How much is okay to touch someone, or be touched?

Duchess07 asks: How much is okay to touch someone, or be touched?

I am a dog. And I’m a very friendly dog. So when people meet me, they usually think it’s okay to touch me. To pat my head, to rub my back, to scratch my tummy. And most of the time, they’re right – I love it!

But sometimes, I don’t. Maybe I don’t trust them yet, or maybe I’m not in the mood. And when that happens, I just walk away. I have the right.

And so does everyone else.

Some people like to stand really close to other people, while some people like to stand further away. Neither is wrong, but both should respect what the other feels and wants. Some people hug and kiss people they’re meeting for the first time, while others shake hands with anyone they meet, and others may not like to be touched at all, or might even have a religion that says they can’t touch that person. And all those are okay too.

Here’s the easy rule – whoever wants to be touched the least, and have the most distance from the other one, gets to choose.

Now, what about other kinds of touching? Well, mostly, the same rule applies. Never touch anyone in a way they don’t want to be touched. And you don’t have to let anyone touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched.

(This doesn’t change the fact that you have to politely hug an aunt you don’t care for while you’d rather keep playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on your Xbox. I’m talking about when the touching itself really bothers you.)

But are there any real overall rules, besides just what people feel? Yes. More than I can list here. But here are some really important ones.

First of all, until you’re old enough (and it’s best to ask your parents when “old enough” is), you should never let anyone other than your parents or a doctor (or someone your parents say is okay) touch the part of you where your underpants are. And no one should ask you to touch them there. Nor should they ask to see that part of you, or show you that part of them. If someone does any of these things, tell your parents, or a teacher, or a therapist.

Second, when it comes to things like kissing for fun, that can be okay, but it should only be with people close to your own age. Again, it’s probably best to talk with your parents about it. (Two exceptions – First, I don’t mean that there’s anything wrong with a daddy making rude noises by blowing his cheeks on a baby’s tummy, or your mommy tickling you with kisses. I mean someone acting in a romantic way. And Second, you can kiss dogs, and dogs can kiss you, ANYTIME! That’s always great! Old dogs or puppies, or anything in between! And I can’t imagine why, but if you wanted to kiss a kittycat, I guess you could do that too. Yucch!)

Third, just because you’re on a date with someone doesn’t mean you have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you’re not sure about this one, be sure and see my question about What to Do On a Date.

Sometimes, when kids hear all these things, it scares them away from the fact that most touching is really nice. As with most things I say on here, what really matters is that everyone is safe. But don’t let this keep you from enjoying what’s good in life! It’s good to hug and be hugged, it’s nice to hold hands. And I really like being scratched just right there in that spot right behind that ear, and you’ll know it when you get it because it makes my foot start pounding like… ooohhhhhhhh yeah!

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