Men’s Cuddling Group Aims To Address ‘Toxic Masculinity’

Hannah Bleau

The culture of emasculation continues.

According to this, there’s a therapeutic group designed to help men suffering from emotional or physical abuse. It’s called the Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

The two-year-old group draws men from various backgrounds: a 37-year-old Mormon who works as an airport gate agent, a 57-year-old married father of three, a 62-year-old retiree. There is a range of sexual orientations.

At a time when traditional ideas of manhood are facing scrutiny and such terms as toxic masculinity are becoming more widely known through the MeToo movement, the group aims to provide new ways for men to express themselves.

“So often, we’re taught that to be an emotional stoic is the mark of manhood,” the group’s co-founder Scott Turner said. “If you show any emotional weakness or vulnerability, that’s a failure to your title of a man.”

That’s not necessarily true. Of course men are allowed to show emotions, but men and women have different roles. Ask any wife if she wants her man blubbering 24/7. Whether you like it or not, women typically have different traits. Generally speaking, women are more emotional, and men are less emotional. We balance each other out. If anything, the breakdown of the traditional family structure– which champions God-fearing, responsible, emotionally stable father-figures– has led to the rise in emotionally weak and damaged men. You’ll never be able to convince me otherwise. That’s where a lot of our problems stem from.

Although the meet-ups are not open to the public (members must be interviewed and approved), the group held a demonstration for The Inquirer.

At the beginning of the session, everyone agreed not to engage in sexual touch and to ask for consent before each action. They gathered in a huddle and breathed meditatively.

The cuddling started with men pairing up to do “the motorcycle hold,” in which one man sits with his back against another man’s chest, as if they were riding together on a motorcycle. Some massaged their partner’s shoulders or hands, while others stroked the other person’s beard. Many closed their eyes as the room fell into silence. After 15 minutes, they switched to a new partner.

For the second half of the session, the men cuddled as one large group in what they call a “puppy pile.” Men lay with their heads in each other’s laps, chatted, and joked.

I just don’t see how this actually helps. They’re supposedly dealing with men who have serious emotional scars. I don’t think cuddling will solve that. If you’re going to bring yourself to a place of vulnerability, stop wasting your time and get vulnerable with Jesus. He’s the only one who can turn your life around. Yeah, I’m saying it.

“These types of groups can be healthy and helpful for men and women,” said Chris Liang, a licensed psychologist and associate professor of counseling psychology at Lehigh University.

The guidelines highlight ways in which traditional views of masculinity — such as men are tough and never cry — harm their emotional and physical health. Studies show that men who strongly believe in masculine norms are less likely to get preventive health care, more likely to drink heavily and use tobacco, and more likely to hold negative attitudes toward seeking mental-health services.

We’re not telling guys to swallow their tears and punch trees, but it’s insane to attempt to erase the role of masculinity altogether. Men were created to be different, and that’s a good thing. Society is running into problems because it’s constantly trying to deny the existence of femininity and masculinity. Sorry, but cuddling won’t help the next generation of men.

Thoughts?

h/t Philly