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Male Intimacy


Someone on the Steve Pavlina forums wanted to know about male intimacy – I mean intimacy between two straight men. I think I have a few ideas I can write on the topic.

I believe it’s totally natural for men to want to hug, cuddle, touch, and be close to other men. I also believe men are trained not to, and any male who has not made a conscious effort to overcome his social conditioning, especially those who live in countries like the UK and the USA, is likely to be something close to a cripple in social and emotional health.

(Note: I wrote this article before I started my gender transition. I considered myself male at that time. While I believe that I really was a woman deep down, I think everything in this article still makes sense. After all, I was mostly commenting on male social conditioning, and as someone Male Assigned At Birth I knew male conditioning well).

When I came to Spain at the tender age of 14, I definitely was – in fact more than most Brits. I didn’t touch anyone except sexually (if I could) and related with my typically British sense of humour – something akin to playful insults. It’s what I knew how to do.

Slowly, I came to open up emotionally to become much warmer than most Brits. I hug people who I don’t necessarily want to have sex with, quite a lot. I also have a lot of sex with people, but that’s another matter. I have relationships with male friends in which I hug frequently and even say “I love you”. To be honest it doesn’t feel that different from the love I have with women, except that we don’t escalate into the penetrative. I feel it deeply in my heart chakra, and it feels equally good to give and receive.

I have a lot more to explore about social intelligence, something which I need to find creative solutions for as I’m highly sensitive and find it difficult to be in crowded areas or with people who have much negativity in them. Still I’ve gone a long way in my journey, and have crafted a non conventional social life I’m really very happy about.

By the way, you should know for this article that I *think* I’m bisexual; I have never been with a man so there remains that lingering doubt. So my perspective is unusual, but none of my male friends have sex with me, and I’m not particularly infatuated with them, so I think my advice can serve, just as a man can be simply friends with a woman who he doesn’t want to make love to for whatever reason.


Male Intimacy and Gender Roles

I don’t like to label myself as feminist or anything else*, but I do feel like there are very negative things hammered into us as we learn our identities as either male or female. I do agree there are real differences between the sexes, but I also believe that 1) they may be fewer than most people think, or of a different sort to what they think and 2) whatever the differences, it’s absurd and destructive to *enforce* them. There is no way any person “should” be. Only the way that their soul calls them to be. Be it feminine, masculine, up or down or anything in between.

*Update: now I do.

I actually think that in a more advanced society where social pressure didn’t attempt to change people into its own vision of acceptable, there would be more clearly feminine men, and more clearly masculine women. The latter is a little more common nowadays by the way – it’s more “okay” for a woman to be muscular and competitive than it is for a man to be exuberant, soft and wear a dress. I actually wear women’s clothes sometimes when I am in company that would understand me, because for me it feels “right” when I’m feeling feminine. I’m not saying you have to though. Perhaps my whole point is you don’t have to do or be anything. You choose, no obligation.

Now, closeness and caringness has been dumped into the “feminine” box in our crazy society, and men who break the rules are attacked by their friends. But there’s good news. You can find better friends :p

Society has also decided that it’s a capital offense for men to appear to be in any way homosexual, unless they are. If you are homosexual you will generally be tolerated nowadays, but it’s a scary thing for a guy to admit that he is even so, and for a good reason; you may still be attacked. Those who aren’t homosexual or who choose not to express homosexual attraction try to avoid this possibility of attack as much as possible.

However, many people don’t WANT to attack you for stepping outside the “rules”. And they would also love for you to show them that it is safe to be themselves with you. These are the people who will most benefit you as friends.

Don’t Compartmentalise Sex

Now I’m going to add to this. It’s OK to have sex with people.

It’s OK.

It really is.

It’s OK to have sex with women.

It’s OK to have sex with men if you want to.

It’s also OK not to.

It’s OK to hug and touch because you want to hug and touch. You don’t need to get anything “out” of it. It’s love, expressed physically. And those guys who can’t comprehend loving for its own sake are dead inside. Their life is a constant torture, in fact, but they have GOTTEN USED TO the pain of not connecting with people and, with nothing to contrast it with, think they are not feeling pain. They call their state of constant dissatisfaction happiness, reassured by television and the messages of the authority figures in their society that they are doing right, while all the time they and everything else in this damnable matrix sucks out their energy until they die before their time and call it a long happy life.

Am I being a bit harsh here?

But yeah, it’s totally OK to love for the for sake of it.

Touching is love.

It’s totally OK to have sex for the sake of it too.

And it’s totally OK not to if you don’t want to.

And this applies to both sexes.

Free Your Mind

To have close contact with the same sex as a man, you’re going to have to break a few rules. You need to have male friends who will be open to sharing contact with you, and you’ll also find it helpful to have male friends who will help you feel comfortable in doing so as you learn; friends who already have no sense of discomfort with this intimacy.

I would recommend travel to open your horizons. In Spain, for instance, men are much warmer towards each other, and everyone is warmer towards each other, in fact. For the best experience in this regard, go to South Spain and avoid Barcelona like the plague. (Guess where I live. That’s right. Barcelona, HAH).

Some of the warmest people I’ve met, and the most open to man-on-man platonic love, come from Indonesia. I know a lot of Indonesians online and with more than one I have a deep love relationship including (virtual hugs) and “I love you”s. I plan on living there for a while, so I will update you on what I learn from the experience. :)

In general, breaking free from conformity is hard. It basically requires you to mix with non judgmental people, and to be honest – these are rare. I have very select friends because I am very very particular about expressing myself exactly as I am, no mask, no compromise, and I generally find my friends in the spiritual scene – reiki exchanges and such, as well as online. Look, too, anywhere where people mingle who have chosen to question the unbendable precepts of our society. I used to associate with anarchists for instance, and although angry, they are a surprisingly high consciousness lot.

The first step to breaking programming is to recognise it for what it is. The rest of it is basically pushing your comfort zone and getting used to new patterns. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not that hard in the end. And it’s worth it πŸ˜‰

Be who you are. :)


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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Rosine Caplot June 14, 2010, 6:39 pm

    What a beautiful post, Sophia! :) <3 <3 Thanks for having written it.

  • Sophia Gubb June 14, 2010, 10:22 pm

    Thankyou very much and thanks for reading ^^ love you… πŸ˜€

  • Peter June 15, 2010, 1:06 pm

    I really like that article! I want to touch and hug people who I like, and it doesn’t matter if they are male or female.

  • Tamara Angelina June 15, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Your article is good. Mwahaha, I’ll tell my mum to read this so that she won’t force me to wear those skirts anymore& bug me about taking vare of my face!!!! about the sex part…..I’m still underage ^___^”
    and….<3 for you (as a friend^_^)

  • Eduardo June 16, 2010, 7:19 am

    I liked your post, Sophia :) We are human beings, regardless of gender and we do not need to close ourselves to the Love that exists in the world.
    Hugs :)

  • Sophia Gubb June 16, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Hugs to everyone! πŸ˜€

    Thanks! :)

    @Tamara <3 ^_^ Sex is sooo much fun, you’ll see :) It’s cool you’re not wearing skirts if you don’t like them – send them to me and I’ll use them, hehehe πŸ˜€

    @Eduardo Exactly :) <3

    Love n’ light

  • Josh June 20, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Reminds me of ecstasty, In a state of such love, happiness, acceptance sharing love physically, verbally, etc. just happens. If I hadn’t experienced such a state I probably wouldn’t agree with this article, but you are completely right. When you are overflowing with good feelings like that expressing your platonic love in a variety of ways is just natural.

  • Dolly June 20, 2010, 7:34 pm

    Nice :)
    Love to you Sophia <3

  • Sophia June 20, 2010, 8:38 pm

    @Josh Drugs are interesting, it seems they can open a lot of minds. Being able to share love like this is great – it really is important to find the right people to do it with though. I think for you if you found the right environment it could happen naturally.

    @Dolly Love ya too! πŸ˜€

  • Josh June 20, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Yeah, I’m sure it could happen naturally, as long as there is love and connection present. Drugs CAN be great tools, allies that can teach you a great deal, but like any tool, you can use it improperly and hurt yourself if you are not careful, yet if used properly it’s possible to gain leverage to solve problems quicker than you could without. Sometimes the problem is simply not knowing the path.

    Anyways, keep it up man, I’ll be checking in every so often :)

  • Sophia Gubb June 20, 2010, 10:18 pm

    Thanks Josh πŸ˜€ Light to you!

  • B.Traveller June 25, 2010, 5:32 am

    Wow, Sophia. I’m so thankful that I stumbled over here from Pavlina’s forum!

    Such a healing energy emanates from this article. It’s wonderful!
    And thanks for the heads up about Spain. I aleady planned on going there when I go to Europe, but now I’ll have to get down to southern Spain, if at least to study the cultural difference. And write about it, of course!

  • Sophia Gubb June 25, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Wow, B, thanks for that and cool website by the way! I hope I see you around here more and I’ll stay in tune with your site, I love travel :) If you ever come to Barcelona, look us up :)

  • B.Traveller July 3, 2010, 5:47 am

    You’re welcome and Thank you! I’ve put a lot of work into Byteful Travel, and it’s been some of the most fun “work” I’ve ever done. I’ve got such a backlog of photos to go through, so expect exploration of Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco on the site in the future. :)

    And I’m enjoying this site as well. You have a very personal writing style. I find myself enjoying it.

  • rachel July 7, 2010, 3:33 am

    wow. that was beautifull! very well said, i really appreciate your openess to life. Thanks for spreading the love!

  • Sophia Gubb July 7, 2010, 7:55 am

    Thankyou. :) Will keep checking out BT when I can :)

  • Sophia Gubb July 7, 2010, 7:56 am

    Thanks a lot Rachel!! I appreciate it :)

  • Sandy October 29, 2010, 2:56 am

    { I hug people who I don’t necessarily want to have sex with, quite a lot.}
    lol~ I am trying to accomplish that too, though I am Chinese, anyway, I am trying hard πŸ˜‰

    It’s a lovely post, you made your point very clear, which is an inspiring one :)

  • Hal July 7, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I am so happy that intimacy between men is becoming more acceptable in the U.S. My brother in law and I love to hug and occasionally kiss. We are both married and heterosexual so for us to come to this point was quite a step for both of us. We never end a telephone conversation without saying “I love you” to each other. Both wives are supportive of our affection with each other and in fact encourage us to be intimate. In modern terms you could call it a bromance.

  • Ken Stofft January 17, 2012, 7:07 pm

    What you write here, Andrew, is on the mark from my perspective and experience. Male sexuality is more fluid and vast than the public is able or willing to admit…publicly. And, male intimacy is something that every man, who is in any way liberated and able to give himself permission to admit it, desires intimacy with other men. It may not be overt sexually expressed, but it is sexual for our life energy is our sexual energy. It is definitely a sensual bonding that is desired. Men need other men to affirm them, not just verbally, but physically. In the USA culture, due to our Calvinistic/Puritan heritage, is to sexually repressed that we have more sex in our media, more sex clandestinely experienced, more sex that is considered taboo than, I believe, in any other Western country. It’s a pity what we do to our boys as they are growing up…shame, shame, and more shame around their sexuality.

  • David March 16, 2012, 1:46 pm

    This is an old article, that I just got around to reading. I love it Andrew. I think you are so right on so many different levels. Its great to see a free spirit such as yourself. I find that male love is necessary in our world. Not just sexual love but real love, physical or spiritual love is needed for men to relate to one another. I’m not afraid of my sexuality (I’m Bi), and I love all people just the same. I have never really thought of hugging and kissing or even saying “I love you” to a man before but I think I will begin doing so…but that also depends upon the other guy(s)…they have to accept it as well. Thank you for a great and beautiful post. Keep them coming!!!

  • Andrew Gubb March 16, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Thanks David! :)

  • Hal October 4, 2012, 11:54 am

    Let me start off by saying I am a married heterosexual man. I’ve noticed in the last couple of years many of my similarly categorized male friends have become comfortable with intimacy and expressions of love. My brother in law and I never meet or depart without a full body intimate hug, sometimes even a kiss on the lips, and an exchanged “I love you”. That never would have happened a decade again. Now it seems very natural for two heterosexual men to relate in that manner. We have finally found the courage to show our feelings, as women have for centuries. I for one am happy with the change of mindset of other male friends.

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