When I arrived at the first WuppDays in Malo, I was immediately greeted by hugs. I didn't meet the people before, I didn't talk to them, but simply my existence was enough to make them trust and hug me.
As Janina wrote in Physical intimacy/skinship and appropriateness, it's not common in my culture to value enjoyment from unconditional body contact. I would like to explore the reasons for it, as well as ways out and possible problems. I will describe a culture, which values skin and body contact and unconditional love between human beings. I will call it Lamâsching Culture.
For description of terms, see the Culture Glossary.
Where I come from
I'm coming from a culture where body and skin contact is only done with the purpose of greeting, of sports, and love and sex between couples. The latter is supposed to happen in private spaces, with the exception of holding hands and kissing. Overdue kissing in public is barely accepted. Body contact can also happen in crowded busses or trains, when it can't be avoided. It's definitely not supposed to be enjoyed.
Explanation of Lamâsching Culture
The lamâsching culture is not wide-spread and limited to group of people, who know each other at least a little bit. It mostly happens in enclosed, private spaces. People are there with a purpose, possibly while working on the same project or by living there.
We hug each other randomly, with no apparent reason. We do group hugs by standing very closely together end enjoying each others presence. We sit and lie down on sofas with much more people than usual. We are not afraid of touching each other, we make comments and fun about it. We sleep on mattresses, not with a single person, but as close as possible.
Lamâsching is different from erotic actions, such as kissing on the mouth and sex. Both actions happen between two people. Sex itself should happen in private places. We are able to talk about it in lamâsching culture, but it's a bit uneasy for most participants.
Opportunities of Lamâsching
I value body contact very much, and I deeply appreciate being close to other people, while feeling respected and sure about myself.
Lamâsching enhances the perception of my own body, as well as the perception of people around me. I feel more empathical with people I have lamâsched with.
Possible Problems of Lamâsching
When people first join a lamâsching culture, they might be overwhelmed. A gentle introduction might be necessary. It is normal to lamâsch only a little bit in the beginning. After a while, people might feel more comfortable and fully join lamâsching.
While lamâsching, everybody needs to respect the private sphere of others. It is possible to have closer contact to someone, while only maintaining light lamâsching interaction to someone else. This can create a tension of jealousy, which limits the enjoyment of lamâsching. Talking and empathy helps to reduce the tension.
How to start a Lamâsching Culture
Get people together without expectations and conditions. They should feel welcome and free. The lamâsching space should be cosy and comfy. Sofas and non-glaring light are recommended.
- If you are walking by someone, start with hugging. The hug should not be forced, try to feel your partner and find the connection.
- If you see people hugging, feel free to join them to a group hug.
- If you happen to sit on a sofa, invite people to sit next to you. Even better, lie down for more comfyness.
- Touch each other softly, talk about your feelings, thoughts or funny things.
- Later, people will start lamâsching more openly.