Touch is one of the most elemental experiences of being human. It humanizes us and is core to building community. But adult men seem to have abandoned touch from their lives due to misinterpretation of masculinity. Part of growing up for a lot of boys is turning out to be an experience in renunciation of platonic touch and this has dastardly consequences for men.
Today, most touch by adult men is considered offensive and creepy, whether it’s with women, children, or other men. The only venues left where it is socially acceptable for common men to experience touch is either in a romantic or in a parenting relationship.
Due to the hyper-sexualization of touch, men, I believe are losing a fundamental currency of empathy and being human. Touch has incredible benefits for our mental health and emotional connection, but instead of cultivating it, I find more and more men relinquishing it altogether for the fear of being labeled as inappropriate. Worse, modern masculinity makes many of them believe that gentle, caring touch is feminine and orthogonal to their masculine and macho status.
For decades, social-cultural trends of masculinity have branded gentle, non-sexual touch as effeminate and as something only weak men engage in. This has been disastrous for men in my opinion. Touch deprivation is real and lack of touch doesn’t make men more manly, it only makes them more vulnerable, isolated, anxious and depressed.