Male-Male Intimacy

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Ethyl, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Ethyl

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    Reading this from NCbear made me think about the last time I saw two men be physically gentle with each other. Turns out it was the last time I visited my dear friend and his partner in DC. I see hetero men shaking hands, slapping each other on the back, and even when I witness a hug it's usually of the abrupt quick-squeeze-and-rapid-hand-pats-on-the-back sort. That unselfconscious body contact doesn't really exist in the hetero male world and I have one gay friend who isn't a touchy-feely sort in public. I wonder if that's just not his style or if he's habitually responding to the cultural norm of men not physically responding to each other in public.

    This is not the first time i've pondered over one of NCbear's posts but I thought this one deserved its own thread. So...what say you? Are men only doing what they're programmed to do or are they avoiding intimacy with each other, be it sexual or not?
     
  2. alex8.5

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    I think geography may play a part in this. In some places man on man (hetero / gay) is just not welcomed. I live in California, my B/F and I hug and touch each other in public. I have also hugged and kissed male friends goodby after lunch in public. Maybe it's because I don't care what others think. WOuld I do this if I was visiting Saudi Arabia? I don't know. We have a house in the thousand Islands in Ontario Canada, and at times we get THE LOOK from people who see us and know were a gay couple. I think it's based on geography.
     
  3. horneyoldguy

    horneyoldguy New Member

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    As my wife always says to me "Men are from Mars" when it comes to expressing my feelings and I think she is right. Men, at least in our culture here in the USA, tend to be fearful that if they won't appear "manly" (whatever that means) if they show or feel real intimate emotions and I think most boys are programed to act in a certain "manly" fashion when they are told "don't cry" or "boys don't hug."

    I know this happened in my family when my father told my sons (his grandsons) that boys don't hug. Well, my wife and I didn't agree with that philosophy and instructed the boys to always hug grandpa and I too began to hug my father more. He eventually got used to this and I think looked forward to our hugs. Now I watch my grandsons and am waiting to see if this philosopy has carried over to another generation. Only time will tell.
     
  4. Northland

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    I have a several male friends who I give and receive good solid hugs to and from and it is a completely non-sexual setting. One even gives the kiss on the cheek, another gives me a quick peck on the forehead. The aforementioned men are completely (to my knowledge) heterosexual. I have gay friends who kiss me on the lips (no tongue). Then there are those, hetero/homo/bisexual who cringe at physical contact. Not sure why in many cases.

    Society still frowns and/or snickers at men hugging men (especially outside of family); but, that's their problem. If that same society finds woman on woman to be hot, then they can damned well learn to deal with two men hugging-or even giving an affectionate kiss.
     
  5. Ethyl

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    I've noticed this type of affection is less common here on the east coast than the west coast, NYC being the exception. My parents live in the midwest and you just don't see men there touching each other. At all.

    Good on you for taking steps to buck old traditions and create new ones. This is the kind of behaviour that sustains my faith in the human race.

    Good point but that begs the question of whether or not it's still a hetero man's world. Women aren't encouraged to be intimate with each other so much as sexual and you've spelled out why. Odd thing is that women are generally more comfortable with non-sexual physical contact within their gender. I don't know if it's programming or merely cultural.
     
  6. vince

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    I think it varies by place and culture. I live in Turkey and hetero male to male touching is more accepted than in N. America. The normal greeting between friends is a handshake and a double 'kiss' on the cheeks. It's not really a kiss, just a light touching of the cheeks with a quiet 'tch' sound. The more macho version is a double butt on each side of the head.

    It's very normal for same sex friends of all ages to walk with linked arms, but never, ever holding hands. Also a draped arm across the shoulders is very normal. Or you may hold another guy by the bicep or elbow, put your heads close and talk in his ear when you want some privacy. I like the sense of intimacy that this contact between friends confers.

    At first, I sometimes popped a boner, :rolleyes: but now I am use to it and it's just part of the scene.
     
  7. WaSwimmer

    WaSwimmer New Member

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    Interesting thread.

    I'm in eastern WaState and find that I don't get odd stares or BS from people when I hug my male friends. A good hug to say Hi or goodbye seem to go basically unnoticed. Even my straight guy friends are comfortable with this and engage in it with no problem.

    I recently returned from Liberia where males walking hand in hand was a common, daily sight. I worked for an 'ahem' international organization with people from all around the world and I was really quite surprised how many cultures readily accept this with no problem. It gave me lots of strength to do it more when I returned back to the states because I valued the closeness it encourages.
     
  8. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    I've hugged a straight guy in public twice ... once, drunk in a bar, my law school chum, where some of the class-mates had gathered after class ... and one guy at my current job when he got his promotion ... other than that, and other than hand-shakes, its generally don't touch
     
  9. Balljunkie

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    Yeah, I had to get reprogrammed after living in Argentina for close to a year. I hugged and kissed all of my male friends there. It became natural. I had to stop doing that when I came back because my straight male friends would have freaked out.

    I liked the camaraderie of it, and felt very close to my friends.
     
  10. rexcasual

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    Our family (me, my wife and daughter) spent last Halloween at a good friend's home with his child and some of his friends with their children. My friend's ex-wife and my wife went home early with the youngsters to put them to bed (at our respective homes), and several of the other adults stayed late to drink and talk.

    At the end of the night I gave my friend a brief, warm, brotherly hug that did not have the staccatto back slaps and sudden recoiling that accompanies most male hugs.

    One of our host's women friends (who did not know us well) immediately accused us of having a gay attraction to each other. She was smiling but it seemed quite clear she was highly uncomfortable with the display and was voicing her disapproval.

    Idiot.:tongue:
     
  11. B_dxjnorto

    B_dxjnorto New Member

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    I'm not much for kissing, but I do like the luxury of casual intimacy between friends. However, I have no idea what many of my male friends and relatives really think and how they feel because they are more likely to posture and behave as they think I want them to behave as opposed to behaving as themselves. I think sometimes people don't really know themselves well enough to project that personality that would allow you to say you know them well.

    I always hope that they would have some significant other around with which they can be themselves or express themselves, but from what I've seen of men interacting with wives and children I don't believe that many men succeed in this.

    If I'm male and don't know how to really get to know many or most males, how are women supposed to do this? I always feel that to be human is to be somewhat alone. Rex's and others remarks indicate that it is also culturally based. How sad to be shamed for being able to hold another human being.
     
  12. EBlend

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    Why, oh why does the sight of two men showing affection (gay or not) provoke disapproval???? And of course, I'm assuming if it were "gay" affection for sure, the approval would have been even more overt. . .but why? I just don't get it.

    Haven't bombs and other objects of hate caused a lot more grief, pain, and sadness than two people having affection for one another? And lordy, lordy, what if they KISS??:eek:

    And worse yet, what if they actually WERE gay and did something together with their dicks?? Why does LOVE between two people (even two straight guys or a gay and a straight guy) strike some people as so much more offensive than people dropping bombs and other objects of hatred on people?? :wtf:

    I think bombs have hurt a lot more people than anything I ever did with my dick, let alone the times I have innocently hugged my straight male friends simply because I love them.
     
  13. killerb

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    I was never into hugging dudes or anything...it's the way I was raised...
    but about 8 yrs ago I joined a church where that was the custom...
    everyone hugs each other...it was weird at first being hugged by the men, but I got used to it. I think it was the older guys who helped make it ok because it was like getting a hug from an uncle.

    before that any physical show of affection was just not a part of my life...
    except this one time I was leaving a job for good (it was my last day) and one of my coworkers grabbed me in a huge bear hug & told me he'd miss me. my first reaction was pure shock and I was like "OK", but when he did it again & the hug lasted a little too long for my comfort I had to tell him not to hug me anymore.

    but these days I'm a lot better with it. I hug my friends & male relatives w/ no problem. now kissing is a whole different thing. I can kiss the male babies in my family, but once you're over like 2 or 3, that's it.
     
  14. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    As has been mentioned before, I think different cultures experience different levels of intimacy. Growing up in a latino culture, it was not uncommon to hug or put an arm around another straight guy. There was a lot of touching and it wasn't in a sexual manner. I still have friends that this is the norm, but they are latinos.
     
  15. D_Portelay Porquesword

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    Where I grew up, there was a noticeable amount of male and female separation when it came to public events. The men would all go to one side and the women would go to the other.

    Men would shake hands and on occasion hug each other. Public displays of affection were always kept minimal. The str8 world I grew up in is just quirky that way.

    For me, I think it is environmental. I have met men my age who were raised in well educated homes, with liberal (not morally bankrupt) parents who never placed negative associations with a male/male hug. For these men it was just what it was, a hug. I always know when I'm around broad minded individuals like this because the energy they give off to those around them is
    balanced and comforting.

    It's always a pleasure to meet people who are a product of this type of environment, they tend to bring out the natural course of human behavior in everyone. Generous, giving and no hang up's when it comes to a simple hug from the same sex.
     
  16. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Some of the straight men who know me and what I'm about have no problems giving me a hug. A few of 'em actually gave me a quick smooch on the cheek. They're comfortable enough with their own sexuality to be able to do these things without any hang-ups or issues. I wouldn't expect any straight man to do this, and I usually just shake hands with those that I meet.
     
  17. EBlend

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    While I am now comfortable hugging my male friends, both straight and gay, I had to grow into that comfort. I grew up in a time and place where letting on you might be gay could be scary and in my case, caused fear for my life because of my relationship with another guy when I was in my 20s. When I was growing up, I did have gay friends in high school and they were beginning to come out of the closet. I was stubborn enough to do so when I was 18. But my partner's parents back then hated me so much I actually feared for my life more than once. My love for another person caused me a lot of grief and pain.

    However, my circle of friends includes straight men who could care less whether anyone thinks they're gay, and I have come to be comfortable showing them affection. I also made the gay guy mistake many years ago of falling in love with a straight guy friend and he reacted badly. So there is also the fear that even if you have just simple affection for a straight guy, he might take it wrong, knowing you're gay, and end the friendship. That's one reason I enjoy this forum so much--I see lots of straight guys who aren't afraid of having gay friends, and even some guys who are straightish/bi-ish who might even reciprocate affection if it happened to them.

    I'm still getting used to the idea of being around straight or bi guys who honestly don't have a problem with me liking guys, after all these years. Still a little bit afraid, would you believe it? But I like the feeling of being accepted! (And I am still perplexed as to why people have this homicidal reaction to people who are simply loving one another? or even having some sexual fun together?)
     
  18. horneyoldguy

    horneyoldguy New Member

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    What Is A Hug?


    A hug is a wonderful gift to share
    A way to show each other that we care
    There is so much a hug is able to do
    When you feel those arms holding you

    A hug is a place to feel safe and warm
    A comfort for a sad heart that is torn
    An expression of the love in our heart
    For ones who we wish, never to be apart

    A hug is a greeting when we meet to say hello
    Or to say goodbye when we have to go
    It can hold us up when life gets us down
    And makes us smile, instead of frown

    A hug can be given for no reason at all
    And given to those, both big and small
    We're never too old to feel the joy it brings
    As it is one of life's most pleasing things

    And for all of this beauty, a hug is free
    It costs nothing, yet means so much, to me
    We should all hug another to show we care
    For to feel a warm hug, nothing can compare

    Author Unknown
     
  19. Lex

    Lex
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    Great thread, MB.

    I can honestly say that in high school and college I had close male friends with whom I shared long, hard hugs.Whenever we saw one another after being apart for a semester, etc. we would give each other the best hugs.

    I will never forget the day I left for college and my HS best friend and I hugged in front of my house. eE told me he loved me and I told him the same--we hugged hard and cried as we went our separate ways. I have to this day, some close male friends from HS who will still remind me that they love me and I tell them the same--and it has nothing to do with sexuality.

    I think that it is sad that expressing love for and emotion towards another man is somehow frowned upon and seen as "soft" -nothing could be less true. We need to raise a generation of men who are in touch with their emotions and feelings--this will be a good thing for both the women they marry, the men they partner with and any children that they have.

    I am proud that I was able to make these kinds of emotional connections when I thought I was straight. Being gay has only served to strengthen my resolve to be able to show male-male appreciation--both within the confines of gay relationships and without.

    Regarding DC and his hubby--DC was among the first gay men I met who accepted me into his family and loved me unconditionally. He gives the best hugs and the softest kisses. To see he and his partner together (And apart) is to know what the heights of a loving relationship can be, orientation notwithstanding. I am honored to know and learn from him.
     
  20. NCbear

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    Oddly enough, for much of my life (particularly when growing up and before I came out), I've felt too inhibited by others' homophobia to express affection for other men in public--even my brothers, father, and male relatives.

    I agree with EBlend and others that this is purely environmental and cultural, not "natural" or "the way things should be." So I'm trying to become more like Lex, DC, and others who can express affection for other people in public without fear.

    And that brings about the "balanced and comforting" feeling that Oh_Yeah was talking about.

    NCbear (who really appreciates MB's further exploration of this idea, and who feels enormously complimented by Her Blissfulness's quoting him :smile::wink:)
     
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