Masculinity And Relationships

1268 Words 6 Pages
The sharing of affection has long been acknowledged as a fundamental human need. For our entire lives, we display affection toward each other to build closeness, strengthen bonds, and create intimacy (Morman & Floyd, 1998). These displays of affection are important at building familial bonds and feelings of friendship with others. Simple displays of touching, hugging, and kissing are the way that people build relationships of meaning with one another. Although for males living in Anglo-American societies, such as the United States, in the Twentieth century, displaying affection for other male friends became a prohibited action, laced with homosexual undertones and insinuations, which could threaten their status in the male-dominated patriarchy. …show more content…
Touching, hugging, kissing, even sleeping together in the same bed were all commonplace activities for platonic male friends to show affection for each other (Morman & Floyd, 1998). In the post-Freud world of today, these activities would certainly see seen as effeminate and homosexual. However, absent these societal pressures men easily expressed their affection for one another.
The social code of the time permitted men to embrace publically. Holding hands as two men strolled down the street was acceptable behavior that would not violate any social norms. Even writing love letters to male friends, which in today’s society would easily be mistaken as a homosexual act, was perfectly acceptable and completely platonic. Examples from this from the time are plentiful, including a collection of letters between Abraham Lincoln and his friend Joshua Speed (Vidal, 2005).
However, societal attitudes and values can change. Following the sexual repression of the Victorian era and renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud’s publication in 1905 of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, displaying behaviors that could be interpreted as homosexual became frowned upon. As the Twentieth century unfolded, male platonic affection became virtually nonexistent and sexist ideas that men were unable to display affection in the same manner as women became prevalent and
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In a 2012 study, Anderson, Adam, & Rivers found that the stigma normally associated with kissing between two heterosexual men is fading, especially among those under the age of 26. Their study, conducted at Universities in Britain, found that it was becoming more common for men to show affection with each other, both within an athletic setting and without. Echoing the behaviors common in the Ninetieth century, these heterosexual men share their affection with each other in a platonic but very open manner. Touching, hugging, and even kissing were reported to be a common occurrence and devoid of the stigma of homosexuality. Indeed, most of the men survey reported an absence of a homosexual stigma, some even acknowledging that they have shown platonic affection toward men they knew to be gay without concern for it reflecting upon

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