“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth."
How much hugs and touch have you got today?
Touch from my male friends has been extremely important in my walk within the church. I had a Christian friend who was straight, who I was attracted to, that I really wanted to experience touch from. I couldn't understand for the longest time why I wanted that, especially from him. As I studied the topic of touch, I realized how much of it I lacked in my life. I just wanted to hug someone for a long time or sit by them on the couch and lean my head on their shoulder. It is so simple for heterosexual couples to give and receive this type of touch even before they are married, but for us attracted to the same sex, we have this feeling we are isolated and alone and no one wants to touch us. We know the "Gay World" is offering it, but we don't want it from them, we want it from the Church, from our friends. When my friend who I was attracted to gave me touch (he knew I was attracted to him), I felt completely loved and accepted by him. He wasn't afraid of me, and he offered trust to me, he offered his body to me, sort of how Christ offers his body to the Church. He actually wanted me to take the initiative and hug him. He wanted me to give touch to affirm him that he was important to me, he told me he needed that from me. And so, I started offering that brotherly touch, and I learned to ask my guy friends for that too.
Here are 2 articles I think do an amazing Job at describing how men need touch from each other.
“Many men who have high same-sex needs eventually decide: “Being in the gay lifestyle is better then being in the church, Because in the gay life, you go into a bar and everyone hugs and kisses you. You go to a church, you don't get hugged and kissed by anyone. Some of them, the more artistic, the more politically astute, or maybe the more sensitive ones will do it......Christians are talking heads or praying heads. They can't get down to where you really need to be. Your skin is your largest organ in your body and they are afraid of it. They are afraid to touch, they are afraid to love, they are afraid to sacrifice, afraid to get messy. “Oh my god, what do you mean its going to take 10 years for you to get better? I don't have time that kind of time.” So the gay life appears to be a whole lot more love, acceptance, and laughter."
The quote above is from a book called A Bigger World Yet, Faith, Brotherhood, & Same - Sex Needs - It's written by Tim Timmerman and the quote was from his book. I think this captures an amazing tension we feel regarding who and how we can receive touch. Something so simple we need seems extremely hard to receive from the Church, but we can work on it and change it for future Christians who need it.