Back in May, Active Gay Mormon blogged about Meeting My Same-gender Intimacy Needs. I wrote the following to him, but it was too lengthy to fit as a reply, so I've posted it here.
"Hey, this is a great post. Here's my take (in red) on each of your items;
(1) Playing sports with other men -- anyone up for baseball, football, basketball? I've only done this with other SSA guys and we were all pretty new to it, but I particularly enjoyed softball.
(2) Lifting weights with a buddy -- feeling support, feeling strong, feeling confident. Have done it as part of an exercise class. Didn't push any buttons for me.
(3) Going on a trip -- whether it is short day trip, a hike, or a 7 day cruise with three friend. Love these. They've been rare in recent years since my sons got their Eagle Scout awards.
(4) Getting together with the priesthood brothers to help someone move, (I think we all underestimate the power of service). Amen. Again I haven't done this in a few years since I was "promoted" into the HP group, but I agree it's a great way to feel connected and that you're making a difference for someone.
(5) Talking it up with a friend while taking a shower together in the public shower room at the gym after working-out (non-sexual nudity doesn't have to be a bad thing). Believe it or not I've done this literally hundreds of times over the past decade. Here's the math: At just two workouts a week, 48 weeks a year, over a decade, that's at least 960 times that I've changed into athletic attire, worked out, showered (usually with a buddy or someone I've gotten to know) and the dressed and returned my non-training life. The first time wasn't easy, but within a week or so, my anxiety gave way to appreciation.
(6) Going out and enjoying a nice dinner (But what is better than the midnight dinner and chat at Village Inn or your faviorite local dive) Haven't done this is years, but have good memories of doing such things as a younger man, particularly in college.
(7) Going camping -- I look forward to the father and sons outing every year. Enjoy this while your sons are young, believe me the years fly by.
(8) Hugging and other gestures of physical affection -- what can I say it feels great. I would love to hear more about this. None of my straight friends are much into hugging. I'd love it (to give and receive), but I don't know how to initiate it. Any suggestions?
(9) Shaving -- shaving with a friend at the same time at the gym, getting ready to start my work day. Have done this a few times, usually on the lunch hour with a buddy when we both got too busy to shave before work. Agreed this is a nice male bonding activity.
(10) Massage - what a great way to bond through non-verbal communication, non-sexual touching has tremedous healing power. I agree massage is great--that's why I have no regrets about the bucks I've spent with licensed massage therapists over the years. I'd like to ask my friends to do this, but again haven't figured out the approach. How do you approach it?
(11) Priesthood Meeting -- Going to Stake Priesthood Meeting or General Priesthood Meeting with your priesthood brothers (its even more intimate, when a friend sitting next to you, puts his arm around you, or rubs your back while listening to the speakers) I'd love that, but I'm usually sandwiched in between my sons and that has it's own warm and fuzzy aspect. But again my question is, how do you make this happen, or is it just a spontaneous gift?
(12) Watching Sports -- I love when my Bishop invites me over to watch sports with him and his sons! It doesn't getter better than that. I'm better at watching and understanding sports than I used to be, but I'd be there for the male bonding, not really because I'm a big sports fan.
(13) House projects -- whether its your house or a friends, getting those power tools in your hands destroying and building is great. Another amen on that one. I loved it when my sons and their uncles and I all chipped in on a home improvement project for an extended family member a few years ago.
(14) Serving in the church -- I look forward to meeting with the Bishopric each Sunday to discuss the needs of the ward to minister together and administer. I used to be a clerk and I really miss that weekly contact with the Bishopric and the other clerks. Again savor it while you've got it.
(15) Spending time with family -- I love it when my brothers and I get together and do guy things. Being without brothers, I've had to adopt a few. Participating in activities together with them, especially in the great outdoors, is one of the greatest things I can think of.