An outlandish group of men in Pennsylvania meet for “platonic cuddling” twice a month, offering a fascinating view into the psyche of the beta male.
The bizarre “Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group” in Northwest Philadelphia offers highly structured male-only cuddle sessions, with “‘safe touch’ boundaries,” and only “non-sexual cuddling,” including such male-on-male action as the “motorcycle style”, the “cuddle train”, “hand holding”, and the classic “hair or beard stroking” among other methods of exciting male-only contact.
According to the event organizers, these acts allow men to experience “‘the three A’s’; Acceptance, Affirmation, and Affection,” in a safe environment.
Men are invited “to participate regardless of your religious beliefs, marital status, or sexual orientation,” though attendees are reminded to keep fully clothed throughout the cuddling sessions.
Men are also encouraged “to cuddle with a man who may carry the energy of their father, a brother, or the jock who may not have affirmed them in High School.”
Philly.com reports that the group also exists to challenge “toxic masculinity” through its cuddling sessions.
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,” said Scott Turner, a 46-year-old interior designer and cofounder of the group. “If you show any emotional weakness or vulnerability, that’s a failure to your title of a man.”
But “if we expect men to be emotionally sensitive to the needs of others, they first need to be able to build an emotional vocabulary,” he said.
The article also reveals that the men have reached new levels of intimacy, as many men now consider the relationships they formed with other attendees to be closer than that of siblings or a father and son relationship.
One attendee’s family even calls an older cuddler “grandpa.”