Cuddle Parties and the Death of Platonic Male Touch
C. Brian Smith

Thank you Brian for writing this and sourcing such great imagery. I love seeing photos of men holding hands and connecting so freely and without any sexual connotations. I’m a woman so this is obviously only partially relevant to me, but nevertheless I’d like to share a pertinent experience:

In 2009, I spent two months living and studying at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, which was the birthplace of the human potential movement in the sixties. I was touched SO MUCH there. Everyone held hands, stroked people’s backs, put hands on shoulders, hugged a lot, leant against one another. It was just part of the way of life there. I was so struck by how little touch there was between me and my British friends — and I’m a woman who hugs all my friends on saying hello and goodbye! I felt incredibly nourished by all that touch, and sad for what I’d return to — a culture where touch is fairly awkward and laced with an undertone or question about sexual intention.

It’s interesting observing how interconnected touch is with sex in our society. I wonder if that has something to do with why we’re touch starved in general, particularly men. I definitely observe that many couples have issues around touch, which is perhaps a conversation for another day but which I’m sure is also connected to what you’ve written about here.

Thanks again.



One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.