An intentional, mindful, 60-90 minute exchange of non-sexual touch between men, was developed by Kevin Smith. The practice is based on hugging, holding, and being held, and it is accessible to men of any sexual orientation, relational status or religious belief
Touch Practice is a partner practice that fosters profound intimacy through focus, presence, touch and deep empathy. It is an advanced technique that combines awareness, intention and touch, that results in personal growth and wholeness. Although there are elements of practice that might appear to be shared with other modalities, it is not professional coaching, nor massage therapy.
As described by Kevin Smith, “The primary vehicle for Touch Practice involves holding and being held by a practice partner. A Touch Practice session typically lasts a little more than an hour. It follows a prescribed form, like a ritual, with an introduction, a main section and a conclusion, yet each session is as unique as the individuals who co-create it. Touch Practice provides for a non-sexual engagement between men regardless of sexual orientation or relationship status. Boundaries can be as restrictive as necessary to provide a sense of safety for each partner. Regardless of the presence or degree of erotic energy between partners, Touch Practice as we define the phrase here never becomes sexual behavior.”
I learned Touch Practice directly from Kevin Smith almost a decade ago and have since become an Advanced Practitioner. I taught Touch Practice Workshops at Easton Mountain Retreat Center as part of their 2017 Singles Retreat.
Individual Sessions – These include a consultation, explanation of the practice boundaries and concepts, the flow of a typical session, the session itself, post-session discussion and a follow up discussion after the practice has had time to settle and be integrated. Due to professional boundaries, this service is not available for massage clients, yoga students or coaching clients; however, Guided Partner Sessions or Touch Practice workshops/retreats are.
Guided Partner Sessions – These are intended for individuals who have a practice partner and need to be guided through the practice. It includes a consultation, explanation of the practice boundaries and concepts, the flow of a typical session, the session itself, post-session discussion and a follow up discussion after the practice has had time to settle and be integrated.
Workshops/retreats – Touch Practice concepts are presented in detail and with opportunities to practice with other attendees. If you are interested in bringing Touch Practice to your group, please make contact.
Steve shares his experience of an Individual Touch Practice Session
“Years of hiding my sexuality from the world created habits that assured my attraction to men would be hidden from the world. Unfortunately, those habits grew and impacted everything in my life. Hiding was my first reaction to life – especially from men I found attractive. Michael guided me through a process that set aside that built-in shame and gently opened an internal awareness of new ways of living fully and mindfully. It was exactly what I needed to take the next steps to being fully myself and to be able to live consciously in my body.
As I recall my Touch Practice session with Michael, I remember initially experiencing a little bit of fear, some confusion (why is something so wonderful happening to me?), gentleness from him, caring, and a sense that I was being gifted a great opportunity. My mind chatter shifted between fear and excitement, because on one level, my mind saw a beautiful man that was offering to get naked with me but I knew it was much more profound than that. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but, from the very start and throughout the whole practice, Michael was a confident and skilled guide. He explained there were clear boundaries, that this was non-sexual touch, was not a prelude to orgasm, and that it could be incredibly life-enhancing. In reality, he gave me a sense of comfort, safety and trust at each step of the way.
Touch Practice gave me a new sense of self-awareness and peace, even confidence, in myself that has contributed to the multitude of major life enhancements I’ve experienced since then. These include self-employment doing what I love and am skilled at (providing coaching and counseling services), living a flexible life that includes regular exercise, eating well, engaging in the creative ventures that are important to me like playing music, leading a ukulele group of gay elders, painting, taking classes, being an active member in several “tribes” and enjoying a relationship with another beautiful man for over two years.”
~ Steve A.