Dear Mr. Sexsmith:
I grew up physically and sexually abused. I have been a stone butch all my life. I masturbate every day and sometimes have fantasies of being touched when I have sex. (My masturbation fantasies are usually that I am getting a blow job.) Any time I have tried to let a sex partner touch me, I freeze up, a lot of times tears pour out of my eyes while I silently cry, so I avoid it at all cost. I don't seem to think I will ever have an orgasm at the hand of someone else. My question is, can you "learn" to be touched sexually, or should I just accept that masturbation is how I orgasm and find a partner who is okay with a stone butch?
-- Melting the Stone
I think you can do all of those: accept that masturbation is how you orgasm currently, find a partner who is okay with a stone butch, *and* perhaps do a few small, safe experiments (perhaps evolving to larger experiments) around being touched, since you are curious about what that would be like.
You didn't say, but I would be lax to fail to mention that I would, first and foremost, suggest seeking some sort of therapy around being a survivor. You may already be doing that, or have been working on it for a long time, but it is important to seek some salve for those wounds, and it is certainly likely that they have some overlap with opening up and being touched.
You also didn't say whether you have a partner or not, though implied you don't by your last line. Any experiments that you conduct around this should be done with someone you trust, so it might be hard to get too deep into it without someone who is willing to do some experimenting with you. I would suggest, if it is a possibility for you, seeing a sacred intimate, which is a growing profession for hands-on bodywork professionals who help people through sexual blocks, traumas, and patterning. Take a look at the book *Reclaiming Eros*, edited by Suzanne Blackburn, now out in its second edition, which features interviews and statements with many healers in this field, if you'd like to get a better feel for what this profession has to offer.
If for whatever reasons therapy or sacred intimate work are not currently options, there are still things you can do to explore getting touched. I definitely support finding a partner - or lover, or fuck buddy - who is okay with being with someone who identifies as stone. No - not just "okay," but eager, and celebratory about it. There are many folks out there who get that stone is not just something to be worked around, but is a super-hot and legitimate sexuality with many benefits. When I was at the Butch Voices National conference this year, Sebastian Cole did a presentation about stone identity and defined it as "control over what happens to my body," which I think is a wonderful way to put it, and I've been thinking about my own stone identity differently since. They also quoted someone as saying, "I didn’t get fucked until I came to a stone identity." It might seem contradictory, but it isn't: first, identity and practice are two different things, and second, claiming a stake in an identity can create some padding around it such that it can be pushed or explored in less rigid ways. Which is precisely why I started telling people on first dates that I am "basically stone," because its an easier explanation than saying, "I like to top probably ninety percent of the time, and sometimes I like to have you touch me, but even within that I don't generally have the desire to submit, and being penetrated and being submissive don't have to be the same thing," though that conversation usually does happen, eventually.
Having someone that you are exploring with who deeply accepts, understands, and respects that you are stone is an important first step, because if the person you are with is pushing you, you are most likely going to feel much less comfortable pushing yourself (that'd be my guess, anyway, if you are anything like me in this realm).
I think it's important, too, to radically accept that masturbation is how you usually or primarily get off, at least for now. And hey, that's great! There are lots of women (butches or not) who are pre-orgasmic or anorgasmic, who don't experience orgasms by themselves or with others. This tells me that your parts work well, and you know how to work 'em - fabulous. Now, the experiment becomes getting off with someone else.
So here's some ideas.
Have you played with mutual masturbation, or assisted masturbation? What if the person you are fucking (TPYAF) was in the same room, could you get off? While they watched? Or while they didn't watch? Are you too self conscious to let them watch? What if you were both under the covers with the lights out? What if she was curled up in your arms and touching your skin, kissing you, while you were touching yourself and getting off? What if she was telling you a dirty story? What if she was touching your hand while you were touching yourself? What if she touched your breasts, your chest, your mouth, your face, your hair, your neck, or whatever erogenous zones you might like touched, lightly or not, while you were getting off? You mentioned getting a blow job - how can you play with that? You might want to try a double dildo like the new Realdoe which could get sucked while you had your fingers on your clit, that might be delicious.
Go slowly. Pick one that seems possible and go for that one. What if none of these are possible? Well, what if you were getting off while she was on the phone? Could you let her hear you, even if you were quiet? Work with one at a time. When that seems comfortable, try a little more. Ask if she is game to let you call the shots, since you are stone after all and you get to say how your body gets touched. Tell her when you are ready for a little more. Maybe you like your nipples sucked. Maybe she could put her fingers inside, and just hold them there, while you stroked your own clit. Maybe she could put her tongue on your labia while you had your hand on your clit. Maybe she could press her body close to yours and feel you while you come. Maybe you can take your hand away for five minutes, and let her touch you, then switch back to your own hand and ask rear to witness or listen or watch or tell you a story or touch you there or there or there while you finish.
Through any of these experiments, you might cry. That's okay. No really, I mean it. I hope you can find someone to explore with for whom that is a perfectly acceptable, even occasionally expected, reaction. We store traumas in our bodies and sometimes when we are touched, we have a surge of strong emotions - most of the time, that is just the emotion releasing. I cry when I come hard, often. I cry when I'm having a particularly beautifully connected time with my lover. I cry unexpectedly when I am flooded with something from my past, some memory stored in my muscles that hasn't been yet excavated. Sometimes I don't have to even be the one who is being (actively) touched, sometimes it is just from having our bodies close and having the penetration and receptive energies flowing between us. It is okay to cry. It is also okay to pause, if you get overwhelmed with the emotion and it isn't just that you're crying but that you're panicking, and take a break, ask her to stop touching you for a while, get some water, breathe, breathe, breathe, and come back to it - if you want to - later, or the next day, or the next week. Take it easy. Go slow.
"Experimenting" is a concept I've learned through my Tantra studies, which encourages us to conduct the experiment and collect the data. Ask yourself: What was it like when I was touched this way? What did I feel? Did I get shut down, disassociate? Did I feel vulnerable and open and exposed, and that was hard, but I also secretly underneath that kind of liked it? Watch your own reactions and see what kind of data you can store. Maybe being talked to is too much, but being watched isn't - or vice versa. Maybe being touched on your back is excellent but touched on your face is awful. See what kind of information about your own sexual, sensual pleasure you can gather. You have so much you can play with before ever getting to the point of putting your body underneath someone else's hands to do with what they please; you can request precisely how you want to be touched, you can have complete control, and you can discover the ways that are safe, healing, and feel good for you.