Thanks for your thoughts, Rogue. You wrote: “The person who wrote the article needs to understand why having a sexual reaction to touch is personally uncomfortable for him. A healthy discussion would be to learn not to project our reaction/feelings onto others.”

You make a point here that I do agree with. Clearly, it is crucial for us to not project our sexual reactions onto others, especially people we have just met. Differentiating between our sexual reaction to another person and their inherant right to be autonomous from that reaction is crucially important. (I won’t get into how one person is never exclusively the source of anything we feel, as they are but one set of factors in the nexus of all our previous experiences, memories, traumas and so on…) But yes, there is often sexuality mixed in with how we respond to touch. It can be very low level or quite heightened. I’m not personally uncomfortable with that and, like you, can even take some joy in the complexity and nuance of it. Because I, like you, (if I understand you correctly), do not foreground the sexual component at the cost of all the other social connections that touch represents.

My point is that our culture sexualizes, and stands ready to shame all touch. Our culture insists that our sons’ need for comforting physical connection is always in service of a sexual agenda. To the devestating degree that mothers step back from holding their young sons and boys in middle school are shamed for hugging each other. Our sexually obsessed culture insists we are all tettering on the precipice of our own carnal appetites.

Touch that is not inherently sexual in its nature. Some touch is. Some touch is not. It is contextual, social and absolutely distinctive to every interaction. It is also strongly informed by our intent. And by other’s perception of our intent. Basically, the complex web of what we create in relationship to others.

For centuries, Western culture has centered sexual shaming, taking all touch and banishing it as potentially sinful, leaving us touch isoated. But I assure you while physical contact can have a sexual component, there are pure forms of non sexual platonic touch. Between a father and his baby. Between two friends. The vast majority of parents understand exactly rich and wonderful platonic touch is. And how central it is to living a good life. In fact, I would suggest many of us learn from being with our children, how to hug and hold other adults without fearing our sexual side will be held suspect.

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment.

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Author THE LITTLE #METOO BOOK FOR MEN https://www.amazon.com/dp/0983466963 Writer/speaker on inclusion, masculinity. BBC, New York Times- http://remakingmanhood

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