There is a part of the male identity that has been distorted and shamed, developing into a tangled mess within the self. Woven into the he hearts of men is the desire to connect with other men, but on a level that is often shamed and uncomfortable.
Intimacy among men has been judged and warped by the force of shame. Men “shouldn’t long to be held by another man, right?” And yet, I believe, to some degree, the homosexual community are profoundly stating the hole in male connection; the desire to express affectionate love to other men. Even in its development of becoming sexual, woven into the sexuality and behavior screams the need to be close and connected to men that is often unreached.
It truly is an unspoken epidemic, that men actually need other men in affectionate ways. Somehow as we develop in age such a need becomes covered, pushed down, annihilated, minimized or forgotten, but is always there, its presence lingering, calling out for male intimacy.
As children, sometimes these needs become shamed whether intentionally or not, explicitly or covertly and it can pierce into the soul, causing one to unconsciously suppress this need. Father’s, “good-enough” ones, will tenderly and affectionately love their boys, kissing, touching, cuddling, etc. It speaks to an innate need for masculine affection, from the beginning.
The masculine heart that experiences a malnourishment of masculine/fatherly/brotherly love will greatly impact their identity. Men will fail to see the inherent feminine side to them; tenderness, the need for closeness, vulnerability, and affection. And when this side experiences the crushing blow of shame, or it contaminates the need for male affection, we develop personas/guards against shame that has entangled itself around such needs.
In self-hatred towards a wounded masculinity that has been modeled, men will deny or never fully see the existence of their true masculinity, instead enhancing their femininity or creating an intense, uber-macho, hyper-masculinity, which truthfully hides a fragile, hurting heart.
Men that hide behind hyper-masculinity recoil at any sign of the feminine and any affection from men, often with vitriolic rage. Their recoiling signals strongly to the shame within and their own discomfort with the need for genuine male companionship and love.
For myself, I realize the significance and importance of this love in my own life. It can be at times a great discomfort and comfort. I hesitate with expressing affection, worried about another’s response, anticipating the potential for recoiling and rejection. Although the desire for expression is present and great, the action is filled with hesitance and discomfort.
I will end on this. A while ago, a client of mine, who is homosexual in his orientation, asked me to sit next to him and hold him. Without hesitation I honored his request, but it was a moment filled with great unease and judgment towards myself, consumed with insecurity while missing a beautiful experience of a man asking to be held by another man; a need deeply intrinsic in the heart of all men. It was a great challenge that enabled me to face my own insecurities, despite my hopeful dreams of this happening more among men. It was a sacred moment of healing for both of us.
I truly believe God is calling and bringing these sacred experiences in greater fullness and opportunity for men.