I used to tell myself I wasn’t the touchy-feely type.
I grew up uncomfortable showing affection to my friends. I didn’t like it when they’d hug me. I trained myself to believe it was a weakness.
I’m an independent woman — and when I was younger that meant I was a don’t-need-no-man woman who thought holding hands was dumb.
Admittedly, these days I still do think holdings hands is dumb in a crowded space. But on an empty street as we’re walking home together, you can be damn sure I’ll reach out to entwine my fingers through your own.
It wasn’t until I ended my first relationship that I realized how much I craved the intimacy of physical touch.
While we were together, I thought I just wanted regular sex. I thought I was unhappy because he never wanted to do it — or when he did the focus was entirely on him. If I couldn’t get off on his dick alone, that was my problem.
I remember watching a Louis CK show once where one of his jokes was about this scenario. He said (paraphrasing), “If a woman still wants to cuddle you after sex, then you’re not fucking her right.”
After we broke up and I dated other people, I realized it wasn’t really about sex. While Louis CK’s comments are probably true for some, all I really wanted was his arm around my waist. Our legs tangled on the couch. Spooning in bed. Hands held on a quiet street.
Affection is how I say I love you. It’s how I feel loved in return. And I’d been hiding my love for a long time.
I got back with my first boyfriend after a three-year break. I’d dated other people in between and had finally realized what I needed. He told me he’d changed in the past three years, too, and this time things would be different.