The Physical Touch Escalator

The Thinking Aro

I look at physical touch between two people via a spectrum model: on one end of the spectrum (of positive touch only) is the handshake and on the other end is full-blown penetrative sex. What falls in between progresses from that most casual and non-intimate/nonsensual type of touch to more intimate, more sensual, and ultimately sexual. At every point of this spectrum, romantic attraction is optional, and sexual attraction is optional in the nongenital portion of the spectrum. That simply means you can cuddle someone you don’t want to fuck and fuck someone you don’t want to date or don’t feel the least bit romantically in love with.

The nonsexual/nongenital forms of touch include: unemotional hugs, emotional hugs, holding hands, kissing (that breaks down further into “on the cheek,” “on the mouth, close-lipped,” “on the mouth, with tongue,” “on the body, close mouthed”, “on the body, open-mouthed”), cuddling (clothed or…

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