Adult Tactile Defensiveness

I am nearly 40, happily married for 15 years with 3 children. I have never been great with hugs and kisses, but recently I have found it increasingly difficult to tolerate intimate touch from my husband. It has nothing to do with the quality of our relationship, as I love, cherish and respect him completely. But I find his affectionate advances, and foreplay in particular, highly irritating. I have to grit my teeth and force myself not to pull away or curl up to protect myself. The sensation of touch is totally over-stimulating in a highly unpleasant way. I have asked him not to touch me lightly, but he really doesn't get it. I fear that it will soon become a significant problem. Our oldest son, 9, is currently having OT for mild SPD, and I use the brushing protocol on him. Would this help me?


Can I do it without having to see an OT myself?

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Oct 11, 2015
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Maybe you could play a game
by: Elizalee

I played a game with my child the other day that could probably easily be turned into an adult game. He's hyposensitive and I'm hypersensitive. He wanted me to bite him and he bit me to show me how hard he wanted me to bite him because it felt good to him. So I bit him as hard as he bit me and he wanted it a little harder so I did, then I showed him how light he had to bite me for it to not hurt. Then we started showing each other how me liked to be patted and touched and described the feelings (hurt,tickle, irritating, nice, really nice)

I think that this could easily be turned into an sexy adult game that would give you each insight into each other.

Jul 11, 2012
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I don't really know what to do anymore!
by: ZeeKru

I am a 24 year old female. I have been diagnosed with SPD when I was 21. I am extremely avoidant when it comes to the tactile area. I have been to OT, and I have been okay for a few months, but I have found that I get so anxious when the blankets are too tight, it feels like my pj's are strangling me and theire not even tight fitting. It feels like I'm being strangeled when somebody holds me or hugs me and when I get touched it feels like my heart stops I get such a fright. I have been pushing people away emotionally just so they won't even think of touching me or hugging me.

This is obviously not how I want to live the rest of my life. Seeing as blankets and jackets feel like they smother me and the hugging machine also does these days, I just dunno what to do that can make me feel remotely better. I do weight training every day of my life, that seems to help a lot, but I still feel like this, and it has only been getting worse, so much so that I'd jump up and out of bed just to get away. So if somebody has any practical advice, I'd appreciate it so much!

Sep 21, 2011
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Finally the pieces fit....
by: Brenda

Wow! Just been reading the tactile defensiveness page to get some info as I think my 9 yr old (and 3 yr old, to a lesser extent) have SPD. Most of the tactile issues fit me to a tee as a child (and still do today). Reading these comments has opened my eyes - finally, at the ripe age of 40, my intimacy issues make sense! I've never understood why foreplay has always been such an unpleasant experience and, along with sex, had to be rushed just to get that physical experience over with. My poor husband (and me, I suppose)! Now that I know what the cause is, hopefully there's some kind of remedy or solution...off to the OT I go, and hope it's not too late!

Aug 05, 2011
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How much have you discussed?
by: Anonymous

You mention having asked him to not touch you lightly but have you told him why?

When my fiance and I first came across the topic of my tactile defensiveness he didn't understand why I was asking what I as asking so it didn't really affect him. I had to explain to him what exactly I'm feeling and he felt terrible that he hadn't changed his ways earlier. Now he's always very careful to make sure I'm comfortable because he understands.

Maybe he forgets and needs reminding if you have fully explained things. I'm sure he can find something that works for you both.

Apr 01, 2011
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Just...
by: Steve

try it, Its the only way you are going to find out. Search New Brushing Protocol Protective Response Regime. You are going to need someone else to do it to you.

Mar 30, 2011
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BLANKETS HELP!
by: Anonymous

I have this condition as well. Its difficult to tell my husband that I prefer to just wrestle before hand. I have days where every thing is numb and he just dont get the fact that I dont respond because I can't feel what he's doing.The best thing I found is right before getting ready for bed I have a very large blanket I roll back and forth in. Between the softness of the blanket and the hardness of the floor. Some how that helps me alot. Plus my son and I take turns with a soft bristled brush so that we can help each other calm down for the night!

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