From my earliest memories I’ve had this ache — a deep longing — to be touched. This was never a sexual longing. More like a core longing that goes down to the depths of my soul.
I have longed to hold and be held by other men like a brother.
When I was a little kid, I watched movies by myself and imagined having a brother sitting right next to me who would put his arm around me. This might be the deepest longing of my whole life. These are the “warm fuzzies” or beautiful warm feelings in my chest completely divorced from sexual feelings.
Odds are, you might have them too.
I wanted to be touched by the few straight friends I had, but they were very hands-off. One of my friends got annoyed if I even sat too closely to him on the couch.
A lot of my longing for innocent touch with my friends got rejected, and it hurt me.
In this day and age of sexual scandals and whatnot, platonic touch is lumped into the category of being anything but platonic.
This is especially true in touch with men. Straight men don’t want to give each other platonic touch for fear of being labeled gay. Our societal standards for touch are without a doubt a maze of stigmas, stereotypes, and double standards that can be very difficult to navigate.
I longed for even the simplest touch of an arm around the shoulder — let alone cuddling. After many friendships with straight men failed to produce the slightest physical affection, along with my many failed attempts at friendships in general, I felt I’d had enough. I was desperate.
The first man I ever cuddled with was a Side A guy I found on one of the nudist sites I frequented. We never discussed nudity all that much, but he went on about how much he loved cuddling.
It was too good to resist for me. Even though he was a Side A guy who I barely knew and met online, I felt I had to do this.
I was desperate. I was alone. I needed a warm someone to hold me.
We met at a Chipotle, and when he didn’t seem particularly creepy or like he was gonna murder me, I accepted his invitation to go to his house. I got extremely nervous as we walked into his bedroom.
Oh man, I thought to myself. What have I gotten myself into?! This feels like a hookup.
In many respects, that’s very much like it was — even though no sex happened.
We hopped under the covers, and it was quite a feeling. On one hand, it was very nice and warm; on the other, it was also distant as I barely even knew this guy. He also did a few iffy, less than platonic things to me under the covers.
As I drove home afterward, the smell of his cologne still lingering in my nostrils, the whole experience left me feeling temporarily elated, yet still inwardly empty. In general, I felt it had been more of a sexual experience than brotherly bonding with another man.
After all, I barely even knew the guy; to this day, I haven’t heard back from him or even know his name.
Many months later, God would bless with me with some incredible brothers who I met on YOB. While also attracted to the same sex, these Side B men wanted real brotherly platonic love.
At first, I was hesitant since I’d always envisioned being physically close with a straight guy. But I figured why not? Most straight guys wouldn’t touch me with a five-foot pole anyway.
There was a difference between these men and that random Side A guy I met online. We connected, we clicked, and we cared about each other. My heart grew warm every time I chatted with one of these men online.
Had I at long last found love?
The first brother I met in person mutually agreed to cuddle with me. We established our boundaries beforehand to avoid any possible triggering or awkward moments between us. As we both lay on the couch and embraced, I felt a powerful sensation.
I was loved. I was cared for. I was in a safe and warm place.
If we are indeed the hands and feet of God, I felt that I truly was lying in the palm of God’s hand. Forever kept warm from the cold bitter winds of this world.
“I love you,” I said to him.
“I love you too, buddy,” he said back to me.
I laid my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat for a while. I was truly safe and warm.
Since then, I have cuddled with many other brothers. Just about all of them have been positive and moving experiences. I’ve held hands, laid heads on shoulders during movies, placed arms around shoulders, Eskimo kissed, and forged long embraces with my brothers. I’ve even cuddled with several at once. Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy such touch with other men with sex never interfering.
Most of these cuddling experiences transcend the physical and begin to feel more spiritual. We aren’t just touching each other’s bodies; we’re touching souls.
If you are reading this as an SSA man who has never bro-cuddled before, you might have a lot of questions.
Maybe also a lot of personal doubts and insecurities.
In the next part of this series, I will give a few tips and ground rules to consider for physical touch and cuddling.
Have you ever cuddled or tried cuddling with another man, either SSA or straight? Was this a positive or negative experience? How desperately would you say you need physical touch or cuddling in your life?
I have been blessed to have many male friendships in college where we were physically close. Hugs, hand holding, casual touches were the norm for me. Since starting my career, those times have been few and far between, but they are always treasured when they occur. It wasn’t until I was in a touch drought that I realized how much simply having a platonic hand on a shoulder meant to me, how much I desired it. Fortunately, I have a couple of male friends (straight) who aren’t afraid to share in physical affection.
You’re very lucky! I went through so many years of having friends who were deeply touch-phobic which was very heartbreaking for me. But yes, as amazing as cuddling is, something simple like a hand on the shoulder can be very deeply satisfying.
That is great Brandon!
It’s kind of funny for me to think back on my history of cuddling. When I first saw two of my Side B friends, I thought, “What that BEEP are you doing? I thought we were avoiding this!!!” Fast forward to today, and it is one of my most profound spiritual experiences to be close and “touch someone else’ Soul.”
Sometimes I think we get too hyped up about boundaries and not enough on positive feelings that each person gets with close physical contact. I reckon most men, gay, straight, anywhere in between, are touch deprived.
I agree, I think a majority of American men are touch deprived since we live in an oversexualized society that basically labels any sort of touch between men to be “gay.” And I agree too that in some side B groups there is way too much focus on boundaries. Yes, boundaries are extremely important, but I think we lose a lot of the human element when we do that. Its important to recognize the positive aspects while being careful with what we do.
I thought the same thing when I joined SIDE B on Facebook. I kept asking questions about what this site was all about, and why was this or that encouraged. I had religious boundaries that needed to fall off. I loathe the law via the flesh. I had a lot of learning, and a lot of things that needed to fall away. I left the site discouraged and I asked to be banned lest I discourage anyone else with my questions. I found a fellow who wasn’t a Christian but his journey was similar to mine. He had shut himself away believing that there was no one out there that was like him. I learned through him about being close to a man and how to cuddle. Touching is very important. We have touched each other all over. I don’t oral, or sodomize, those are not ordained of God between men. The Holy Ghost keeps me as I acknowledge Him in all my ways. Yes, I talk to Him about everything and asking Him to keep directing my path. There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. He must show the path that we must take, even though we don’t understand what He is doing, or to what end or purpose.
“We have touched each other all over.”
I assume that doesn’t mean…..
It does yes. But not all the time. Boners come and there is a bit of touch down there. The only thing that is forbidden for me is sodomy. Oral is disgusting. Cuddling with my friend is rather new to me. I’ve been alone most of my adult life and to find another guy that likes to cuddle with me is super duper fantastic. The Holy Ghost is my conviction guide as I wade thru these waters. It’s been one full year now since we started cuddling.
So, is up to the individual cuddle partners to establish boundaries or is there a written guidelines?
Hey Thomas, That was then and now is now. I have a hard time touching a man “down there”. LOLOL. I was so touch deprived at first that I practically swallowed the guy with my affection. But, as time went on, the need to touch everywhere waned, like waters overflowing and now ebbing back to shoreline sensibilities. It’s no longer just flesh that I am touching, but it’s the man’s mind, his thoughts, his pain and his joys. His discouragements and encouragements. It’s listening to him and it’s hoping that he wants to be with me too. 🙁
I too want to be wanted.
I haven’t cuddled or tried to. My parents weren’t much for touching beyond perfunctory kisses. Growing up and for many years, I didn’t explicitly think of touch as something highly desirable. But now it seems to me that being able to experience a friendship which includes the sort of cuddling you describe would be very satisfying. If something is lacking in my life, that’s probably it.
Absolutely, I my case it has been very satisfying though its not for everyone. People do need touch even if its not cuddling. Lack of affirming physical touch from other people has been, according to studies, shown to be as unhealthy for you as smoking is.
Wow! That touches home. I’ve cuddle with two different guys. Both said they were straight, but I can relate when you said it was awkward. The second time it was much better. We’d built a bit of a friendship. Not sure what to say about it being a positive experience. Still working that out. I had to drive 10 hours last I cuddled. I’d say cuddle is vital for me right about now. Don’t have anybody local.
Ha I’ve traveled just as far to meet with friends who are cuddle buddies. It is much more vital if you cuddle with someone who is a friend rather than someone you just kinda know or just met. Its soooo much nicer but I’m gonna go into more detail in my next blog about that.
I can’t wait!
I definitely feel male touch deprived. I’ve two friends who don’t know about my SSA that are both fairly into hugs, but that’s about as far as it goes. Not sure how much more I want really; I guess just more like sitting close, arms around each other’s shoulders, that kind of thing. Question for everybody else though: how much does attractiveness/fitness affect whether you want contact with a guy? Like I’m fine hugging anybody, but I crave it more with guys who look good than not. Which I’m sure is pretty normal, but makes me worry I still have too much sexual associations with it. It probably doesn’t matter as much as I worry it does, but I’m curious what you guys experience, or just any thoughts you have on it. (Although I’m definitely on the same page with you Eugene how it doesn’t mean anything unless they’re friends).
Oh I hear you Asher. I must confess, I too have some pickiness when it comes to the people I cuddle with. Sometimes there a people with some physical attributes that I feel like I can’t cuddle. And I honestly feel terrible about it since I’m not a person to base a friendship purely on looks. Not that I’m asking my cuddle partner to be the best looking person in the world or anything. But I guess one example would be that I pretty much only cuddle with guys who are 20/30 somethings. Of course I have no ill feelings to the older folks (we can still be friends of course) but I guess it comes from a place of wanting to feel accepted and loved by my age group and peers. I haven’t had that longing for older folks.
I am cuddling a 51 year old. I am 50. LOL But he looks sooooooo young for his age. Even if he was 70, Id’ still would want to have him beside me. Now, here is a question. Does anyone on here get an ere*tion when you cuddle? I do, and my cuddle partner is quite aware of it because I am behind him (clothed).
I had this total aversion to big guys. I used to be turned off to big fat men. I am a big fat man myself. I liked smaller guys until I massaged a couple of big guys. I enjoyed their company and body size so I was no longer bias. The idea that you like a certain type is just your preference. However, it would be better if you got to know what you don’t prefer so that you don’t end up idolizing because of good looks or physique. Getting to know someone makes you understand that there is more attractiveness inside then out.
I am just starting my journey am coming out of a same sex relationship which is over a decade old
I would at the moment be to scared about becoming aroused
Not an unwarranted fear Stuart! I’m going to go more in detail with issues like those in my next blog.
Great post Eugene! Thank you for sharing it. As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a very formal home where any kind of touch was not encouraged. Hence, I have never experienced such personally like cuddling…and it has been many years since I have given a guy a hug or received one. I may never get to experience such in this life, but perhaps in heaven that will be possible. Anyways, again, I do appreciate your post and am happy for you that you’ve been blessed to have this blessing!
amen Bradley…sounds like such a blessing to experience brotherhood.
As you know from my personal interaction with you face-to-face, I love expressing brotherly affection with appropriate physical touch, especially heartfelt hugs.
I believe that the most important thing is the love, and 1 Corinthians 13 is clear that Christlike love is patient and not self-seeking. In the words of my former youth pastor, Alex Clattenburg, “Love can wait to give. Lust can’t wait to get.”
Whenever I seek to show love to a brother I test it. If I am demanding something NOW or I’m trying to GET something from the guy instead of giving, it is the wrong kind of love and I don’t do it. If I am giving, patient, and willing to bless him before me, it is right. I’m sure you and I will both share more later, but for now I will say I believe in boundaries and protecting myself and the other guy from lust. Often that means saying no to cuddling, and yes to shaking hands, bro-hugs, whatever.
Very well said Marshall! There have been times in the past where I’ve felt like I’ve demanded cuddles immediately and rushed to cuddle with some. While nothing bad happened, they didn’t feel particularly genuine. `But like I said, in my next blog I’ll be discussing some 101 tips on how to have decent cuddles and avoid lust.
Just to clarify, I do believe we can do what Jesus did. He let the Apostle John lay his head on His chest, but it was done publicly in front of His disciples and in the context of a close friendship.
I will sometimes sit right next to a friend with my arm around his shoulder, talking and even crying together, but it is in a public place where at least my straight housemates can see. If I can’t do it in front of them, it is probably going too far. I don’t believe we should be cuddling in bed behind closed doors.
Marshall, I always enjoy your well reasoned and cautious comments. God’s glory should always be our focus, and you usually point us that way. Thanks, brother.
I cuddle in bed all the time.
If the boundaries are understood why should cuddling be confined?
Dear Tommy, I love you man. You are straightforward and to the point. There are really no boundaries if you are able to enjoy anything without doubting. If there is a smidgen of doubt, don’t do it, because then it’s a sin. “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” Paul was talking about eating meat that was being sacrificed to animals. But, like all the word of God, this application applies to everything. Everyone is different in their walk with God. At one time, believers condemned those who drank coffee, or took the speedboat out on a Sunday afternoon. Such hogwash legalism. But, those people thought that those things were a sin because their minds were tainted by men. They were taught to believe that. But if a man who has never had any type of church upbringing and is a raw candidate that the Lord has chosen, BLESSED IS HE. If he can stay away from man’s teaching of what is right and wrong and is only directed by the Holy Spirit, BLESSED IS HE. Because there is a HUGE difference between what man perceives as right and wrong and what God our Father sees. When we spend time listening to His voice and dismiss the so-called preachers voice, we’d be better off spiritually. I am a radical 🙂
We live in a super duper paranoid homophobic society that if two guys are seen in my conservative town, putting their arm around each other in public they would be shunned. There is no male affection exhibited in my city, you can’t get away with it here. It has to be done behind closed doors, away from prying eyes. When two guys hug in church, it looks so plastic that you wonder why they bother. I thank God that I am free to be me and not constrained by legalism which has no place in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit will lead and guide us toward Christ. If we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul mind and our strength, the need to do inappropriate things will wane and eventually fall away to things that are more important. We may have started off cuddling like persons that were in solitary confinement for several years. And God knows our weaknesses and our frames, He doesn’t judge us. But as time goes on, the ebbing power of God’s spirit pulls us back and feeds our hearts that which we have been lacking and what we thought that needing a man was the answer. A man we certainly need and His name is Jesus and more of Him we need. After awhile, cuddling turns into long walks, maybe even holding hands in the woods or something. My need for a man to embrace is important, but I am not desperate anymore. I have found that touching and feeling the Lord and hearing His voice can’t be compared. But, I still have a robe of flesh and from time to time, the need to be touched by a brother in Christ is still something that I need too. And God, who is my Father, knows my need before I pray.
Hugs and even some bro hugs too often feel cold and clinic – devoid of affection or emotion. I completely understand the need for cuddling and in the right context believe it can be very healing.
The reason I give a handshake, shoulder pat, or bro-hug is almost always because of the OTHER guy’s boundaries. Even extended hugs are not sexual to me.
When I do that I put my heart into that physical action as I would in a real hug. Just yesterday I was expressing affection to a straight guy who I could tell didn’t want a hug from me. I gave him one pat on the shoulder while I looked him straight in the eye. He looked back at me with surprise. I could tell he felt my love and didn’t expect it to get through.
Please explain what you mean about doing these things in public prevents intimacy and honest conversation.
Ok, so this is a huge desire for me, sometimes to the point of idolatry. I was in a really bad place last year and I reached out to my guy friends for the emotional support and masculine affirmation I was desperately needing. I had read Kevin Frye’s post about desexualizing men, and I got the courage to ask them if I could sleep with them. Yeah, that didn’t go over too well. But two guys said yes. One I really think saved me from jumping out of a window that semester, but he was really busy and rarely had time to help me. The other guy I let manipulate me into sex; it started out innocent and really helpful, but he wanted more and more and I felt like I needed him. Having had both experiences I believe it can be really good, but with other guys who’ve had problems with sexualizing men, it’s not something I can do without another person holding me accountable in the moment, i.e., I’m down for a group cuddle sesh, but I can’t trust myself to do it alone.
Thanks for sharing your story Joshua! I know that desperation all too well, and how it can lead you into situations where cuddling might not be the safest as I mentioned in my story. Having someone there to keep you accountable is a good idea. It wouldn’t rule out one on one cuddling with someone, if you had real strong trust with each other and laid out each other’s boundaries then I’d say its worth a shot.
Physical masculine love is powerfully healing. It’s been super absent from my life for a while. I found the most healing when I had a brother show me lots of love and put his hand on me when I prayed. We hugged sometimes too and shared a powerful spiritual bond at one time. His name was Josh. He was my roommate for 4 months while I was in the Teen Challenge program. He helped me build confidence in myself, start weight lifting, playing sports, and face my issues. After he was done with the program, I lost that masculine love. Insecurities were awakened, tendencies grew, and unhealthy sexual habits arose. When I started hooking up again, which was about 4 months ago, I remember the primary desire was just to get some masculine love. It wasn’t even about the orgasm, but the connection that I so craved.
I like what you had to share in this post, Eugene. Personally, I think this can get a little iffy if not done with caution. Honestly, if I got in bed with a guy who wanted to cuddle, my flesh would want more than that. My body just responds in more ways than “warm fuzzy feelings”. I don’t know how we can fulfill this need, but it definitely can be done. I had a SSA brother through a Christian club who really found the power of long hugs. I was a little nervous of them. To give and receive a platonic hug from a friend your not pursuing sexually is rather foreign to me. I remember he would train me to give longer and longer hugs. This, according to him, helps free you to feel that love but not sexualize it. This was about years ago. It’s funny that you wrote about this post because I just recently met up with an older SSA brother who is coming alongside me at this stage in my life. We met at a Mexican restaurant and I shared all my junk, my hurts, habits, and hangups. I asked me to let him hold my hand and he spoke affirming words into me. He always greets me and says goodbye with long hugs. You know what I’m talking about? Those kind of hugs where you’re like “ok it’s time to be done with this”, all your hug energy is spent, and the other person is still holding onto you like a tree climber without a harness. Well, that’s what these SSA brothers do to me, HAHA! Hopefully one day I can really both give and receive genuine hugs and not feel as uncomfortable. Isn’t that strange that some of us can so easily hook up, pursue romantic relationships, fall into the arms of a stranger for an erotic encounter, yet feel so afraid to connect with a brother on platonic level? And others feel such a profound desire to for that physical touch? We are all wired so differently, but nevertheless we still got that deep need for a soul and physical connection with other men.
It is possible to find, I believe. Take a look at other cultures around the world. Physical bonding and touch is rather common in other places around the world. I remember learning about India and how men hold hands a lot there. Seriously, grown men holding hands like school girls on the streets! If you don’t believe me look it up yourself.
Hey guys at YOB! I’m glad to be back on here. Looking forward to reading and responding to more of these posts in the future!!
What more needs to be said! You’ve elequently put into words so much of my own experiences and sentiments on this topic, Eugene. Thanks for this post!
I’m a little naïve with regard to what you mean by “side A, side B” however. What are you referring to… in English, please?
‘Side A’ are those who belive in God, but give in their attractions and indulge in sexual interactions. ‘Side B’ are those who believe in God and resist their sexual desire. I am ‘side B’ for instance, having been celibate for 13 years.
Thank you Dean! And yeah I guess Bradley answered that question for me haha but I’ll go into a little more detail: Side A is basically folks attracted to the same sex but believe homosexual sex is not sinful or wrong. Side B is basically guys like us, attracted to the same sex but believe homosexual sex is not what God intends for us.
First off Eugene, I want to thank you for opening up a dialogue on this subject. I was hoping for a YOB podcast on the subject, but I appreciate your words and perspective on the matter. They are warm and insightful.
During a recent trip I took this year, I visited a fellow SSA friend whom I got word was not doing well all around. I thought I could offer some emotional support to him and help him reinforce his well being through spending quality time with him. He offered me a place to stay overnight at his home where we watched Netflix until the late hours. As a simply platonic and loving gesture on my part, I asked him he would like to cuddle with me on his new sofa bed. He respectfully declined and reasoned he needed to institute some healthy boundaries in his life concerning his friendships. I yielded to his explanation as I’m the type of guy that desires physical affection, but at the expense of causing my straight or SSA friends to feel uncomfortable about it. Subsequently, the next day this SSA friend and I shared a brief special period holding hands and leaning our heads on each others’ shoulders. It was a gratifying experience to show this friend through physical touch. It’s my hope I’ll get to show similar displays of affection to my SSA friends in the upcoming year, both young and old. OSA guys, like in your case Eugene, have been harder challenges to garner physical touch and affection. Only during college and in VERY rare instances did I ever get a chance to both give and receive such sentimental tenderness. Presently, I wouldn’t exactly say that I am in desperate need of physical touch or cuddling in my life. Although I do long for it on occasion and miss the numerous times I engaged in affection with friends during my earlier years. Tides turn.
Hi Eddie! Yeah you’re welcome, I’ve figured for a long time that this was something that needed to be discussed since cuddling is so common in Side B SSA groups. I imagine there will be a podcast on this someday.
Your interactions with your friend sound very ideal to situations like this. You talked about your boundaries but still managed to have some nice physical touch even if it didn’t include cuddling. Very nice! And yeah, it is very hard to find proper physical touch with men in the regular world. I feel OSA men long to have intimate touch with other men but society has turned them off to it.
“since cuddling is so common in Side B SSA groups.” That’s good to hear. I haven’t gotten that impression yet that it’s so common, but maybe I’m still new to all this or I’m just one of those “older folks” ;D (I kid a lot). Like you, I have some reservations of course on cuddling meaning being with a stranger versus being with a friend. That hollow, empty, aftermath feeling as opposed to what we truly desire that warm, caring, connected feeling. I would want to get connected to guys first on a relational and emotional level then move on from there.
I REALLY hope you’re right on the notion “OSA men long to have intimate touch with other men…” Surely I’ve seen OSA guys being genuinely affectionate with each other. Although it seems to only happen under certain circumstances (sporting events, college) and gradually lessens over time.
I never realized how much the touch of another guy could affect me until I admitted I loved David Wells. We did the usual boy things like wrestling and such. Many times when I spent the night at his house, I would cuddle up to him in our underwear (sex was NEVER involved). When he died at 14 this touch was suddenly gone from me. Most of the reason I went into the gay lifestyle was because of this missing element. I no longer want sex with other men because I now know this. The closest thing I have (till his resurrection) is feeling of his grave marker. It is a poor substitute, but it is sufficient.
I can’t imagine what this would be like, Bradley. To lose someone that young. Someone you love dearly. And then only to be able to touch his gravestone moving forward. Ugh. I feel for you, brother. Thanks for sharing so boldly here with us.
Men should feel men more often. As SSA Christians, it’s needful and healthy. Emotional Dependency is also healthy until we learn to stand on our two feel. In the bible, it says that if a war breaks out and a man just married his wife, he is denied entrance to go to war. He is to stay home and to satisfy her cravings for his emotional and strength. As men, we can’t have sex with men because it’s not ordained of God. But we can, in other ways, feel satisfied by being a personable cuddly friend to each other. We, as Christians shouldn’t shun something that is very natural. Sodomy and oral sex is not!
Just my thoughts, but turn this around for someone who is OSA. Imagine if a straight guy felt a need for physical affection through cuddling with other women and claimed it was platonic. Most people would probably agree that this is not something to pursue, no matter how much the guy claimed it was platonic, and that it would be counterintuitive to his problems he may have sexually. And straight guys definitely don’t usually get to cuddle with other women. I absolutely agree that physical affection like hugs and touches are something we should have with our brother’s in Christ, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But cuddling, hand holding, etc. are expressions that even straight people reserve for either partners or maybe direct relatives or something. I’m not one to deny anyone’s positive experiences, and I’m overjoyed for you if you think God somehow used cuddling to further your closeness to him and other people, but I have my doubts and cautions when it comes to this stuff. The heart is very quick to say something is ok as long as it means it gets what it wants. We love to justify sinful desires because it means we don’t have to face consequences. I’m not saying that’s what this is, but I am saying this reminds me of it. Feel free to tell me if you think I’m missing something 🙂
Fred, I agree with you that we should at least compare cuddling among SSA guys to a straight guy cuddling with a girl. I showed my straight friend (yes, it was James!) this post and he asked why we think it is ok to cuddle with another guy, but he can’t cuddle with a girl without everyone assuming she is his girlfriend.
He is right. No one would object if he sat close to a girl and put his arm around her to comfort her in a moment of pain. But if he was cuddling with her lying on top of him, everyone would assume they were starting to get sexual.
Thanks, Marshall, for seeing the comparison. It seems a bit of a double standard.
Hey Fred, thanks for your perspective and you make a lot of good points. While I don’t know a lot of the technicals about how it would work since I’m not straight, I think a heterosexual man could platonically cuddle with a girl. Of course it really comes down to their intentions. Are they doing it for sexual gratification even if its totally private? Or are they doing it out of love in their hearts for each other as friends? I imagine things would be difficult if either of them were in another romantic relationship but that’s another tangent. Again I’m not straight so I don’t know the intricacies of that.
Yeah there are some in society that would find such behavior scandalous and wrongly judge it as sexual. But who cares that they think? If you know in your heart your intentions are platonic then there’s nothing wrong with it. I know many would judge my bro cuddling as something sexual but I don’t care. I can say with my hand on the bible while on my mother’s grave that my cuddling was out of love in my heart, and not to sexually get off.
This could apply to any sort of relationship (between friends, between adults and kids, between humans and animals, between male friends, between female friends, etc). If the consenting parties are touching each other out of a connection of the soul and love rather than gratification of the flesh then there’s nothing truly wrong or sinful about it despite what society might think.
While I understand what you’re saying, if you haven’t already, read Kirk Daniel’s thoughts. Cuddling gets really messy and I just think it can be really dangerous waters to cross with any amount of boldness.
Working at super macho summer camps, I’ve noticed straight guys “cuddling” too. Maybe “cuddle” is the wrong word (I’ve always hated the word). But they’re often sitting next to / on top of each other, arms and legs wrapped around each other, even hand-holding. I haven’t seen such touch to be that uncommon in the straight guy world. To some extent, yes, we need to guard our hearts and be rational since physical touch is a powerful tool indeed. But sometimes — in my experience, anyway — letting go of “touch legalism” has been very freeing.
I’m glad you think so Tom. The operative word we’re looking for here is balance. What that balance looks like is what we strive to discover without compromising ourselves.
My thoughts exactly, Fred. Also, if the issue is the need for touch to address a lack of male closeness from when we were young, when doed that need to stop? I am a married man. Do I go bro cuddle, too? Or is my wife supposed to meet all of that for me now? How could she, when she is a woman, not a man?
I’m just a little speechless, brothers. Truly. I say that with lots of love and respect. One cannot see the heart in the digital exchange, but if you could, you’d know the depths of feeling from which my comments come.
This would have destroyed me if I had read it when I was younger. Parameters, or none. Do we risk that in the name of Christian liberty?
Hey Kirk, I’m not sure I totally understand your argument. Who says touch needs to stop? I think people need touch their whole lives in order to function. Its a simply mentally healthy thing to do. Yeah I didn’t have much touch most of my life which makes me crave it more. That certainly doesn’t mean I wouldn’t need any touch at all after that. I have also met many married SSA men who cuddle with other men. They have talks with their wives about it beforehand and they’re usually okay with it. I believe that one’s spouse should never be the soul source of affection, such expectations lead to emotional dependency of loneliness. Affection with someone other than your spouse does not automatically mean adultery.
Its fine if we disagree on this. But I do ask you open your mind about this and see it without the smoke screen of society’s expectations. Our oversexualized American society always associates touch with sex when they’re totally different things. In many other countries, touch between the same genders is much more frequent and publically displayed without any judgement or stigmas. In India its customary for male friends to hold hands. I believe its natural for people of the same gender to show physical affection for each other regardless of sexual orientation.
I’ll be honest, when I wrote this, I was worried that maybe I was wrong and being harsh. But you’re perspective as a married man kinda solidified that it wasn’t just a side thought. You’re completely right. Thanks!
One of the defining moments of true healing in my journey with SSA was when I first cuddled with my close friend (I’ll call him Anthony). He had opened up to me about his struggles with pornography and sexual purity with girls (he does not struggle with SSA), and I had shared my story about SSA as well. We have been good friends for about three years now. I never told him how much I wanted to cuddle with another guy. He’s a preacher for a small local congregation and I couldn’t be more proud of him taking on that kind of responsibility at age 22, so you can imagine how he feels about himself during his moments of sexual weakness. We had attended Wednesday night Bible studies with our respective churches and he came over afterwards just to hang out. After our nonsensical conversations and listening to all the new acapella hymns that had been published for the church (we’re both huge acapella geeks), Anthony decided he was too tired (or was it lazy) to drive 40 minutes home, so he stayed. He didn’t have his pajamas or anything else with him, so he just slept in his underwear. I went and got my shower, changed into my PJ’s, and climbed in bed with him. We talked and giggled for at least another half-hour; neither of us could shut up. I was thinking to myself how blessed I was to have him in my life. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this close or connected to another man. I just needed more touch, so I decided to take a risk and lay my head on his chest. I could tell he wasn’t uncomfortable, so I just stayed there, listening to his strong yet gentle heartbeat, and feeling his chest rise and fall with each breath. I told him how strangely comforting that was for me. Eventually my arm started to revolt against the uncomfortable position it was in, so I just rolled over on my back. Anthony and I just stared at the ceiling, not saying a word, neither of us able to drift to sleep. Next thing I know, he is rolling over onto his stomach, nuzzling his face into my neck, and wrapping his arm snugly around my chest, as if someone would try to come along and steal me from him in the middle of the night. In that one magical moment, it was as if every hidden and deep longing in me had been fulfilled. He had sensed that this is what I needed so desperately. I took my opposite arm and crossed it over his and rested it on his shoulder, creating an unbreakable seal of sorts. My heart raced (considering all the years of cuddling depravity) and my mind swam with so many thoughts, but at the core of them all…was safety. Acceptance of a brother. Affirmation of a brother. Affection of a brother. All things I had tried to give my best of to him, and now he was returning it in my love language. I didn’t sleep a wink that night – I didn’t want to miss a single second of this. Instead, while he dozed off, I spent most of that night in prayer, thanking God for him and for preparing me for such a critical moment of healing. I realized that night that God always gives us what we need IN HIS TIME, not mine. Anthony knows now that a few minutes of cuddling is mandatory before I can fall asleep. Your Anthony is out there somewhere, brother. Go find him. Take a risk. God will guide you to him if you trust Him. And if you can’t, I’m always down to be your personal cuddlebug 😉
My defining moment involved a sleepover with my best friend. We were twelve and we both slept in our underwear. He had mentioned that he normally slept in the nude. I innocently said I didn’t mind if he did. He declined, but he didn’t reject me as his friend. I cuddled up to him and felt so safe. A year and a half later, he took his own life. I was devastated. It must be understood, we NEVER had sex. I went into the gay life because I was missing him. I was in mourning, refusing to grieve for him because I would have to admit I loved him.
I didn’t start to get better until I could admit this.
I can’t imagine losing a brother like that. I’m so sorry for your loss, man. I’m glad you realized what was going on underneath the gay lifestyle. Did you really feel like you were in love with him? Or was that just the emotional high that you were on after having such a special experience with him?
I loved him, but refused to accept it because I was so afraid it would make me gay. I already was and entered the lifestyle because I was missing him; not because I wanted sex with a guy.
I loved him. It is still hard for me to say; which is why I took his death so hard. My mother was stoned at the time so I didn’t get the grief counseling I needed. My grades tanked and no one noticed at school. I got to speak to a school counselor one time right after it happened, but he kept calling him by his first name (which he never went by, I barely knew it myself); I didn’t even know who he was talking about at first. The worst thing occurred when I visited my father and his wife. She told me he was burning in hell for killing himself. I lost all hope and became suicidal, because I couldn’t deal with his death and the very likelihood of being a homosexual. I was only fourteen.
I loved him, and didn’t go into the gay life till several years later. I already had basic SSA, but his death triggered something in me. I was missing him, and was confusing sex with love. Now with the knowledge that I was having sex with men because I was missing him, the thought of sex now makes me nauseous. God found a way to make sure I would never have gay sex again.
Awwwww! That’s so beautiful!
[…] my last post, I talked about “bro cuddling” and some of my past bro cuddling experiences. I’ve […]
[…] This is still a source of annoyance for me and quite a contrast from my time with other brothers with whom I cuddle and spill my most intimate […]
[…] Eugene’s “Let’s Talk About Bro Cuddling” post: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2017/12/27/bro-cuddling/ […]
[…] Eugene’s cuddling post: “Let’s Talk About Bro Cuddling” […]
Hello, I have a very recent experience with this and am still trying to decide if it is positive or negative, a bit of both I guess, about a year and a half ago I met my best friend at a youth/young Adults meeting. He has a very goofy and touchy feely personality and is just a very loving person in general, which is great.
Anyways almost a year ago he started dated my sister (who he is now in a very serious relationship) and I would hang out with them a lot, he would goof around a lot by getting in someone’s space.. set on his friends lap mess with their hair.. etc.. and he started doing this to me and, and when he would be sitting with my sister and I would come set by him he would put his arm around me too quite often, sometimes he would even tell me to set in his lap. I found it kind of adorable to be honest and the feeling was amazing. and my sister said it was cute.
Anyways, I liked it so much that sometimes he would go periods without acting that way with me and it made me feel kind of jealous or afraid he thought I was weird now or something. well last summer he was full swing cuddling me, sometimes he would lay on top of me when I was in bed, and we would goof around a lot like.. well boys. I guess it felt great to me because I never had a little brother (he is quite a bit younger then me) and it felt great to have someone love me that much, he didn’t know about my SSA, which I have struggled with most of my life, a couple years ago I made a change after going through a pretty dark period in my life. I feel like in a lot of ways his love/cuddling has helped me heal a lot and I love him well it’s hard to describe words for how much I love him. I did get aroused a couple times when doing it though. but I don’t know if that is necessarily “sin” per say. it was a body reaction is all.
But anyways a couple a months ago was one of the hardest times in my life. my dad had a stroke and he was through for my family through all of it, some things are too intimate for this chat I think, but lets just say we had a very intimate cuddle (nothing sexual happened mind you) in on the hospital chair on one of the hardest nights of my life.
But now he spends more time with my sister and apparently he has known about my past for a couple months and we talked about it one night and he said it doesn’t change a thing, which is great. but he has not really cuddled with me in a while. not like he used to anyways.. and I’m not sure if it’s just a phase, something my sister said or what, but I feel kind of lonely again and hurt. He does still goof around with me and given me a quick cuddle here and there. but it’s not the same. I kind of want to talk to him about it, but I’m afraid if I do it will be awkward or he will stop altogether. I mean it could mean nothing he gets plenty from my sister so he probably doesn’t feel the need for it as much as I do anymore, I also don’t want to want something so much as to sin, but I really do feel like it helps me. He obviously still loves me, he tells me that almost daily. I do think western culture has way oversexualized physical touch and affection, especially in males.. and the bible says there is a time for every season, and to embrace and a time to re-frame from embracing.. and everything in moderation.
I have sort of cuddled with a couple of my other guy friends but not nearly to the same extant, and yes I do typical want to do it more with guys I find attractive.. but I still don’t think of anything beyond that.
And I don’t want a boyfriend anymore.. I tried that and it was just awful. I would be open to more cuddle buddies though.. if it’s right, I guess I’m a bit lost.. are these desires wrong?
Hi Alex! First off, that’s a cute story with your friend. I’m glad you got to have a friend like that. But no, those desires aren’t wrong at all. Wanting a person to feel intimate non sexual touch with is not a bad thing. Touch is necessary, heck I feel like its an incredibly strong genuine need in me. Its not only necessary, its healthy. Just as long as you know you want it for healthy touch and intimacy rather than sex then you’re just fine.
Thanks Eugene, I seemed to be worrying for nothing, we have cuddle since then lol maybe not on the levels we did in the past. but he still is my best friend and shows me affection.
That’s so great, I’m glad you guys are still good friends. Enjoy the cuddles!
It may be over forever now, he broke up with my sister, his parents had a major part in it. they were nearly engaged. and now he has pushed himself so far away from me. I don’t know if we will even be friends anymore, the few times I’ve seen him since he has almost completely ignored me.
I am devastated, I don’t even care if we cuddle anymore. I just want my friend back.
Dear Alex, WOWZERS, that is some unfolding of drama. It’s been a year since the last time you wrote any updates. Is there any updates? And how are you feeling?
As I read your post I felt the belly fire of knowing I was entering a vulnerable zone of truth. The truth is that I have lived the same experience. Where the danger of being labelled as gay made my desire of care and trust being physically manifested seem impossible to achieve. I have achieved them a few times in a platonic form, but it has been a long time. I know this is something I am in need of again (and probably forever), and I thank you for helping me realize it. I can see that the stain of past attempts at achieving this connection turning sexual has driven me far away from aiming for something (in my opinion) better and purer. I guess it is time to try (or aim) for something better again.
You’re welcome AJ! I truly believe you can aim for something better. Its not impossible as I’ve done it many times. Best thing is to establish boundaries and make sure you and your cuddle partner are comfortable at all times.
Hey! This post is 1000% me!!! I honestly thought that I was the only one that felt like I needed guys to cuddle with to make me feel encouraged and loved. I would literally do anything to have someone that cares for me like that. My desire for actual relationships with other guys I think is mostly because of the lack of cuddling. I would do ANYTHING for some guy(s) who I know care for me and that I can be/cuddle with. I’m the exact same way as you in the sense that I need physical affection…nothing sexual, but it just causes me to feel like I can confide to the other person. It causes me to feel loved.
Everyone I’ve been around isn’t that type and it’s really discouraging. To be completely honest, I don’t know if anyone would understand my need for cuddling. I’ve imagined (so often) being with a friend who cares and who I can be with. A guy who wouldn’t think it awkward if he put his arm around me and let me lay my head on his chest.
Everything right now doesn’t really seem to be going right for me. I can’t ever hope to find a guy like that and the only way I can think of is to find a literal boyfriend and hang out/have an intimate relationship with him. And although there’s a guy on Instagram I’m communicating with, he lives in Texas and we just started communicating.
Again, I am completely the same way as you. But there’s no one like that where I go and I’ll be honest, I’m so discouraged and broken. I’m at a college called Pensacola Christian College right now for my freshman year of college but there’s no one who I think would understand me here. It’s such a struggle that I often wonder if life is entirely worth it.
Btw thank you, Eugene, for your post. I felt like all of my deepest thoughts and desires were being expressed. Thanks!
Also, thanks for your last email for the “coming out” post. It means a lot:)
[…] a while, they started snuggling under the covers. Yes, I know I’ve written two blogs about the benefits of cuddling. But these weren’t tender, platonic […]
[…] the soldiers snuggled for practical reasons, staying warm in the cold. As opposed to some who may cuddle for the joy of physical […]
If you need healing and you keep your eyes and heart towards the Lord JESUS He will see to it that your need is met. Let us trust Him to bring about what is best in our lives. If it’s in the form of bro cuddling.. and you are blessed to walk in that without sin, good for you. If it’s not bro in the form of bro cuddling, but healing does come good for you in another way, good for you too. I will not seek bro cuddling. I will seek the Lord.
[…] suppose, given the nature of this website, my admission surprises approximately nobody. Even people who know I’m […]
I just found this link with the help of a friend. I never could have imagined a site that actually discussed Cuddling. I identify with Eugene in that I have always felt the deep inward pulling to be cuddled, touched, validated by another man. I came from a very physically and emotional abusive family. My parents had no clue the damage they inflicted on me. I was never told I was loved, never hugged with reassurance when I was hurt emotionally or physically be abused.
I was never athletic like my father thought boys should be. I was often beaten because I shunned sports and had no interest in sharing his enthusiasm for all things sports. My adolescence was pronounced with being very awkward, withdrawn, shy, not being able to share a single thought in conversation without being ridiculed , told I was stupid and generally shunned or totally ignored. Girls my age simply rolled their eyes at me and told to get lost.
I never new an embrace much less a hug till I married. Even then the need to be touched and cuddled by a man was never understood and often missed the mark even with my wife.
I feel totally alone and weird because of my need to be non-sexually cuddled and validated. I have no close friends. And long for the affection of another man so much it hurts.
So anyone reading this and identifies with my feelings, I welcome and open discussion. I want to learn more.
Hello Thomas, I am grateful for your story, it sounds a lot like mine. The only thing different was, I never got married. I was pressured into marriage once from my Dad and my Pastor because both men reasoned that that would “straighten” me out, but I never had the internal switch that turned on for girls. I was rewired by an older man’s lust at a young age. So, I ended up liking guys and well, that’s a different story. LOL. I somewhat relate to this site for the guys that are not married. Although I don’t identify as being “gay”, I have a hard time fellowshipping with straight guys. Why? They are so damn good looking. LOLOL. The whole time I am talking to them, I just want to hold them. That is the extent that the Holy Ghost has allowed me to have. Touch, feeling, cuddling, talking, but anything below the belt is off limits and I am glad of the conviction power of God, it keeps me focused. Please tell me you live in Canada. 🙂