men cuddling is probably a backdoor into violence reduction

i have had this thought for more than ten years (and i’m not the only one, for sure), but i’m really excited that something has shifted enough for it to come to the fore: i am convinced that men being able to be physically intimate with each other will drastically reduce if not eliminate most forms of physical violence.

our nervous systems co-regulate each other. this is (one explanation for) why some people are just really good at calming babies down; they’re really good at knowing how to calm their own body, hooking the baby’s nervous system into their own and providing an external source of calm (this is science, btw).

as we get older, we (should) learn how to do this calming ourselves, but it has to be taught. and touch, i believe, is a key teacher, even as we grow from childhood through adolescence into adulthood. but because of the societal constructs many western-conditioned men experience, at a certain point, touch between men, even between father and son, becomes off limits. (sidenote: i think this is because, for men in our society, physical touch and sexual intimacy have been collapsed into the same thing even though they are, in fact, different. i can’t remember where i learned that, but it resonates hard). this literally stunts the growth of our nervous systems; it keeps us from learning how to regulate and co-regulate our the emotions (which are first felt as sensations - dig into somatics for more details on this) in our bodies. so then as we men feel strong feelings, we don’t know how to hold them solo and we don’t know how to hold or be held by people but the energy has to move so we off-gas it violently (martial arts, fighting, guns, aggressive video games, yelling in conversations, so many examples).

but as we know with a child who is throwing a tantrum, most of the time, the quickest way (if it’s safe) to end the tantrum, is to give them a hug. and that doesn’t mean the energy behind the tantrum is bad. it just needs to held so it can move through safely.

anyway, i’m rambling a bit now, but my point is that i think lots of men grow up without learning how to regulate and physically hold their own emotions. and the good news is, we keep learning more and more that humans have more capacity to learn through adulthood than we imagined. i think this means it’s not too late for men who didn’t learn that ability in their adolescence to learn it now. and to be clear, i think there are physical things to learn andthe physical touch opens up space in our nervous systems to talk about things that we haven’t/hadn’t been previously able to talk about because we couldn’t hold them solo… i hope that makes sense, but i’m still working on my delivery lol…

now my question is how long til boston get’s its own men’s cuddle group…

sidenote: back in may this year, an all-male cuddle group got a bunch of press coverage. here are some articles about it (and some other random articles too):

words / writing / post-processing
~520w / 15min / 5min