cuddle theory breakthrough

this is a string of thoughts that are now leading to a theory that’s feeling increasingly important to my work.

i have recently heard from two different friends (i think angus is one of them) that there is an amount of full body-to-body contact humans need each day to be well. i first heard about it as amount of time we need to hug each day to stay healthy**. the contact helps our nervous systems settle and creates the capacity within them to self-regulate when not in contact.

then, just a few weeks ago, i was on the radio with josh, a high school senior who is taught by two of my friends (s/o owen and akshata!). one thing we discussed is that there seems to be a point at which boys stop being held by their parents. the age differs from child to child and household to household, but it does seem to be mostly true across the board (go check out the episode if you want to hear some of our theories of why that holding/body contact from parents stops).

so if i take the fact that we need daily body contact to self-regulate and there is a point at which boys stop being held, the extension of those two thoughts leads me to believe that part of why some men are so emotionally inept is that they have been woefully underprovided a necessary support for self-regulation. maybe most men today are just deeply missing a formative element of health because their bodies are seen as unworthy of holding or unable to be held at a young age.

so what to do about it?

well, i think one solution is cuddle parties! this isn’t a new idea (link, link) but i’m beginning to think that one reason it’s such important work is that it’s a correction. it’s a way to rebalance the contact that was missing for so many years. of course, backfilled cuddling can’t replace that missing contact during the formative years (of puberty especially). but it’s definitely better than nothing.

cuddle sleepovers, here we come!

ps - there’s something to explore here about the role of homophobia, but i’m outta time for today! pps - s/o to all the folx who have explored and will explore this with me in the future. special s/o to mike casey (we found it… together) and also eroc and owen.

**: What Are the Benefits of Hugging?

words / writing / post-processing
344w / 11min / 3min