A Pennsylvania university is promoting the concept of men cuddling as a way to help them deal with stress and "redefine masculinity."
Dr. Christopher Liang, a counseling psychology professor at Lehigh University’s College of Education, recently came out in support of a Philadelphia area “Men‘s Therapeutic Cuddle Group,” a function advertised by Lehigh University in a news release. The Meetup.com page for the group currently has 69 members and the group has held 46 events so far. The meetups are held once every other week.
Organizers have established quite an expansive set of guidelines for attendees. The men attending must be “hygienically sound” and “remain fully clothed at all times.” The group’s organizers state that all cuddling is “non-sexual.” However, they do note that participants may become aroused during cuddling and that if that occurs, it should be treated as a normal thing.
Liang believes that “these types of groups can be healthy and helpful for men and women,” according to the news release.
The professor suggested that groups like the “Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group” can help men who didn’t learn to deal with stress in healthy ways, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He also hopes that such groups will help men get past a singular, binding version of masculinity, according to the article.
He remarked that “if this is something that’s more comfortable for men...then it can do a whole lot of good.”
Dr. Liang was also recently on a board of the American Psychological Association (APA). He helped create the organization’s first set of guidelines for psychologists whose practices involve working with men and boys. In the news release accompanying the APA’s guidelines, the APA noted several trends among males in America, including the fact that men “commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and represent 77 percent of homicide victims.”
“Traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful," the APA's news release said while adding that "socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly."
Liang and Lehigh University did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.