“It’s time to go back to the basics, and realize that men want to be held, too. Once we all accept this, we can begin to rewrite these destructive and outdated stereotypes about masculinity, and build a world where both men and women are nurtured–freely and openly without judgement.”
-Keith, creator of The Pillow Talk Project
Ihave a question for you. When was the last time you cuddled your male partner?
Oftentimes, when I ask this question to women, they misunderstand it. Initially, they think I’m simply asking when was the last time they were held by their partner. It isn’t until I really break it down that it becomes clear that what I’m asking is when was the last time they initiated a cuddling session with their partner.
For some women, it never occurred to them that their male partner would even want something like this–let alone need it. I blame popular culture and Disney, who feed into and perpetrate this archetype of men as either the invincible knight in shining armor, or the thug/hard-bodied jock who only needs women as subjects of sexual desire. But one thing is for sure: men need to be held and protected, too. We may not admit it out loud because to do that is to admit weakness.
Whether society realizes it or not–and this goes for both men and women–we’re conditioned to believe that only women are the ones who need to be protected. On TV, although it is becoming more common than it ever has been, we rarely see a man come home with the weight of the world on his shoulders and his partner take him in her arms and hold him tight.
I’m talking chest to back, you be the big spoon and him be the little spoon. Not foreplay. Not while you nibble on his ear. Not with your hand down the front of his boxers. Straight up holding. Not the “oh baby how was your day,” but the silent, strong embrace that doesn’t force a man to talk about his feelings right away. That moment where he can just be…whether it is sad, depressed, angry, vulnerable.
We want to know that when we are done trying to make it in the real world that there is someone willing to hold us and remind us that everything will be okay
I believe that the reason we either don’t see much of this on TV or that when we do it doesn’t really register to us has a lot to do with the fact that men are generalized as only wanting one thing: sex. But I think we can all agree that even though great sex is amazing, we’ve all experienced that moment where an earth-shattering orgasm doesn’t always save the day.
For some, that realization comes when you’re hurt so much that sex isn’t good enough. That can be due to the death of a close friend or loved one. It can be trying to get over the pain of an ex. It can also be when you’re depressed, burned out, or you encounter a problem that seems impossible to solve. In those moments, sex actually isn’t a cure all–it’s a band-aid at best.
I didn’t realize this myself until I read a book called Satisfy My Soul by Colin Channer–a deep and powerful love story. But what struck me wasn’t just the story but a scene where the love interest of the main character wrapped her legs around him and held him as if he were her child. In all the books I’d read and for as long as I could remember, I’d never actually seen that done, intentionally.
Yes, on TV I’d seen a woman hug a guy from behind. But that was usually the precursor to something else–sex, asking a favor, or just a cute moment. I’d never heard or seen a woman intentionally hold a man and simply allow him to just be. It blew my mind. And it also helped me connect the dots when it came to understanding what intimacy could look like.
People are entitled to their opinions…. But I hope we can all agree that no matter your sex or gender, whether you’re straight or gay, we all want to be held and to feel safe.
Like everyone else, men want to know that when we are done trying to make it in the real world that there is someone willing to hold us and remind us that everything will be okay. Not necessarily that there isn’t anything wrong in the world, just that despite what may be going on out there, there’s someone here for you.
Yes, as men we are raised to believe that to be a man is to be the protector at all costs. We’re not allowed to show pain, fear, and sometimes we’re chastised by the women (or men) we love when we dare to be emotional, intimate, soft, or vulnerable. But if you can take anything from today’s post, I hope it is that being there for a man is really no different than being there for a woman.
People are entitled to their opinions. But, if the interviews I’ve done have taught me anything, it’s that it is time to go back to the basics and realize that men want to be held, too. Once we accept this, we can begin to rewrite these destructive and outdated stereotypes about masculinity and build a world where both men and women are nurtured freely and openly without judgement.
Did this post strike a chord with you? Tell me about your own experience as a man or a woman, by sharing your two cents in the comments section, or messaging me directly.