Like many other guys who deal with same-sex attraction, I really appreciate affection expressed by physical touch. Especially hugs.

For me, hugs are never sexual — just a way to show Christian love. But not all guys feel comfortable hugging another guy.

So, when should I hug another guy or a male friend? The answer is different for each friend!

My friend, Jake, constantly questioned his sexuality. He wasn’t sure if his feelings for men would go away, and he absolutely did not want anyone to think he was gay.

Jake never let me hug him in public — or even tap him on the shoulder or arm. If I tried to do either in private, he always asked me if I’d meant anything sexual. I definitely did NOT! Because of his insecurity and out of respect for his own boundaries, I stopped expressing affection to him by touch.

My long-time straight friend, Brandon, on the other hand, has always hugged me with heartfelt affection, sometimes for several minutes and multiple times a day! I see him less often now that he is a husband and father, but I would not hesitate to express my love for him with a hug.

I struggled with emotional dependence in my friendship with Justin. We worked through it, and now he really understands my SSA and my desire for appropriate, non-sexual affection. He will gladly initiate a hug with me in private, though hesitates in front of his wife.

I think he believes she’d misunderstand it. I have never talked to him about her feelings on the subject, but out of consideration I will wait until Justin and I are alone before initiating a hug with him.

If I have to ask for a hug, is it a “real” hug? In short, yes!

Although my straight friend, James, had hugged me before, we started seeing each other every day after moving into the same house. He never seemed to initiate a hug, even though he clearly used other “love languages” to express affection, especially words of encouragement.

I knew we considered one another close friends, and I wanted to hug him more often, so I asked if we could do that. James really cares about me, so he gladly adjusted his behavior for me. He now hugs me several times a week! He usually just gives other guys typical “bro-hugs,” so I definitely feel his love through his special treatment of me.

What should you do if you want more hugging with a male friend? Talk to him honestly about it! Of course if he is uncomfortable with it, don’t force it. In his podcast on physical touch, Richard agrees that we SSA guys should let our male friends know our desire for hugs.

A most healthy desire.

Do you have male friends who hug you often, or do you wish they’d hug you more? Have you ever talked with your male friends about hugging? What holds you back from hugging other males or asking for their hugs?

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