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Physical Intimacy In Platonic Friendships

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Triasco, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Triasco

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    I'm just a curious to hear thoughts on the title subject. You see, I've had discussions with my therapist about being vulnerable. My life experiences have made true vulnerability almost impossible for me, to the point that I couldn't tell him in the moment what genuinely made me uncomfortable because I had a contingency plan and response for every conceivable interaction. There seem to be few degrees of seperation between myself and the mask (behind every mask is another mask).

    In thinking about it all this weekend, I've come to realize one of the things I crave is physical intimacy. Not sex, as even that performance I've become quite good with. I'm referring to simple affectionate physical contact such as hugging, cuddling, etc.. I've noticed that many of my friends are fine with touching each other in such a way, but not really me. I'm not sure if this is a function if my age, my sexuality, or their understanding of my experiedoes, or even experiences I've had with some of them. It doesn't really matter, honestly. I recognize the it's the one thing I'm afraid reluctant to talk about or ask for, ended from my best friend.

    Thank you if you took the time to read my wall of text. I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences.
     
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  2. TheMeatyProfessor

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    Female friends usually feel comfortable showing affection toward me. I can't even think of any I don't at least hug in greeting or in goodbye. Quite a number of my male friends behave the same way. If I generally enjoy someone's company or companionship, then I use physical affection to make that clear.

    Your post addresses multiple kinds of affectionate gestures. Hugging is very common for me. Kisses are rare at present. A few years ago while in grad school, I was fortunate to have a number of very affectionate male friends. My drinking buddies frequently hugged me in greeting, and one or two of them took to hanging on me a bit as we drank. Again, drinking involved, but a couple more male friends crossed into more intimate territory. I had a hand-me-down couch that sunk in the middle. If I were sitting on it with a friend, we'd pretty much be forced side to side; and we felt fine leaning into each other or throwing an arm around the other person. I also think highly of another friend who, whenever we did hug, would want to hold it for 30 seconds or so. (It only takes 6 or 7 to release oxytocin, but what the hell does that matter?)

    It seems your therapist is working on unpacking some of those early experiences that put intimacy out of touch for your for a good long while. This is great news. I guess the one thing I can say is that there's nothing wrong with wanting intimacy. I hope your friendships will either make room for more of it or that you find people who can love you the way you need. For myself, I definitely hold relationships with room for affection in much higher regard. Similarly, I'd like to think that people look at me as someone who is acceptable and nonjudgmental of others. In years past, I've been told as much; it'd be weird if X wanted to hug me, but I'd totally hug you, Meaty. That sorta thing. I'm so glad young people don't have to head-trip over this nearly as much as men in our age groups. It's just a new day where expressions of affection don't equal "homo" to most. We need love too. Everyone does.
     
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  3. GorillaHorse

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    I am not familiar with you or your personality, but even very awkward people will share physical intimacy with those they are close to. When someone is distraught, I always make an effort to engage them physically. My go-to move is grabbing the shoulder. If they need it, I will give a hug. I feel there is no way that a single-shoulder-grab could be interpreted as sexual. Both shoulders, maybe.

    As for what you are saying about masks, that makes it much harder for you to relate to people on an intimate level. If you are always worried about which "you" to present, these people will never get a consistent idea of who "you" really are.

    I fist pound people all the time. Shaking hands is gross, but that happens too sometimes.
     
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  4. halcyondays

    halcyondays Superior Member

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    For myself platonic physical intimacy has always been a matter of learning what each individual wants and what their boundaries are. I'm talking comfort zone here. This is learned over time. It becomes a matter of trust.

    Amongst close friends some like hugs, some don't. Female friends are more likely to hug coming and going. A few even plant a kiss on the cheek. Male friends hug less and are more likely to shake hands or just say hello.

    My advice is to focus less on what you need--physical intimacy--and focus more on the boundaries of your platonic friends which you'd never want to violate.

    Vulnerability. I'm not so guarded as to reject a big old hug from any of my friends or even someone I've just met. Culturally and familially some people express platonic affection more physically. I grew up in a household where physical affection was common. It receded in our teen years and returned a decade later as we matured.

    The only way through the fear of talking about it is talking about it. Terrified to ask for a hug? Ask anyway. Getting permission is the most polite way to go about learning the boundaries of another. Don't be disappointed if someone says no. Their comfort level is more important than yours.

    I'd be okay if my friends never touched or hugged me again. The way my heart fills with affection each time we meet is all I need. :cool:
     
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  5. ronin001

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    The best I can do is send you my best wishes Tri, and Cyber Hug

    I forgot you are in NY


    I read that groups host Cuddle and pajama parties for adults ( No sex - just contact )

    Cuddle Party ™ is a playful social event/workshop designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries and affection. You can come to a Cuddle Party ™ to meet new people, to enjoy amazing conversations, to touch and be touched, to have fun, to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying "no" to what you don't want--all in a setting structured to be a safe place for
    [​IMG]
     
    #5 ronin001, Sep 2, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  6. Triasco

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    This actually sounds fascinating! I'd love to see what this is about the next time I'm allowed to leave campus. Thank you, Ronin. I appreciate it.

    And I appreciate the contributions that others have made to the thread as well. Gives me quite a bit to think about and discuss with my therapist next time.
     
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  7. Howard1122

    Howard1122 Admired Member

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    What I especially appreciate about rainbow gatherings is the non-sexual contact. I would identify hugging and what is called 'cuddle puddles' (group hugs). The last can standing up or lying down. You get a tremondous sense of group solidarity, a feeling of great well being. I can't deny that with some there is an erotic element. We are all humans after all. The first group hug I was in was in 2014 and there must have been 30 cuddling in a tipi around a fire, with group singing I should add. Afterwards I was in a small cuddle standing up with four people I had never met. We hugged I think for an hour into early morning. I felt elated afterwards. With the other festivals, such as Kiwiburn I have attended hugs are very much expected, much like a handshake, even with people you don't know especially. It is completely platonic, but there is also a consent environment that you need top be aware of, so rather than randomly hug someone you would give the other person the chance to not participate.
     
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  8. 693987

    693987 Guest

    While the site might not immediately come to mind as a source for a potential cuddle buddy, FetLife is where I've found some niche companions for non-sexual things. Including a cuddle buddy. I'm not sure if the site MeetUp caters to folks looking for cuddles, but it might be worth taking a look.

    I've dealt with mental health fucking with me my entire life, and have definitely found that touch helps me feel better. I worked at a pet boarding facility/day camp for a while. After finding a different job, I found I very much missed the touch I got from playing (shouldn't need to be said but I'll specify just in case... In a completely non-sexual manner) all the furballs. Petting them, holding them on my lap, just having them around me helped me a lot. I was long distance with my partner at that point in time, so I got zero touch.

    It isn't the same of course, but touch from cats and dogs can help. If you have the time available, don't have allergies or some such, etc, you might also look into local animal shelters. They tend to need help walking dogs.
     
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  9. MusicBear88

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    Touch and intimacy are difficult for a lot of people, and they are often beneficial to those for whom they are most difficult. I have a few close friends who also struggle with mental illness like I do and we're very good for each other in that we understand when the other says "I'm not up to it today" and means it, or when it's said in a way that really means "please help me do it." One of these friends is always up for cuddles, and I really enjoy that about our relationship.

    When I was single, when I wanted the most was intimacy, not sex. It's not easy to go on an app and hit up somebody and say "hey, want to come over and snuggle?" but if you're clear about what you want, you might be surprised and find somebody else who wants that too. Of course, if there's the right chemistry, it can turn into more, but only if you both want it to.
     
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  10. 918177

    918177 Guest

    I am more inclined to engage in physical touch with other females or animals.

    Hetro Men, from my experience, get their wires crossed and start getting weird and things just start getting awkward.

    I rather just buy another cat.
     
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  11. 693987

    693987 Guest

    It's why when seeking cuddle buddies, I specified that I preferred they be on the asexual spectrum. I didn't have a preference as far as gender. Worked out for me, but other's mileage may vary wildly, of course.
     
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  12. palakaorion

    palakaorion Superior Member

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    I'm a hugger. Platonic hugs are the norm. I do understand that others have boundaries and do my best to respect them.

    I've also been described by the mom of a teenager as "harmless, " so there's that.
     
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