Creating A Middle Ground
Our culture has created a huge problem with man to man connection. There is a great fear of being judged when we are to open, transparent, or affectionate with other men. Out of fear of judgement we hide away and do not connect the way men should. Men often times isolate themselves and live lonely lives and often times men will find alternatives that do not produce a happy lifestyle.
From having interviewed hundreds of men that experience pronography or other addictions I have learned that most often they use these things to fill a void. Most men admit that the void is not filled but actually made worse by seeking alternatives. Most admit that the void they are trying to fill in their lives is connection with other men. Deeper more meaningful connections that exceed the pat on the back or hows the weather type connections.
Men are hungry for deeper connection. For connections that allow deeper more meaningful conversations. Where men can talk openly about things that men need to talk about and not be judged or belittled in any way. The solid truth of the matter is that most men whether they admit it or not are seeking closer physical connection with other men.
Closer physical contact does not mean sex in any way or form. Infact the majority of men I have interviewed agree that sex distorts the connection. It muddies the waters and takes away from lasting deep meaningful connections.
I have come to learn that when we feel connected to a person there is a huge potential of meaningful lasting connection if we do it right. By doing it right, I mean taking the time to create healthy connections.
Let me state here that there is no judgement on my part if you have chosen to have a sexual relationship with a man. I am speaking to men in this blog who do not desire a sexual relationship for whatever reason. Men that have made covenants with God, partner, family, or self to not go there.
My feelings and thoughts apply to men who do and don't experience Same Gender Attraction. Each man is on his own journey and my intent is to help men who have chosen not to have sexual relationships with other men for what ever the reason and help them to understand their own needs and the needs of men around them can be met in effective healthy ways that do not jeopardize existing relationships.
I have come to learn that there is not a "middle ground" in our Culture. It is either arms length or sex. That creates a huge problem for men that need and desire more then arms length, but do not want sex with another man.
Middle Ground is where two men can have connection without sex. Where they can freely express thier feelings for each other in ways that our culture does not allow or understand.
Just what does a "Middle Ground" look like. To me a middle ground is where two men can enjoy a deeper connections as friends and brothers. Healthy physical contact can be done. Healthy deep meaningful conversations can be done.
Physical and emotional contact is a huge need with a men. There are men in our culture that crave contact with other men. From a meaningful hug to even holding or cuddling to deeper more transparent connection. None of these needs are sexual. They can become that if that is the intent, but for most men that are seeking middle ground that is not the intent.
Connection is a core need. The core need looks different for every man. One man may not need touch and is satisfied with conversation and other ways of connection. Another man may need touch from hugs to holding. For each man this might be a core need, meaning that if the need is ignored and not addressed other ways are found to fill the need. For many men that is when addictions to pronograhpy or sex happens. Core needs are non negotiable, they have to be met. If they are not met in a healthy way other ways are found that are not healthy.
When it comes to touch our culture has sexified everything. When someone mentions touch between two men we automatically think sex. That is the problem we face. I firmly believe that Men can have physical touch without sex. Until we learn this I am afraid there will be a lot of confusion and mistakes made as men try to navigate taking care of core needs.
We as a culture have to get over the fact that if two men are affectionate they are having sex. We need to encourage more meaningful transparent connections between each other.
Middle Ground can be a safe place. Middle ground can be achieved and in the process keep men safe and content with what ever experence they are having. We cannot ignore the fact that there are many many men who are seeking more than we are allowing them to have. Men of intregrity that honor covenants made with God, family , partner, and self. We need to understand that ignoring the core needs of a" middle ground" only brings greater frustration and problems.
So, how does one create a middle ground? How does one create a safe place to have core needs met? It takes work and caution. It takes men being open and trusting with others. Trusting enough to express needs and desires. It takes understanding that a lot of this process needs to be done in a safe place where there are boundaries and guidelines set up to protect the intregrity of the connections.
There are many places where this can be learned in our culture. One place is Kneading Brotherhood retreats. On these retreats the main focus is helping men understand the vital roll they each can play in another mans journey and the importance of creating middle ground in thier own personal journey.
Journey into Manhood is another great place for men to learn how to connect and understand the journey better.
Lets not give up the battle to create "Middle Ground". We see desperate men seeking connection being lead by the world telling them that it is impossible to have what they need without sex. I believe that a loving God would not just place us here without a way to move forward and keep the covenants we have made in our personal lives. It does take work, but when we can really find the "Middle Ground" the journey becomes sweeter and we find the joy and peace we are looking for.
Blessings to you as you navigate life and discover for yourself your own personal "Middle Ground", what ever that looks like for you.