I recently was shown this article.  Honestly made me feel pretty sad.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-07-021-f

Personally, I feel like I've been a very guarded person most of my life yet I've also really craved some kind of deep friendship (or buddyship) with another man.  The fear and risk of sexualizing it has definitely kept me far away from something I really want.

Just wanted to share.  What do you all think about the article?

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Unless it's Thursday... then go ahead and do it anyway. 

Jesus Shane, you are deep and wise. Glad you're here with us!

What is this about Thursday,  I've heard that before.

Not being Sarcastic at all, have read many of your posts including Manlove Thursday - I just wanted you to know that I enjoy your posts and understand your logic...that might scare you but so be it. 

I'm being serious, what is it about Thursday (I never heard of Manlove Thursday until the post above)?  But I've heard this reference made before, someone told me a long time ago that in a dormitory (I won't say where) in the 1950s if you didn't want to have sex you kept your door locked on Thursday nights.  What's the significance of Thursday, and why would I be scared by your comment?

***** deep friendship (or buddyship) with another man. The fear and risk of sexualizing it *****

There might be fear of sexualizing it, but no significant risk if you're not sexually attracted to other men in the first place. Contrary to Freudian theories of bisexuality, most people of both sexes prefer one or the other, and are not indifferent. Heterosexuals have innate sexual instincts that make them feel uncomfortable going past certain boundaries.

The fear has more to do with what's called a psychologial taboo, rather than a real risk. Seemingly masculine men in pre-civilized societies, or for that matter in agrarian backwaters, tend to be fairly affectionate with their friends, because they don't have the taboo because they're not conscious of the possibility of homosexuality in the first place. The taboo arises because many people are confused about the nature of homosexuality.

Think in terms of men and children: Many fathers are quite affectionate with their children, and it is precisely the more affectionate, protective types that are LESS likely to have sexual relationships with their own offspring. His very protective instincts would make him all the less likely to do anything that he would think would harm them. Also, interestingly, more masculine men tend to be more affectionate with their children, including sons, than "metrosexuals". It actually makes sense if you think about it.

Despite this fact, many women who watch too much Oprah/read "Dear Abby", etc, assume that all men are child molesters. ("Men are incapable of love; all they want is sex"...) It is actually a fairly common belief that children should not be left alone with a man. Recently a stewardess on an airplane moved two children away from a man, and reassigned them to sit next to a woman, pointedly claiming "for their safety". He reported being insulted and humiliated by the suggestion.

When I was younger I had strong taboos against touching. It's probably imprinted; my parents were not affectionate with me. Now I regularly hug on parting, and also on greeting if we haven't seen each other in a while, and I pat on shoulders and backs both paying compliments and also when gently ribbing. I think this is generally acceptable, and it stimulates warm, friendly feelings (the hormone oxytocin), not sexual feelings (the hormone testosterone). What is appropriate can depend on circumstances. In the case of Frodo and Sam, Frodo was injured. But if he didn't need comforting, it would have been awkward.

I think verbal affection is important. Make your friends feel good about themselves, and cared for. Give them lots of encouragement. You'll find that done appropriately, they'll tend to respond well to this, because like most people they're hungry for approval and have some self-esteem issues. Oddly, this is probably harder for most men than overcoming taboos against physical affection: our speech centers and emotional centers are reputedly wired on different hemispheres of our brains! However after a while, you can train yourself to freely say something thoughtful, classy, and appropriate for the situation, that makes your friends feel good.

Nice!

+ post.  Love 'The Onion'.

I agree that verbal affirmation is important and can be difficult.  I've found the taboo of physical affection is even more difficult for me to overcome.  Most likely it was a taboo that I taught myself.  I don't ever recall anyone saying that I couldn't pat other guys on the back or give them hugs.

The risk of things turning sexual is because I'm pretty strongly emotionally attracted to men, and get some pretty big cravings for physical affection for them.  Pretty much like the kind of affection that a son would give his father.   I think some of it was due to the fact I don't remember receiving a lot of physical affection from my father growing up (he gave plenty of verbal affirmations). Sadly, I don't think that sort of thing is commonly accepted in the social circles I'm exposed to.  I've had some people tell me that it was 'inappropriate' or the like.

Thank you both for responding!  I love hearing different perspectives on this.

http://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/dad-sense/father-son.html

I think it's actually a common problem. That's why it's a common theme in stories (eg Star Wars).

*****I don't ever recall anyone saying that I couldn't pat other guys on the back or give them hugs.*****

Taboos are passed along non-verbally. It's a conditioned unconscious response. Pavlov didn't tell his dogs to salivate when he rang the bell either.

***** I don't remember receiving a lot of physical affection from my father growing up (he gave plenty of verbal affirmations). Sadly, I don't think that sort of thing is commonly accepted in the social circles I'm exposed to. I've had some people tell me that it was 'inappropriate' or the like.*****

Your relationship with your dad is a model for relationships with other men. If you have a good relationship with your dad, you'll tend to be a likeable guy with lots of friends. If you have a cold relationship with your dad, you'll tend to find it difficult to make friends and to relate to other men (if mom is cool towards you too, you might find yourself a lonely outcast). If it was 'inappropriate' for your dad to be physically affectionate with you (as you said), you might find it awkward to be affectionate with friends.

You probably hit a nail on my head.  My mother tended to be very emotionally distant, compared to my father.  Needless to say, relating with woman tends to be extremely distant.

The article needs Cliff notes.

It seems to blame the Gay rights movement for the death of friendship, and then even the problems young males are having today in general.

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