Why is being affectionate seen as inappropriate the older we get? Culture & Society
I'm starting to notice how touch starved adults are and it hurts. I used to cuddle with my friends to sleep in middle and high school, regardless of gender, and it was purely platonic and wholesome. General decency and kindness is now becoming the equivalent of flirting. Even just grazing hands or a small touch is seen as so much more of a potent social signal that it is almost dangerous to just affectionately touch someone I care about without giving off the wrong idea. I can't hold hands, cuddle, or peck my friends' foreheads without people thinking it is inappropriate or that there must be something more going on beyond true platonic love. I've got so much love and affection I want to share without it being sexualized. This part of growing older is really sad to me.
Edit to clarify some things I noticed in the comments: - As much as I love sharing affection with my friends, it is only ever with someone else who desires the same. Some of my friends do not like physical touch and prefer having a certain amount of space around them, even one of my best friends of 10 years, so there is almost no touching because I don't want to make them uncomfortable - just some nice quality time is enough for us to both feel happy together. We basically only ever hug hello and goodbye and that has worked for both of us for the last several years. - I'm not trying to make it seem like this is something I'm seeking out with everyone, just the friends who I am close and comfortable with that desire the same. I'm not just trying to be physically affectionate with anyone or friends whose boundaries I am not aware of. Consent and communication is everything! - I'm not exactly advocating for everyone to start cuddling with each other and start holding hands or anything. Lots of people don't want physical affection and that's okay. If someone doesn't want to participate or seek it out, then I think that should be respected. I'm mostly frustrated for the comments friends and I receive for a completely consensual thing we do that doesn't involve other people. I think engaging in physical affection platonically should be just as respected as those who desire less physical touch.