I love you, don’t touch me.

On intimacy without touch

Darci Ann Burdett
4 min readSep 18, 2017

Multiple times since becoming single I have had amazing adventures with other humans that really shook my idea of love and intimacy. Chats at 4 a.m. while sitting on the top of gazebos, walking across Boothang railroad bridge from above and below, my first live sporting event, and bike ride catastrophes. Each of these events stood out among my daily activities as memorable, fantastic, and intimate.

Creating a memory with another human is more intimate than touching them. I don’t know about you, but my memory for touch isn’t that great. I forget how the people I love kiss, hug, and fuck within about 5 days of the end of our time together. It’s just not important. But I won’t forget travelling to Italy alone with my college boyfriend, or sleeping on the beach at 3 am with my post-college partner. I won’t forget dragging my high school boyfriend all over my Harris County stomping grounds, excited for the first time to have someone who wanted to know about my life. Even the one-off adventures are forever memorable: the bartender in Scotland who I made shameless advances towards all week, the French class romantic who laid in the bathroom floor with me as I spilled my guts and my tequila, the teenage dream who climbed the Talbotton water tower with me and stared down on a sleepy world.

Friday night I climbed across Boothang bridge and it was elating. I have wanted to cross that bridge since I got over my fear of the water but I was having a hard time finding people to assist me. I’m not dumb enough to go alone, but I find that as a petite woman it is hard to find people who will genuinely allow you to learn or try new things. I don’t want you to teach me things because I think it’s cute to be taught, or because I think you’ll like if I’m into what you’re into. I want to learn new things because as a woman in American society I have always struggled to be taught what I want to learn.

I remember as a teenager I really wanted to work outside. I wanted to do landscaping or survey work. I wanted to do anything that was hands-on and outdoors, but when I looked at my options, I quickly realized that no one was going to let a 5' 3", 90 lb woman do any of those things. Once in college I was looking at cabling jobs. I have always had an intricate understanding of computers and networks and I thought that running TV cable setups would be at least entertaining. “Must be able to lift 150 lbs.” Tell me how many cable guys you’ve seen that you think could lift 150 lbs? The world isn’t designed for me to learn what I want, and I’m not shaming society for that. It’ll get there, but in the mean time, I relay on people, who know what I want to know, to be able to show me how to do the things I want to do.

I call this Show ’n’ Teach. I am an easily frightened person. I grew up around very aggressive people and I am terrified to do things wrong because that does not end well historically. I need someone who is delicate and can make me feel confident in my attempts. On Friday evening I was more than willing to stumble my way across Boothang across the iron works of the belly, but when I got to the top, I was terrified. Everything you ever watch as a kid tells you not to walk across railroad bridges. My partner-in-crime literally took my hand and helped me walk the first few steps. And you know what? Nothing bad happened, and I will forever remember that someone taught me something new and was nice and gentle about it.

Similarly on Saturday night someone was asking me to do something and I said, “I’ve never done that. People always do it for me and never teach me.” The person was more than happy to teach me, but that’s not usually the reaction I get. Usually I get 1) I’m doing this for you, 2) I’m going to create a modified version of this that you can do, or 3) I’m going to show you how to do it once, without much technique and then become angry or frustrated when you can’t get it. It’s frustrating. All I want to do is learn all the things. I am a data hoarder. I will learn all the things that you can teach me and I will love it, but if you can’t be gentle, I will run away and it will become exponentially harder for me to ask again.

There is more to intimacy than touch. I have dated 2 different men for nearly 3 years each. One was great at physical intimacy and the other was horrible, and you know what? I still dated both of them for three years. I still loved them both with my heart and soul. They were both still good people. They’re still both going to accomplish great things in the world. Touch isn’t what matters because in the end, they were both assholes.

Stop touching me, and start teaching.

always surv;ve



Darci Ann Burdett

Struggling millennial with a tendency to rant on delicate topics, with comma splices.