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4 Ways to Scratch a Man's Back

Peter is a husband, father, lawyer, part-time blogger, and hubber.

Four of the best ways to scratch a man's back.

Four of the best ways to scratch a man's back.

Tips for Better Back-Scratching

When I talk about back-scratching, I do not mean the exchange of political or business favors. I am referring to the actual application of fingernail to flesh: the time-honored, if somewhat primitive, tradition of the male back-scratch. Few activities are as personal, fewer are as enjoyable, and fewer still are as hard to get just right.

4 Ways to Scratch a Man's Back

  1. The two-handed back-scratch
  2. The slow, smooth stroke
  3. Wean him off his chronic itch
  4. Scratch 'til it hurts

Below are a few helpful hints for properly scratching a man's back. Every person with a husband, brother, father, son, or boyfriend has heard, "Scratch my back." I am convinced that someday soon, while searching for the human genes that cause disease, defect, or deformity, geneticists will stumble upon the male gene for back itchiness. Until that day, we are left to our own devices for the problem's identification and cure. Here are a few of the common problems I have identified and the solutions for each.

1. The Two-Handed Back-Scratch

  • Problem: The Elusive Itch. "A little to the left. No, my left. A little more. A little more. Oh, down a little. Ooh, right there. No, to the right. No, no, up a little bit . . . ". Sound familiar? The elusive itch has plagued mankind for as long as we've been scratching each other's backs, and it is as frustrating for the scratched as the scratcher. Not to worry, the elusive itch will elude no more.
  • Solution: The Two-Handed Attack. If you sense an elusive itch approaching (meaning you hear, "A little to the . . . "), flank the enemy on either side and trap it in the middle. Scratch with one hand to the right, one hand to the left and slowly move inward until the itch cannot escape. This maneuver works equally well with itches that evade upward or downward.

2. The Slow, Smooth Stroke

  • Problem: The Instant Itch. The instant itch is a surprise attack. Your red-striped male is going about his manly business hunting for food or playing with power tools when he is immediately rendered helpless by the attack of the instant itch. You know the instant itch by sight rather than sound. You see your manly man convulse and contort into the most unlikely of positions, reaching desperately with one or both hands for that most unreachable of spots on his back. Neither the bow, arrow, bayonet, hammer, saw, or drill which he is wielding is effective in locating the exact spot under attack. No, only the fine stroke of a loved one's fingernail can thwart the attack and prevent a trip to the ER.
  • Solution: The Slow, Smooth Stroke. You must resist the urge to respond to the instant itch in kind. If you do, the instant itch will transform into the elusive itch in no time, and that means trouble. Similarly, avoid responding to the violent seizing with violent scratching; you will only cause pain, itching, and painful itching. Your scratch should be a cool breeze on a blistering summer day, not a bucket of cold water. And don't begin by scratching the itch directly, no matter how much he begs (remember, you don't want it to elude). Scratch slowly and smoothly around the point of attack and work your way toward ground zero. This approach will catch the itch off guard, and give you just enough time to put out the fire.
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3. Wean Him Off His Chronic Itch

  • Problem: The Chronic Itch. If your man requires a back-scratching the first thing in the morning, right after a shower, after work, after meals, before meals, during meals, while watching television, and again before bedtime, your problem is the chronic itch, which is really no itch at all, but rather an addiction to the scratch.
  • Solution: Wean Him Off. If the itch truly is chronic, perhaps your afflicted male only needs a dollop of body lotion. If, on the other hand, the need is scratch-based rather than itch-based, you will need to wean your scratchee off the scratching. Slowly cut back from 10x a day to nine, then eight, seven, and so on. Also, trim your time from 30 minutes to 25, then 20, etc. Quitting cold turkey is not optional; you won't want to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms. Nor should you quit altogether—that's just cruel. Once or twice a day, a few minutes per scratch, is sufficient.
Funny Basswood Cat Back Scratcher

Funny Basswood Cat Back Scratcher

4. Scratch 'Til It Hurts

  • Problem: The Acute Itch. This is distinguishable from the instant itch, in that the acute itch has a discernible cause: insect bites, exposure to itch-causing elements, diseases, and the like. The acute itch is perhaps the most legitimate of all itches, but the most controversial. To scratch or not to scratch?
  • Solution: Scratch 'Til It Hurts. Parents, grandparents, and other equally qualified medical experts adamantly oppose scratching acute itches, but I couldn't disagree more. My primary concern is neither medical nor cosmetic; it is purely to teach the scratcher how to satisfy the needs of the scratched. Therefore, scratch long and hard. Until it hurts. Draw blood if necessary. When that particular spot starts to burn and hurt, it will stop itching.

Best Fun Back-Scratchers


Funny Basswood Cat Back-Scratcher


DCI Back-Scratcher Telescoping


Back Rake Oak and Walnut


Cactus Scratcher


Rivers Edge Products Ebytendable Bear Paw Back-Scratcher


Bear Claw Telescopic Back-Scratcher


BambooMN Brand—Bamboo Backscratcher


Back-Scratching Tips

Now that you know how to identify and solve the most common back-scratching problems, you can expect your scratcher-scratched relationship to improve dramatically. However, if you really want to send your relationship into the stratosphere and ensure your scratchee's back will never stray beyond the tips of your fingers, try these tips:

  1. Volunteer a Scratch: Yes, I know you may already be scratching a back every waking minute, but occasionally, once in a while, every so often, volunteer a scratch. No questions, no words, just scratch. If you know that you scratch for 15 minutes every night at 10:30 on the dot, why not volunteer a scratch at 9:45, you might even get away with a 5-minute scratch rather than a 15-minute scratch. Try it. He will love it.
  2. Scratch With Love: A loving, tender, thorough once-over will give you a greater return on your investment than a lengthy, hard, reluctant scratch. It just feels better.
  3. Make It Win-Win: Trade a back-scratch for a manicure. It's not, "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours." Not exactly. It's, "I'll scratch your back, you pay for my manicure." Many people like manicures, many people like back-scratches, and back-scratches are better with manicured nails. Win-win.
  4. Go Above and Beyond: Try scratching his neck and the back of his head. Try it while he's driving or watching the game. It will drive him nuts. It is even a little better than a good back-scratching, and the favor will be rewarded.
  5. Scratch Him to Sleep: Again, this is a win-win opportunity. Delay a routine back-scratching until bedtime and softly scratch him to sleep. You scratch, you score! You will score points, big time!

Go Forth and Scratch

You are now without excuse. It's time to go and scratch.

Do you have other tips or tricks of the back-scratching trade? If so, please share in the comment section below.

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