At first I ignored this thread because i thought "That doesn't apply to me" - and then I thought - "That's what you've been saying all your life! Read it, bone-head!" And i did and it does...
I both desperately crave and desperately fear touch. usually the fear wins out.
I vividly remember a specific time when i was so badly hurt that i made a conscious choice: I could see in my mind's eye the illustration from a fairy tale book I had of Rapunzel's tower (DON"T you DARE go near some kind of "phallic symbol" interpretation of that!!!) It was shaped like the rook piece in a chess set and built of large grey stone blocks and had a spiral staircase that you could see through the open door at the base and the zig-zag square projections around the wall at the top and a tiny window at the top. I saw myself going into that tower and slamming, locking and bolting the strong oak door with huge iron hinges. I ran up the stairs to the room at the top and locked myself in there as well. No one could get to me anymore. i was intentionally cutting myself off from all feelings - both tactile and emotional. i was just going to stay and live at the top of the tower - above everyone else - inside my head - and not even be aware of the rest of my body.
It did help me to control the emotional and physical distress i was experiencing during that period - but of course it did not work indefinitely. AND now i am struggling to break that old habit.
It is very difficult for me to initiate even a casual non- sexual touch - and paralyzingly difficult to initiate an intentionally sexual touch. I *should* be able to tell those closest to me about this need and ask for help and some meeting half-way or occassional gestures on their part. But I hate feeling weak or needy or being percived that way - and admitting to the weirdness that i have and that i created myself. Sometimes i still feel locked in that tower - but now the lock feels like its permanent - or maybe locked on the outside...
"That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. . . What will your verse be?" Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"