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Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch

Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.

Touch Isolation

By Mark Green

“Boys imitate what they see. If what they see is emotional distance, guardedness, and coldness between men they will grow up to imitate that behavior…What do boys learn when they do not see men with close friendships, where there are no visible models of intimacy in a man’s life beyond his spouse?” -Kindlon and Thompson, Raising Cain
(With thanks to BRETT & KATE MCKAY)

Recently I wrote an article titled The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer in which I asked people to consider the following:

American men, in an attempt to avoid any possible hint of committing unwanted sexual touch, are foregoing gentle platonic touch in their lives. I’ll call it touch isolation. Homophobic social stigmas, the  long-standing challenges of rampant sexual abuse, and a society steeped in a generations old puritanical mistrust of physical pleasure have created an isolating trap in which American men can go for days or weeks at a time without touching another human being. The implications of touch isolation for men’s health and happiness are huge.

Gentle platonic touch is central to the early development of infants. It continues to play an important role throughout men and women’s lives in terms of our development, health and emotional well being, right into old age. When I talk about gentle platonic touch, I’m not talking about a pat on the back, or a handshake, but instead contact that is lasting and meant to provide connection and comfort. Think, leaning on someone for a few minutes, holding hands, rubbing their back or sitting close together not out of necessity but out of choice.

Yet, culturally, gentle platonic touch is the one thing we suppress culturally in men and it starts when they are very young boys.

Touch Isolation2While babies and toddlers are held, cuddled, and encouraged to practice gentle touch during their first years of their lives, that contact often drops off for boys when they cease to be toddlers. Boys are encouraged to “shake it off” and “be tough” when they are hurt. Along with the introduction of this “get tough” narrative, boys find that their options for gentle platonic touch simply fade away. Mothers and fathers often back off from holding or cuddling their young boys. Boys who seek physical holding as comfort when hurt are stigmatized as cry babies.

By the time they are approaching puberty, many boys have learned to touch only in aggressive ways through rough housing or team sports. And if they do seek gentle touch in their lives, it is expected to take place in the exclusive and highly sexualized context of dating. This puts massive amounts of pressure on young girls; young girls who are unlikely to be able to shoulder such a burden. Because of the lack of alternative outlets for touch, the touch depravation faced by young boys who are unable to find a girlfriend is overwhelming. And what about boys who are gay? In a nutshell, we leave children in their early teens to undo a lifetime of touch aversion and physical isolation. The emotional impact of coming of age in our touch-averse, homophobic culture is terribly damaging. It’s no wonder our young people face a epidemic of sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy, rape, drug and alcohol abuse.

In America in particular, if a young man attempts gentle platonic contact with another young man, he faces a very real risk of homophobic backlash either by that person or by those who witness the contact. This is, in part, because we frame all contact by men as being intentionally sexual until proven otherwise. Couple this with the homophobia that runs rampant in our culture, and you get a recipe for increased touch isolation that damages the lives of the vast majority of men.

And if you think men have always been hands-off with each other, have a look at an amazing collection of historic photos compiled by Brett and Kate McKay for an article they titled: Bosom Buddies: A Photo History of Male Affection. It’s a remarkable look at male camaraderie as expressed though physical touch in photos dating back to the earliest days of photography.

The McKays note in their article the following observation:

But at the turn of the 20th century, … Thinking of men as either “homosexual” or “heterosexual” became common. And this new category of identity was at the same time pathologized — decried by psychiatrists as a mental illness, by ministers as a perversion, and by politicians as something to be legislated against. As this new conception of homosexuality as a stigmatized and onerous identifier took root in American culture, men began to be much more careful to not send messages to other men, and to women, that they were gay. And this is the reason why, it is theorized, men have become less comfortable with showing affection towards each other over the last century.

Spend some time looking at these remarkable images.  You’ll get a visceral sense of what has been lost to men.

These days, put ten people in the room when two men touch a moment too long, and someone will make a mean joke, express distaste, or even pick a fight. And its just as likely to be a woman as to be a man who enforces the homophobic/touch averse stigma. The enforcement of touch prohibition between men can be as subtle as a raised eyebrow or as punitive as a fist fight and you never know where it will come from or how quickly it will escalate.

And yet, we know that touch between men or women is proven to be a source of comfort, connection and self-esteem. But while women are allowed much more public contact, men are not. Because how we allow men to perform masculinity is actually very restrictive. Charlie Glickman writes quite eloquently about this in his article, Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box. Read it. It’s a real eye opener.

“As much as gay men have faced the brunt of homophobic violence, straight men have been banished to a desert of physical isolation by these same homophobic fanatics who police lesbians and gays in our society.”

Male touch isolation is one of many powerful reasons why I support gay marriage initiatives. The sooner being gay is completely normalized, the sooner homophobic prohibitions against touch will be taken off straight men. As much as gay men have faced the brunt of homophobic violence, straight men have been banished to a desert of physical isolation by these same homophobic fanatics who police lesbians and gays in our society. The result has been a generation of American men who do not hug each other, do not hold hands and can not sit close together without the homophobic litmus test kicking in.

The lack of touch in men’s lives results in a higher likelihood of depression, alcoholism, mental and physical illness. Put simply, touch isolation is making men’s lives less healthy and more lonely.

Recently, when visiting my 87 year-old father for a few days, I made a point to touch him more. To make contact. To express my affection, not just by flying a thousand miles for a visit but to touch the man once I got there. It may seem simple, but choosing to do so is not always a simple thing. It can raise a lifetime of internal voices, many of which speak of loss and missed opportunities. But I hugged him. I put my arm around him as we shared a cigar and cocktails. I touched him whenever I walked past his chair. Each evening, we would watch a movie. As part of that nightly ritual, I would sit in the floor, take off his shoes and socks and rub his bare feet for while. It is something I will remember when he is gone. Something I did right. Something that said to him, I love you. Spoken on the same deep touch levels by which he connected with me when I was a toddler sitting next to him, his strong arm around me as I watched the late show fifty years ago.

This touch thing is so crucial. I kiss and hug my son constantly. He sits with me and on me. I make a point of connecting with him physically whenever I greet him. The physical connection I have with him has been transformative in my life teaching me about my value as a human being and a father.

We need to empower men to touch. We need to fix our sexually repressed/obsessed American culture and put an end to distorted and hateful parts of our culture that allow homophobic people to police all men everywhere down to the very tips of our fingertips.

It’s too late in my life for the impact of these stigmas to be fully undone, but I have great hope for my son. When we collectively normalize gay life and relationships, my son, whatever his sexual orientation turns out to be, will be free to express platonic affection for others, be they men or women, in any way he sees fit. The rabid homophobes who have preached hate in America for far too long will finally be silenced, and men will be free to reach out and touch each other without fear of being labeled as somehow less of a man.

It’s a dream for a better America I can already see coming true.

Complete Article HERE!

To Be Or Not To Be (Nude)

Name: Denise
Gender: Female
Age: 35
Location: Colorado
My husband and I have two beautiful sons, 11 and 13. We are a naturist family. Our children have grown up in this way of life and they have a healthy appreciation for the human body and are comfortable with nudity. Recently, both our sons said they did not want to join my husband and I at our yearly naturist retreat. We are honoring their wishes, but we are disappointed by their decision. Any thoughts on were we might have gone wrong?

Let’s give our readership a little background first, shall we Denise? For the uninformed, nudists or naturists practice social nudity. While nudity is an obvious aspect of nudism, it is just part of a much larger lifestyle and life philosophy.

The nudist/naturist lifestyle promotes a wholesome appreciation of the human body, mind, and spirit. They believe that this wholesomeness comes easiest to those who shed the psychological and social encumbrance of clothing.Naturist_Freedom

Naturists also promote health through complete contact of the whole body with the natural elements. Nudism is practiced, as much as possible, in environments free of the pollution and the stress of modern living. It also involves a holistic approach to nutrition, physical activity, mental health, and social interaction.

As Denise suggests, nudism fosters family participation. Children in naturist families learn to appreciate the human body as part of their natural environment. They often grow up with healthier attitudes toward the physical body and do so with much less fear or shame their non-naturist peers.

Now on to your concern, Denise. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. On the contrary, I think you are navigating this seeming change of heart by your kids very well. You’ve decided, and rightly so, to honor their wishes to not participate in the whole naturists thing for the time being.

Naturists 1 boys are going through puberty and that alone is enough to set their whole world on its head. They may also be facing intense peer pressure from their non-naturist mates. Societal pressures to fit in and conform, even to unhealthy cultural dictates about “proper” behavior and injurious hyper body consciousness is particularly demanding during the early teenage years. Somehow the desire to be popular distorts a kid’s perception and can screw up his/her self-esteem.

Ideally, your son’s nudist upbringing would give them the ability to look past these superficial elements, and maybe they will in time. Right now, they need to feel they have more of a control over some of the externals of their life. And it is easy enough for you and your husband to grant them this. I would hasten to add that you and the hubby ought not sink to the lowest common denominator. I encourage you to continue to live your life as before. Your kids need to know that if they want their wishes respected, they’ll need to respect yours.

With a little luck, the body acceptance, self-respect and confidence you’ve instilled in your sons will once again kick in once their hormones simmer down. Just know that the anxiety you and your husband are experiencing is simply part and parcel of being parents to teens…nudist or non.

Good luck

We’ve Only Just Begun…

Name: Donna
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Location: Salt Lake City.
I’m turning to you for help, because I don’t have anyone else to ask. My boyfriend, who is 19, and I are very much in love. We plan to marry next year. But we both want to start having sex now. We are both virgins and we think we need help overcoming the natural obstacles, if you know what I mean.

Gee, I’m not sure I know what you mean by natural obstacles. Are you talking about physical things? Emotional things? Maybe you just need a little tutorial on how to get started. I’ll try to at least touch upon all these things, but first I want to thank you for entrusting me with your concerns. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t have others in your community to approach. I guess that says a lot about the family values and community standards where you live.

teen_sexuality.jpgI have lots to say about beginning a sexual life with another person. Curiously enough the information I am about to share is applicable to both women and men and it applies to any and all sexual orientations. That’s the beautiful part of human sexuality. There is so much common ground. In fact, there is way more that we have in common than what separates us.

Ok, so here goes. Be yourselves. Let your natural feeling of affection for one another lead you. Always use a condom (This applies to penis/vagina and/or anal sex.) Be gentle; be curious; seek your partner’s pleasure before your own; and most importantly, have a sense of humor about the whole damned thing.

Just about everyone who is sexually inexperienced will also lack sexual confidence. It can be nerve-wracking not being sure what to do to satisfy your partner. Sometimes this nervousness is contagious. Your anxiety can make your partner anxious. The surefire way to get around this is to not pretend you know what the fuck you’re doing, if ya don’t. The best way to find out what to do is to ask your partner what he/she likes and how she/he likes it. If they don’t know or can’t tell you, then you can find out together with some sex play. And I do mean play, not work.1sexual_response_cycle_male

This is where our natural sexual curiosity comes in. And we all have that to one degree or another. Sexual confidence comes from knowing. Curiosity will bring you knowledge.

There will be no room for curiosity if the only thing on your mind is the old in an out. That’s why I suggest you put off full-on fucking till you get the lay of the land, so to speak. Besides, there are lots and lots of ways to pleasure yourself and your partner that doesn’t involve intercourse.

Like I said, sexual confidence comes with understanding the mysteries of our sexual response cycle. Each one of us is different and the differences are most pronounced between the sexes. If you haven’t discovered at least the fundamentals of your own response cycle through masturbation; then you’re really not really ready to gift yourself to another person just yet.

female sexual response cycleYa see, the more you know about your body; how it works; where your pleasure centers are; the kind of stimulation you need and want to come to full arousal; the more information you’ll have to pass on to your partner. Even if your partner is more experienced than you, he/she will still need to get to know the intricacies of your individual response cycle.

Sexual confidence stems from being able to please your partner. When you know what you are doing you project an air of self-assurance. This is not the same thing as cockiness, mind you, although that might be a very fun attribute to have too.

The best lovers look to pleasure their partners before they expect to be pleasured. Delaying your own pleasure, particularly if you’re a guy, so that you can provide multiple orgasms to your partner will reap great pleasurable rewards for you when it’s your turn. Besides, giving pleasure is often as pleasurable as being pleasured.

Sexual confidence translates into sexual assertiveness. Each partner should take equal responsibility for initiating sex. Trust me, this is not merely a man’s role. And sexual assertiveness translates into sexual creativity. If you’re timid about trying new things, you’re gonna short-circuit a whole lot of pleasure.black teens

Learn to ask for what you want and how you want it. Communication is key to a healthy and vibrant sex life. Never underestimate the your partner’s ability to develop and grow sexually. Check in with your partner on a regular basis. Don’t assume you know what turns him/her on today, just because it turned her/his crank the other day.

Feelings of sexual inadequacy, discomfort with your body, anxiety about your skills will destroy your sex life. If you are plagued with any of these things get help with them before your bring them to a sexual partnership.

sexual confidenceSexual confidence comes down to knowing yourself and being able to communicate your likes and wants to your partner. If you’re simply gonna be passive about your pleasure, you’ll wind up getting only what is dished out to you. And for many women, that is woefully insufficient. Don’t expect your partner to know any more about pleasuring you than you do, even if she/he has had more partners then you.

Allow yourselves the time or space you need to feed your intimacy needs. If you expect to discover sexuality with your partner in the backseat of a car, you’re gonna cum up short. Passion and spontaneity is great, but what I’m talking about is different from that. Think of it as learning to walk before you run.

Being a terrific lover is dependent on know-how. Skill comes through practice. So practice, practice, practice! Keep it fun. When it stops being play and starts being work, put it aside for another day.

Good luck

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Ladies, get your balls on!

Hello sex fans,

It’s Product Review Friday! We welcome back the award-winning Fun Toys today. As you probably recall, their fabulous G-Vibe made our Best Adult Products List For 2013.

So let’s see what they have in store for us today. And for that we turn to Dr Dick Review Crew member, Christa for her review.

Fun Toys Geisha Balls —— $49.95

Christa
I was pretty sexually precocious as a teen. I had a crush on a girl at age 11. Started masturbating at 13. Had sex with a girl at 14. Had sex with a boy at 16. I liked it all. I guess all my early sexual experiences were so enjoyable because I always felt I was in charge of my body and my sexual expression. No one ever pressured me into anything, and, if the truth be told, I was often the one doing the pursuing and seducing. Not much has changed these many years later.

I learned about kegel exercises when I was a freshman in high school. I read about them in a woman’s magazine that my mother subscribed to. Since I had started masturbating a year earlier, I kinda understood the mechanics of it all. I set my mind to doing my kegels because, as the magazine article said, “they would increase the intensity of my orgasms.” Actually, I didn’t see how my orgasms could get any more intense than they were back then. There were times when I would nearly black out from the pleasure. I know, what a freak, right?geisha_balls_pix_7-1

Since then, I have been on a mission to turn people on to kegels. Take my butt-boy BF, Alex, for example. I was the first girlfriend to ever play with his prostate. Now it’s fuck me, fuck me, fuck me all the time. He is like this total ass whore. The funny thing is that, when this first began, he was all nervous, not that this ass play was gonna make him gay, but that he would get all stretched out down there and he would lose his shit…literally. But I told him to relax and introduced him to kegel exercises. Problem solved.

I got my first set of Ben Wa balls when I was in college. They were beautiful. They came in this really nice silk lined box with a dragon in it. I would insert them then go for a bike ride. Holy shit! Ya know I don’t even remember what became of that first set. I probably lent them to a friend and never got them back.

Nowadays, Ben Wa balls are all the rage because of those bullshit 50 Shades of Grey novels. And nowadays they come in a dazzling array of styles. This brings me to today’s review. Check out these Geisha Balls from Fun Toys. There are four balls in the set, not the usual two. The set includes the lightest and heaviest balls on the market. That’s cool because you can mix and match the balls you use at any one time. In fact, it allows for five-stages of training.

You can use the balls individually or as a pair. Heck, if you’re really adventurous, you can even use all four at once. I have, but then you would expect crazy shit like that from me, huh? And you can use them with or without the sling. These Geisha Balls are body safe, made of abs plastic and the sling is made of 100% soft medical silicone.

whats inside ballsSo if you are following what I’m saying, Geisha Balls assist in toning the muscles in your pelvic region, specifically your pubococcygeus muscle (or PC muscle). This is the muscle that is responsible for stopping the flow of pee. And just about every woman out there knows something about incontinence that comes from stress, or childbirth, or aging. But besides the utility, or training aspect, there is the pleasure aspect. And if you’ve never tried these things, you’re in for a surprise.

The Fun Toys people have thoughtfully included a very specific brochure in their package that spells out all the ways you can use the Geisha Balls. There’s no guesswork and even if you’ve never tried Ben Wa balls before, you won’t be intimidated when you get your set.

Geisha Balls come in a real nice gift box; perfect for gift giving to yourself or someone else. There’s even a sweet little drawstring storage pouch included in the box.

Here’s a tip; mothers, give a set of Geisha Balls to your teen daughters. That’s right, you heard me. Let’s cut the shit and stop pretending that teens aren’t interested in or experimenting with sex either by themselves or with a partner. There are plenty of girls out there who are as precocious as I was. There are even more who could use a helpful hand in trying to figure out the pleasure thing. And if you’re squeamish about promoting the pleasure aspect, focus on the therapeutic aspects. Either way, this is a gift that will keep on giving. And hey, it works the other way around too. Once I discovered how great the Geisha Balls are, I sanitized them by dropping the whole set, sling and all, into a pot of boiling water, dried them off, and passed the balls, sling, and gift box on to my mom. She was only slightly surprised; she’s learned that I can be pretty unpredictable when it comes to sex. I’ll have to replace my set soon.

And the Geisha Balls are so easy to use. I suggest a regiment of 15-30 minutes a day. And you don’t have to interrupt your day to train. Simply insert, and go about your business. You’ll be doing yourself a world of good and they’ll put a smile on your fact too.

You can kick up the action by trying to pull the balls out of vagina by the sling, while your muscles holds them inside. So simple!

And Alex wants me to remind you that Geisha Balls are not just for women and vaginas. They are great trainers for your butt too. And those of you with a prostate in your butt will discover some unique pleasure. I just want to add that you gotta to use the sling with the balls when using them anally.
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY!

Ready Or Not

Name: Allie
Gender: Female
Age: 18
I feel kinda silly asking a complete stranger this, but here goes. I’m a pretty normal 18year old female. I’m in my freshman year at a college in upstate New York. I’ve had a few boyfriends over the years, nothing really serious though. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of this one guy; he’s 20, a junior at my school. I really like him and we’re discussing taking our friendship to the next level. He’s not pressuring me for sex or anything, even though he’s more experienced than I am. In fact he wants me decide when the time is right. My question is how will I know when I’m ready for sex. Obviously, Jason will be my first. Thanks.

Thanks for entrusting me, a complete stranger, with this very intimate concern. I have a question for you, Allie, and I hope it doesn’t sound flippant. When do you know it’s time to eat, or sleep? I know lots of us eat even when we’re not hungry and don’t sleep even when we’re tired, but that aside, I suggest that the same body signals that alert you to hunger and exhaustion will let you know when it’s time for sex. You’ll want to have sex when you feel the desire to be sexual. I’m not trying to be evasive; I’m trying to get you to listen to your body, because that’s how you’ll know. To be perfectly frank, that’s how all of us know it’s time for sex. We get a hankerin’ for some pleasure and we pursue that until, hopefully, we’re satisfied.

teen sex anxietyYou’ll notice that I’m not specifically referencing fucking when I say you’ll know when it’s time for sex. Sex, at lest in my book, involves a whole lot more than the old in and out, don’t cha know. Take a look at the sexual enrichment tutorial I posted just last week. It’s titled: Beginning Sex Play — Tips and Techniques. http://www.drdicksexadvice.com/2014/02/26/sex-play-tips-and-techniques/

If I were to advise you further I’d want to know how much sex you’ve already had with Jason. Has there been any sex play at all? Probably some, huh? Otherwise how would you know you like him well enough to consider taking the play to the next level?

Penis/vagina intercourse, or as I like to call it “fucking” can bring more intimacy and more pleasure than some other sex play, but it’s not the be all and end all either. Fucking also carries a lot it more responsibility, particularly for fertile young puppies like you and Jason.intimacy021

You sound like an intelligent lass, at least you can write in complete sentences. Is it safe to assume that you are well versed in the complexities of the human reproductive system? I hope so. Not everyone is, of course, even some otherwise smart young people. If you’re not clear on the whole concept, there’s no time like the present to do a little boning up…so to speak. Being responsible with your sex is as important as being sexual. And being informed about health risks and contraception is the beginning of taking responsibility for your sexual activity.

Every sexually active young woman is subject to becoming pregnant every time she accepts a cock in her cooch. I’m not a woman, nor do I play one on the internets, but I’ve been around more than my share of the fairer sex, and I am certain that every woman who fucks for the first time will wonder if she is pregnant the next morning. I suppose the same is true for any sexually active woman of childbearing age, even those who are very knowledgeable about birth control and are prepared for sex when it presents itself. Seems to me that that kind of apprehension or concern could easily put a dent in pleasure.

makin' babiesRemember what I said a little earlier; that you’ll want to have sex when you feel the desire to be sexual? Well, if you take the time to prepare now, you won’t need to interrupt the sexually charged moment when your body tells you I want some of that hot monkey love. You should choose the birth control method that suits you best. You should have condoms and lube available. Don’t expect your beau to have his wits about him when his dick is hard. While Jason does sound like a swell guy, conscientious too, you’re the one who will get pregnant if ya’ll screw up. And I’ll bet ol’ Jason will be impressed with your forethought too. There’s nothing like gettin’ it on with a chick who knows the score, even if it is her first time.

Remember, even if you’re on the pill or have a diaphragm, condoms are a must. One of every ten sexually active teens carries one or more STDs or as we call them nowadays, SDI (sexually transmitted infections). You can consider dropping the condoms when you’re in an exclusive relationship.

Finally, you may be ready for sexual release — i.e. an orgasm, and I hope you’re already enjoying an abundance of those little buggers through jilling off — but that does not mean you are ready for, need, or even want full-on fucking. But when you do and you get that hankerin’, feed it. It will be as natural as falling off a log.

Good luck