Cordelia Anderson M.A.


Touch Continuum


                     Lack                                       Nurturing                           Confusing                                 Exploitive                                                             Lack

            (Boundaries limit setting)         (Helpful) (Safe)  (“Good”)                                    (Hurtful or harmful )  (Not Safe)  (“Bad”)                      (Deprivation)                


Siecus Report: Touch Continuum (pages 24 to 27)

The Touch Continuum is a tool to help children/youth/adults identify what type of touch “from their own perspective”, fits into each category.          


Touch is confusing when:

· the receiver is not use to the touch

· the receiver is not sure about the intent of the giver

· there are double messages about the touch

· all touch is equated with sex

· what was learned to date is that all touch is bad

· the touch feels good but there is something ‘secret’ or not safe about it

· the touch changes from something that was okay to something that is unclear or not okay


Confusing touch is not clearly positive/safe or negative/not safe.

We all need skills to identify and to talk about each type of touch.

When touch is confusing the person who is confused has the right to say something like “stop,” “I’m not sure about this,” “something about this is confusing for me;” and the person doing the touch should respect that – not coerce.


Touch for Life


· Touch is our first sense in infancy all of our information initially comes through the skin.

· Studies indicate that girls still learn to touch differently than boys

· Foundling Homes - 1 in 3 infants died till “touch” was added.

· Harlow’s monkey - deprived of touch in infancy, then when touched, reacted violently

· Prescott - physical affection given to children during formative years tends to inhibit later violence.

Contact: Cordelia Anderson
Sensibilities Prevention Services
3118 West Lake Street # 431
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416

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