sorts of anticipation, excitement, and wanting for their partner. Then, once sex is introduced, those feelings quickly dissapear.

The enjoyable, flirtatious, relaxing, fun touch they used to enjoy with their partner suddenly feels full of pressure, expectation, and obligation.

I have a three-step solution to keep touch fun that has worked wonders in my 20-year marriage, as well as for many other married couples.

It’s not conventional, but it works!

​I​s I​t T​easing?

Often, I’ll get asked the question, “Is this teasing?”

For example, if your husband gets aroused by your touch, aren’t you supposed to carry it through?

The answer is NO! You are not!! You have NO obligation to carry anything through.

He is responsible for his body and you are responsible for yours.

The worst thing for your desire, and the quickest way to take playfulness and fun out of it, is to feel like you’re locked-in to going the distance.

And what is the distance anyway?

We’re so obsessed in our culture with the outcome (which usually means male orgasm). We’ve got to make sure that it counts.

Whatever happened to enjoying pleasure, intimacy, and connection with each other in a very casual and relaxed way?

Here’s how to find your way back to the simpler times.

​Tip #1: Only have sex if it’s scheduled.

The reason why touch used to feel arousing and exciting is because the expectation for it to lead to intercourse wasn’t there.

That’s the magic formula to enjoying playful touch…no pressure or epectation for anything more than the enjoyable moment at hand.

Tip #2 – Ask him not to reciprocate.

​The standard formula is for one person to initiate, and the other reciprocate.

What if you had safety to touch him as you please with no reciprocation required?

How would it help you explore if you weren’t worried that if you touched him, he was going to touch you?

The opportunities for pleasure and exploration that open are truly wonderful.

​Tip #3 – Start small.

Often, couples get in the habit of never touching unless sex is involved. Learning how to touch each other again can feel awkward at first.

Start small. Touch him in little ways that feel good to you. Stroke his shoulder, smell his shirt, touch your foot to his on the couch.

There are so many opportunities for small, simple, pleasurable connection when pressure and obligation are removed.

​Here’s what might get in the way…

I want to acknowledge the cultural messages at play that may make it hard for you, as a woman, to create these boundaries and make these requests.

Your husband has absorbed cultural messages to push for more, to try to bring you in, to not let you go. 

These three steps can be challenging, but I know that if you put them into practice in your relationship and hold firm to your boundaries, you will have so much more enjoyable touch together.

As a final reminder…this is not teasing. This is intimacy. This is connection​. You are not obligated to take it anywhere.

His body, his ownership. Your body, your ownership.

Pleasure and enjoyment of one another is not reserved for the bedroom only. Redefine intimacy in your relationship to discover the rewards of pressure-free touch.

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