What I like, sensually 2007-04-16
There are basically two critical factors to what I enjoy: physical and emotive/empathic. I'm highly sensitive to both; the former is more relevant for sensuality, the latter more for sexuality. I'm not going to discuss sex in this post; that's for the TMI filter.
Sensually speaking, I'm pretty easy to please and very very highly reactive. Enough so that once people realize how strongly I react it becomes a sort of party trick... most people don't realize it though, or don't take advantage of the opportunity. So here's your guide. ;-)
Skritches around my head are very nice; particularly in the area around the ears, the occipital crest, under the chin (along the grain of hair, i.e. inwards). Medium strength but harder than most people do it (though not too hard - I don't like pain); nails is more cat-inducing and more intensely pleasurable and likely to make me twist in amusing ways to follow it, finger stroking is more relaxing and emotive and likely to make me curl up in your lap. Skritching belly or back or neck is also quite nice but not usually as intense & requires more strength.
To stop skritching, shift to fingers and pause a second after a stroke with a full flat palm; otherwise I'll keep trying to follow it and feel disappointed when you stop ('cause nail-skritching keeps me on edge - a very pleasant one but not one I like to have suddenly stop). This is a nearly reflexive thing; skritching makes me react semi-automatically (I don't regulate it much - more pleasant that way) so don't think I'm necessarily doing it on purpose.
If you want me to be able to carry on conversation while being skritched, you'll need to briefly pause (or switch to something less nail-y) when I'm speaking or trying to; otherwise I'll stutter, if able to talk at all - quite amusing no doubt but not very efficient for communication. Otherwise no need to pause; I'm probably fully capable of paying attention to others' speech, just don't expect me to necessarily always be looking right at you if I'm being made to contort. If you know ASL that helps, as usually I can sign okay despite distractions (though it may come out a bit stuttery).
I like massage a lot. Particularly my shoulders, under-scapulae trapezius, and very low back. It's hard to say what style of massage I prefer. I know a fair amount of technique so I usually just coach people on what to do if they're not already skilled. I like giving massage, particularly to people who are pliable or have the right sort of easily (to me) bypassed tenseness. I usually give more than I get, though I prefer 50-50 balance.
I like dark chocolate. Peaches. Spicy chocolate. Curry chocolate. Whole fresh blueberries are godly (other forms are just okay). Good salads, like with walnuts and goat cheese and light vinegar. Lots of foods really. Anything I can savor.
I like hugs. I like people who use hugs as the standard greeting and parting.
I like cuddles a lot. I really like hugging & being hugged from behind. I like sitting leaned against/into someone or curled into their lap, especially if it means I'm being stroked or held. I like it when others do so with me. I like holding hands, interlacing fingers, lightly stroking fingers with the back of a nail (that can be extremely intense, if done right).
I like stretching. This isn't something you can help me with but you can probably amuse yourself at it, or skritch my back during, though that needs to be strong not light and nail-y or it'll make me flinch.
I extremely like sleeping cuddled up close to someone, under the right circumstances. It's one of the only ways I ever get real rest. Like with massage, I'm usually the cuddler, though I prefer 50-50. I really like feeling body warmth, until it gets hot or sweaty - that's not pleasant. So having appropriate levels of ventilation, air temperature, & covering is important.
I really like being sung to. Or told stories. Or taught interesting new things. I find contact juggling quite mesmerizing.
I very rarely like dancing but I may occasionally make exceptions. If I do, it's probably going to be some form of swing dance, since it's the only thing I know, and I'm not comfortable dancing without a partner. I don't particularly care whether I lead or follow (or some mix).
I like listening to someone's heartbeat. I like hearing their voice resonate through their chest.
I like lying in grass that's just sunny enough to not be hot. I like feeling grass on my skin, on my feet. I like watching the ocean. I like sunsets. I like hills. I like pausing to smell flowers and look at neat things and touch willows and ferns and other stuff with good texture.
I like cooking together. I can give directions, or you can; whatever so long as it is participatory.
I like playing renga and Scrabble and other smart but not excessively taxing games. I like having renga conversations via IM. I like making up new games or new ways to play with language with friends.
I like having long detailed conversations about interesting topics. I like when people tell me about the research they do even when it's partially over my head, because it's almost surely something they find interesting and that makes it almost certainly interesting to me. I like having long detailed conversations about the people I'm talking to, having them tell me more about themselves than they've told anyone else before, just because I was the only one to ask and want to know and notice all the places they glossed over and specifically follow up on them. It's very rare that anyone does that with me though.
I like lying beneath the stars on the Hill cuddled up with friends under blankets and talking.
I like my cat coming up and sitting on my chest and purring when I'm going to sleep and waking up.
I like being grounded by someone else. I like playing with energy; turning the main up-spine-down-front loop into a figure-8 with a partner. I like feeling it enter at my mid-neck and low back.
I like playing music with others. I'm not a particularly good singer but I don't mind (others may); I am a fairly good pianist and I like it when I get to play with others.
I really like hot showers. Hot tubs are awesome. Hot pools are awesome.
Good cheescake is very very good. Bad cheescake is enh.
I really enjoy hot cocoa. Flavored cocoas. Hot Milo. It make me feel warm n' cozy n' relaxed. Can be slightly sleepy-comfort or can be stimulating, depending on how I choose to feel it.
I like cheek-marking things/people. This is one of my more explicitly catlike behaviors; while I’m perfectly aware that I lack scent glands, it’s something I do when I’m feeling catlike and affectionate or transitioning to at-home. It feels good - relaxing mostly but a bit of a skritch feel as well. I like nuzzles too; that’s not so outright catlike but is still a sort of affectionate friendly happy thing.
The above is all 'comfortable friends'-class stuff for me, and not particularly sexual. If you're my friend, chances are I would like doing any of that with you. I mostly hold back from initiating, for various reasons; I don't like being selfish, I know others usually have different thresholds than I do, I don't have the same sensuality/sexuality distinction as others (and others are more likely to react sexually to stuff I wouldn't, which can cause very awkward situations).
It's important to know some nonverbal signals for them though - primarily tapping (double tap anywhere = non-emergency stop now, triple tap = stop NOW, single tap = limit reached but continue at that). ASL helps though, as most sensual things are capable of making me unable to talk. Knowing how I emote also helps a lot, but usually takes training; my emotes tend to be pretty subtle and easily misunderstood. If you ask I'll train you.
There are also more intensely emotional things; more for really close friends or lovers:
I really really like mutual lotus position. Taller person (usually) sits cross legged, shorter person sits in their lap, facing them, legs wrapped around. Helps for the one or the other to have a good backrest (usually the bottom person) because there's a bit of counterbalancing required. Also helps for bottom person to hold the top person around the low back.
I like sharing breath. This is most easily done from mutual lotus; either both breathing in and out at the same time, or alternating so it's a cycle. Best done with slow, deep breaths. (And good ventilation. :-P)
I really like having my cheek stroked and being kissed on the forehead or eyes or cheek, and doing the same. That's less sensual than very intensely affectionate.
I like taking showers together w/ a lover, washing each other, having my back scrubbed.
I like sleeping entwined facing each other. Only difficulty is getting comfortable and ensuring everyone has air.
I like licking cheescake off a partner. ^^