1.pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; fleshly.

2.lacking in moral restraints; lewd or unchaste.

3.arousing or exciting the senses or appetites.

4.worldly; materialistic; irreligious.

5.of or pertaining to the senses or physical sensation; sensory.

Sensual is a word that tends to hold negative connotations for most. A word that insinuates furtive desires and acts best left unsaid and barely alluded to in polite society. We have become a culture that shys away from the sensual and the indulgences that make life so pleasant and so enjoyable in so many ways.

When did sensual become synonymous with wrong? A description merely that pertains to experiences that indulge and gratify the senses… how is that unfavourable in todays norms?

Having dinner this evening at an Italian restaurant and leaving the meal with a reflection that it has been so long since I have indulged my sense of taste to that degree… so long since I have had a meal that I savoured and enjoyed quite like I did this evening.

Bread that was so crisp on the crust and soft yet firm in the center… Tagliatelle pasta, perfectly al dente with a sauce that hinted at the ripeness of the tomatoes and the herbs fresh and bright green throughout. Wine that danced on the tongue, complimenting the meals nuances and enhancing the bitterness of the sauce with the sweetness of the grapes juices. A dessert that satisfied without being exorbitant. The creaminess of the caramel over the rich deep chocolate so fully accompanied by the matte chocolate cookies sprinkled with salt to cut the sweetness just so.

My body left full yet not uncomfortably so. Taste and texture encompassing the evening with its sensuality and fulfillment of satiety. Nourishing my spirit as well as my body. A meal that allowed me to experience sensual in its most base form. It’s sometimes the small pleasures in life that bring the most joy.

Sensual means to gratify the senses… those don’t need to be carnal and sexual. We live with so many senses and forget to indulge them. The phrase “take the time to smell the roses” speaks to the simple reality that life is enhanced by those moments when we indulge our senses, whether they be touch, taste, smell or any of the other ways that we connect with ourselves and our surroundings. Dancing… moving my body and allowing the music to drive me and feeling – really feeling – the music is sensual. Not in a sexual way but in a more base and primal manner. Reading a book that brings me to a place where I forget that I am in a chair in my living room… that is a sensual experience. Breathing in the salty air by the ocean…sensually enrapturing. All experiences that envelope and consume the senses in their own way and make life more full and more enjoyable.

My resolution as I move forward… embrace sensuality – in all it’s forms.

I was having a text conversation with a good friend the other day and part of it got me thinking about snuggling and intimacy and how it’s viewed…and what it, and physical closeness in general, means in my life, to me.

Now when I refer to snuggling, I mean cuddling, holding, snuggles… whether that be out at a dinner where you slide over and have someone’s arms around you for a few minutes or at home, curled up watching a movie in bed… or even a whole night spent together, naked bodies together with arms and legs entwined but sexual interaction not part of the night. Just writing about that puts a smile on my face …

Back to the writing though.

Physical intimacy and closeness is something that I think has been lacking in my life for a while now. Dealing with grief is something that , for me, results in me isolating myself and distancing myself from those that I care about in my life – physically at least, and sometimes emotionally as well.

Physical contact that I have musing over lately seems to settle on two primary types: sexual intimacy and non-sexual intimacy for me. The other night was one of the first times in a very long time that I wanted to be close to someone and actually desired to have someone to snuggle with. Wanted, but not “needed”… and that’s a big difference for me.

I’m not, by nature, someone who has one-night stands or sex with people who aren’t a part of my life in some way; whether that be friend with benefits, lovers, partners or such, it’s just not something that is generally in my behaviour pattern. Now that’s not a hard rule… I have engaged in encounters like that before and I will again. There are times that there is simply a click – a physical and almost chemical reaction with someone and sexual intimacy is what’s on the mind. Nothing wrong with it at all and certainly has its place. For me though, those are few and far between. My preference just doesn’t run towards that most of the time. Having sex in that situation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cold or unemotional but, for me, the level of connection is different in a way that’s difficult to explain. It can be a great connection and you can share a bond and an experience that leaves you both feeling fulfilled and satisfied, just in a different way than when I’m with someone that I have a deeper or more long standing connection with. Don’t get me wrong, I have walked away from “casual” encounters that have been transformational – for me – for what I have taken away from the experience… but generally it’s more physical than emotional.

Snuggling on the other hand feeds a different need for me. It’s also something that I am far more selective about who I do that with. Snuggles and cuddling opens me up and exposes a side of myself that I guard fiercely. To be close to someone non-sexually and share that intimacy of holding and sharing time – even just a few moments – is a connection that I don’t easily do. For me to want to spend time snuggling is to want to be close to you, and to have you close to me…something that means a lot to me. It’s not easy for me to share my body but I have that ability and desire to at times… for me to want to and be able to share my Self is much harder and rare for me. The truth for me is that I can have sex with you and not have you see who I am, intimately… but that’s harder to keep closed off with cuddling or holding…that’s when you’re more likely to “see” me… and that can be scary.

When I decline an offer of “just watching a movie, nothing else” or “No pressure, just hang out and spend an evening together”… it’s usually because I’m not able to share “me” because of things going on in my head and heart that I need to work through…it would almost be easier to have sex with someone when I’m like that than to sit and talk or just be quiet and watch a movie. And nooo, that doesn’t mean that if I turn down a movie suggestion that I’m then open for a romp 😉 – well, maybe… or maybe not ;). It never hurts to ask.

For a long time I have recoiled from the idea of being close to anyone, physically or emotionally. That is starting to lift now and I’m seeing around me those that I care for and I’m starting to explore possibilities and options in a way that has eluded me for so long. I have always been a cautious and slow moving person with regards to personal interactions and I have a tendency to tip the toes then run back to the safety of the shore… Healing from grief and starting to see out of the fog of depression now has that reaction on a trip-wire that is spring loaded right now. Where I am usually analytical of getting myself into situations I find now that I am hyper critical of not giving someone misleading cues. I tend to pull back and hold someone at arms length rather than draw them in when that’s what I want… My logic being that it’s easier to just not show interest rather than have to explain why I am hesitant at times even though I’m interested in more.

I’m so thankful for those that understand and have expressed that a snuggle is a snuggle and not necessarily more… and thankful that I can finally voice that while a snuggle may be “just” a snuggle… it’s more.