Intimate touch for all wives; but especially victims of sexual abuse.
Paul H. Byerly
Touch is very important for all of us, as it affects our bodies and minds in profound ways (see article on Oxytocin). The same attitudes, fears or damage that makes sex difficult also cut a woman off from receiving touch. Years ago the Lord showed me a way to help my wife with this, and it’s been helpful for others too. What appears below is specifically written for men whose wives have difficulty with sex. If you don’t have such problems, you can modify this accordingly, but don’t underestimate the benefit of giving your wife some much-needed touch with no sex attached. Any woman will benefit from and be blessed by massage.
Massage is a wonderful way to receive touch. In order for massage to work with a woman who has trouble with sex, it must be TOTALLY NON-SEXUAL!! It may take a while for her to relax and believe it’s not just a “trick” to get sex, but perseverance should win out. The “rules” are this: A whole body massage is just for her. Make it very clear that you only want to bless her. You don’t want, nor will you ever be willing to receive, anything in return. And massage is NEVER, NEVER TO BE FOLLOWED BY SEX. Set at least a 2 hour “no sex” limit after massage. You should wear something to cover your genitals (you will get aroused, but this should not be “advertised”).
To start, have her shower, or better yet, take a long hot bubble bath (prepare it for her, and leave her alone to soak). Have her lay face down on a beach towel on the floor (better than the bed, you need a firm surface). Have a small pillow for her head, and another to put under her legs just above the feet – a hand towel over the pillow will protect it from the massage oil. Use a good massage oil (see below), and apply the oil to your hands, not directly to her skin. Start at the top with her shoulders, and work down, slowly! Learn where she carries tension, and pay special attention to those areas. When you reach her feet, turn her over, and work back up to the head. Avoid her genitals. A brief, light massage of her breasts may be OK later, but avoid this to at first. Finish with her face. The hands and feet are especially important, spend extra time on them, but be careful with the feet as they are easily tickled. Use a firm touch to avoid tickling, but be careful, too much pressure in the wrong place can cause pain. Remember, relaxation is the primary goal. If you really want to get into it, go to the library and get a book on massage. A good thorough massage should take at least 30 minutes. Say very little as you work, let her concentrate on a type of touch that she can enjoy. Be sure the room is warm enough for her (which will be too warm for you). When you finish, lay next to her and snuggle (be sure not to “poke” her if you’re still aroused). Speak softly and tell her you love her. Let her just relax and enjoy.
Non-sexual massage really helped us. It gave Lori the touch she needed in a safe way. It demonstrated my sacrificial love (she knew how turned on I got, but I never pursued it). It taught her that not all men were molesters (got it into her heart) and it taught her to receive and enjoy touch. It also taught me how to give without seeking anything in return and how to put her needs first in a very real way.
Is this really something that most women would enjoy? For several years I gave peppermint oil and instructions to grooms at our church. One young newlywed wife said to us as we left church one Sunday, “I can smell peppermint this afternoon!” At least one other couple gave a knowing smile.
So try giving your wife a “whole body rub.” Try doing it often. Do it when she is tired, tense, overwhelmed, grumpy etc. And try doing it every time you’re mad at her!
Oil: Always test any massage oil to make sure there is no allergic reaction – apply a small amount to a sensitive area like the inside of the upper arm or the breast and wait a day. With plant oils, there will be no allergic reaction unless you or your spouse is allergic to the plant. If you are allergic to peanuts, don’t use peanut oil, etc. Store bought oils are likely to have additives and preservatives, so they may be more prone to cause a rash. Sunflower oil is said to be almost allergy proof, so try that if you are unsure or have a problem.
Most of what you can buy isn’t very good; so you might want to make your own. I like 40 % walnut oil and 60% safflower oil as a base, but any edible oil will work. You could use straight cooking oil just fine, but a nice blend feels better for both giver and receiver, and the scent adds a nice touch. You can play with the mix; some oils have more “drag” than others. I’ve seen sweet almond, grape seed, sesame, soy, and sunflower oil mentioned by those who give massages. An almond and sesame mix seems to be fairly popular with masseuses – it’s light, glides easily, and washes off easily. You can use vitamin E oil to thicken the mixture, it won’t take much, or olive oil, it will take more than the E.
Add a small amount of scented oil – you want essential oil, not extract. The essential oil goes a long way since you will use 1 to 3 parts essential oil to 100 parts of base. Peppermint, which has a cooling feeling and tends to make one more alert, is exceptionally strong, so use just 1% with peppermint. Sandalwood is great for calming someone and can be mixed more strongly as it’s fairly subtle. A variety of essential oils are now available in many drug stores and grocery stores. Store oil in the fridge, and float a small squeeze bottle of it in hot water to warm it for use.
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