Although this sounds like something crafted by Sam Allberry, it’s not. This program is designed by Lehigh University in Philadelphia and is the brainchild of a psychology professor named Dr. Christopher Liang. The school hosts ‘meet-ups’ every other week and engage in non-sexual, fully-clothed, all-male cuddling.
The group has 69 members and has had 46 events. The participants must be hygienically sound and non-nude. It is not uncommon, according for organizers, for men to become sexually aroused during the cuddling, but that if it happens, people are told to behave as though ‘everything is natural.’
Liang calls his experiment a “Men’s Therapeutic Cudddle Group,” and claims that it helps men de-stress.
Liang told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “The cuddling started with men pairing up to do ‘the motorcycle hold,’ in which one man sits with his back against another man’s chest as if they were riding together on a motorcycle. Some massaged their partner’s shoulders or hands, while others stroked the other person’s beard. Many closed their eyes as the room fell into silence. After 15 minutes, they switched to a new partner.”
They added, “For the second half of the session, the men cuddled as one large group in what they call a “puppy pile.” Men lay with their heads in each other’s laps, chatted, and joked.”
This is a growing part of a movement establishing “male support groups.”
The Examiner concluded, “At the cuddling group demonstration, Ryan Hancock absentmindedly touched TJ McDonnell’s ear. Later, McDonnell squeezed in between Turner and Eitzenberger lying on the floor, calling himself “the cream in the cookie.”
This is exactly the type of behavior promoted by The Gospel Coalition’s Sam Allberry and his Living Out website.
The article (written by Allberry associate, Sean Doherty) reads:
“holding back from sexual intimacy doesn’t spell an end to physical intimacy, not for a moment. . . . there are wonderful ways to be physically close to other people without being sexually close to them. We hug and kiss our friends and relatives in non-sexual ways. We hold hands with children. Some people (especially guys?) love to play fight (my sons love to do this with me – personally, I would prefer to cuddle them, but I have to play fight with them, because it is a way they give and receive physical affection!). None of these things necessarily have anything to do with sex, but they have much to do with physical affection and intimacy – as St Paul puts it, greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12). . . . Of course, it may take time and a bit of trial and error for a couple to redefine the boundaries and work out how they can best remain physically close to one another, without crossing the line again into sexual intimacy. But I believe this is worth working at, in order both to honour God by not crossing that line, and to honour him by sharing healthy physical affection with the people he has given you to and to you
To which, all God’s people said…gross.
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