What Dating Is like When You’re A Woman Who Doesn’t Like To Be Touched

I’ve never been the touchy-feely type. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a hard time accepting hugs and acts of physical affection, even from my parents. I’ve always just been SO awkward about it and now that I’m an adult, I’m starting to realize how this fear of being touched is making dating a lot more difficult than it should be.

  1. I end up accidentally driving a lot of people away. I don’t mean to shrug my shoulder away when a partner puts their arms around me, it’s just something I do and I wouldn’t blame anyone who took that as a sign that I don’t want to be with them. It’s not that I don’t want to be with them, it’s just that I’m temperamental when it comes to physical touch. It’s strictly my issue, but not everyone gets that.
  2. It’s not just a partner touching me that I’m not OK with, it’s anyone touching me. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a man or woman who’s touching me, I’m not OK with it in a general sense. You would think that I was sexually abused or something but I wasn’t, it’s just a general fear and dislike of touching that I’ve always had to deal with, whether it’s a hug from my grandma or a high five from a friend. It’s all awkward to me.
  3. It definitely relates to something that happened back in childhood. I don’t think being weird about touching is apart of my innate personality. Although I don’t know EXACTLY where it all came from, I remember not liking to be touched from a very young age. I didn’t even like holding my mom’s hand, which was so strange. It’s also really hard to get over because it’s been such a consistent feeling that I’ve had throughout my life, even as young as five.
  4. I crave being touched yet at the same time I’m afraid of it. It’s like a catch-22 because even though I heavily crave physical human contact, when it actually happens, I go into panic mode. I don’t know why it happens but it does and it always has.
  5. Sometimes I’m OK with it, sometimes I’m not. There are times when I’m actually very happy to be touched and to touch others. It’s usually those moments when I feel really good about myself and confident and also when I’m drunk, obvi. It can be confusing for whoever I’m with because they can never know when it’s safe to make a move. Luckily I’m not completely closed off to it, otherwise, I don’t think I wouldn’t have much of a shot at a real relationship.
  6. Sex is… interesting. When I’m in the midst of sex, you would think that I’m completely terrified, but it totally depends. If it’s something like a tender stroke on the shoulder, I actually get a lot weirder about that than the actual act of intercourse. For some reason, it seems more mechanical to me and not really attached to any kind of judgment. It’s a very practical way of touching that doesn’t have any other secret thoughts or motives behind it.
  7. I make up excuses to not be touched. If I’m not feeling it, I’ll do literally anything to not be touched. Whether it’s holding my bag with two hands so I don’t have to hold my partner’s hand or sleeping with the covers wrapped tightly around me so they don’t cuddle me. There’s nothing too weird or outlandish to avoid being touched.
  8. I’m not very affectionate because of my own fear. Since I don’t like being touched, I assume my partner or the person I’m seeing doesn’t either. I live in a world where touching is a big deal and can’t even imagine a world where it isn’t. Some people are so casual about it but for me, I really need to be prepared before the touching begins.
  9. When my partner reaches for me, I sometimes freeze up. When I’m not expecting it, I go totally cold like a deer in headlights. It’s almost like my body reacts before my brain does which is so strange but kinda interesting I guess. The fact that I have this permanent reaction of fear to being touched is probably pretty telling of my past traumas, now that I think of it.
  10. For some reason, touch = danger to me and it’s always been that way. Touching to me, is dangerous. Whether it’s a friend coming in for a hug, my mom giving me a kiss on the cheek or my lover reaching for my hand. It feels like a threat and who knows what the real reason is, but I spend a lot of my energy trying to fight my urge to withdraw and try my best to accept and feel the physical touch as affection and not as a potential danger.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.