In an article on the Good Men Project, author Mark Greene writes about how robbing platonic touch to men does long lasting damage to them and society:
While 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.
As my career as a massage therapist has grown and developed, I realize more and more how important it is for people, but especially men, to be touched in ways that are non-aggressive and platonic. The desire to be touched is subverted into the fear of being called out as gay, as less-than manly, and that causes an increase in stress and stigma and erodes our physical and emotional well-being.