Well written and thoughtful piece, thank you. There are certainly exceptions to this generalization for those of us who were raised in less traditional environments, yet still the cultural reverberations are unavoidable. Neither of my parents growing up were particularly physically affectionate towards me, but when I got to high school I had the fortune of falling into a very physically affectionate friend group, mainly comprised of bisexual and homosexual boys and girls. Any awkwardness I may have felt about hanging out with these non-traditional sexualities was vastly overshadowed by the fulfillment of my need for gentle touch and physical affection. And though I did date some of these girls and sexualized some touch, it gave me the opportunity to distinguish between sexual and platonic touch and served me very well later in life when interacting with members of other genders.
While my parents struggled with physical affection towards my brother and I (even going so far as to blame us for pulling away at a very young age), they always taught me about acceptance of everyone and an understanding of and appreciation for difference, so I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. Looking forward to passing on these good habits to my daughter as she grows.