In my last post, I talked about “bro cuddling” and some of my past bro cuddling experiences. I’ve cuddled with many fantastic men, all same-sex attracted (SSA). I can say with absolute certainty that these moments have been some of the most beautiful, moving, and totally platonic expressions of intimate love I’ve ever experienced.

Some might be reading this with reservations, or maybe you can’t wait to have your first cuddle.

Before you eagerly set out to find your first cuddle buddy, though, I’d recommend reading these basic pointers and guidelines based on my own past experiences with bro cuddling.

Before I begin, I’d like to give the disclaimer that I am not making the case that all SSA men — or men in general — should cuddle. For me personally, bro cuddling has been a very helpful and wonderful thing. But I realize it may not be the same for everyone. Cuddle culture, however, is quite common in “Side B / SSA” men’s groups, and I feel it should be discussed.

So, here now are Eugene Heffron’s 5 tips for bro cuddling. Make of them what you will.

1. Establish your boundaries before bro cuddling.

Say you’ve met another SSA guy (or if you’re lucky enough, a touchy-feely straight guy), and you’ve hung out a bit with him. Maybe you wanna have a sleepover or spend time somewhere just the two of you. Even though it’s a bit awkward, it’s a good idea to say something along the lines of:

“Hey, physical touch is very important to me. But how comfortable are you with touch?”

Depending on your friend’s response, you two may figure out that you both want to cuddle each other. However, make sure you set boundaries in the areas of cuddling too. What positions are okay and not okay? What parts of the body are off-limits?

For example, I’ve had guys tell me they’re uncomfortable with spooning.

In my case, I’m good for just about anything other than genital contact — which is pretty much a no-brainer. Whatever agreement you reach together, be respectful of each other’s wishes and stick to your boundaries.

2. Bro cuddling is better with established relationships.

I’ve heard many unfortunate stories of men overeagerly meeting with each other just to cuddle — only to cross over into sexual territory.

Just because you meet another SSA guy who likes to cuddle doesn’t mean that you should.

Make sure you have a good foundation with this other person; even better if you truly love him. Not only will the temptation to sexualize cuddling be lessened, but the experience will also be far more beautiful and meaningful.

If you cuddle someone without taking the time to build a proper relationship or form any sort of emotional intimacy, then the experience may very well become the platonic version of sex on the first date.

3. Erections happen in bro cuddling.

I’m going to put it bluntly: arousal and erections do happen during cuddling. Don’t panic! That doesn’t automatically mean the physical experience is an inherently sexual one.

In my case, I think it’s just how my body reacts to affection. I’ve also gotten erections when my puppy has snuggled into me, but that doesn’t mean I’m joining “Your Other Beastialities” any time soon.

I won’t lie: my first bro cuddle produced some unpleasant blue balls. Again, don’t panic as this only happened on my first time. Personally, my arousals and erections have lessened on subsequent cuddles as my body gets used to the experience.

However, this may be different for others.

4. Make sure you’re bro cuddling for the right reasons.

This is pretty straightforward. Are you cuddling with your brother because you love him and want to enjoy a shared moment of platonic intimacy? Or are you doing it to get a sexual high and masturbate afterwards?

Your answer should be the former and not anything like the latter.

I don’t have much else to say about this since it’s pretty self-explanatory, but bro cuddles should be about platonic intimacy and love and not about sex. Similar to what I’ve said about mutual nudity: when bro cuddling, be honest with yourself about your intentions.

5. Bro cuddling isn’t for everyone.

I’ll echo a lot of my previous thoughts on nudity: bro cuddling is not the ultimate experience or sole foundation on which to base a brotherly relationship. Yes, I’ve found bro cuddling to be a great thing, but it can be easy to idolize and distract you from fully knowing your brother — and being known by him.

Many guys may not want to cuddle for various reasons. Either they’re not touchy-feely, find prolonged physical contact uncomfortable, or feel that such touch may trigger them into sexual sin.

If you feel any reservations about bro cuddling, that’s okay. I’d advise you to abstain or use extra caution with cuddling if you feel it will lead you to act out.

If you feel bro cuddling is not right for you, I’d still highly advise that you incorporate at least some physical touch with your friends. Studies have suggested that lack of physical touch is unhealthy; humans have a basic need for touch.

Try placing arms around shoulders or hand-holding or hugging, at the very least.

Cuddling is an intense experience — in all the good ways, yes, but it is not something to be taken lightly. I recommend reviewing these guidelines before your first or next cuddle session, mainly to avoid sexual triggering and get the most loving experience out of it.

I’m not toting these five tips as official “rules” — just some things to keep in mind before you move forward in the friendship.

Establish your boundaries, be responsible, and have fun! Happy cuddling!

Do you cuddle with your closest brothers? Is bro cuddling beneficial for you, or do you avoid it? What other tips or guidelines would you add to this list?

    Eugene Heffron

    I’m a 30-something still trying to find my way in the world. Lover of all things creative, I am a drawer with an intuitive mind while also a deep thinker. I can be a person of extreme opposites: one moment a lone wolf, the next a social butterfly; one moment joyful and optimistic, yet sad and melancholic the next. As I came to terms with my SSA I met fellow SSA Christians and formed deep, intimate bonds. I’ve always longed for brotherhood and, at last, I have found it after years of social isolation. I am glad to be part of this community of bloggers and share my stories and struggles, joys and sorrows, dreams and longings.

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