A question that often pops up when I’m chatting to people about cuddle therapy is “Are there more male or female clients?”
This is purely my experience and may be different for other professional cuddlers around the world.
On average I find 9 out of 10 of the people contacting me about cuddle therapy are men (although I have seen an increase of women getting in touch since lock down).
Out of these men
1 out of 10 are members of the emergency services.
1 out of 10 are health professionals.
2 out of 10 are in the teaching profession
(the above 3 are all highly stressful working environments).
50% are married.
So, let”s look at some statistics for men.
Just over 3 out of 4 suicides in the UK (78%) are men.
12.5% of men in the UK are experiencing one of the common mental health conditions.
191 000 men a year report work related stress, depression or anxiety as opposed to women at 261 000 who are more likely to acknowledge and report these.
73% of adults who go missing in the UK are men.
87% of rough sleepers in the UK are men.
Men are statistically more likely to become alcohol dependent and use illegal drugs.
Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community than women.
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women or admit to having mental health difficulties so this directly affects figures on men accessing professional support.
Right from childhood the male of our species are sent messages both verbal
“Boys/real men don’t cry.”
“Don’t be a wuss/sissy/nancy boy/snowflake.”
and non-verbal –
hugged far less
the touch they receive is often far more boisterous and less tender than females and this directly impacts them for the rest of their lives.
We are all designed for connection – both men and women.
Of course, people seek out my touch and cuddle therapy for many reasons including consoling through grief, support through mental health challenges including PTSD, teaching about boundaries and consent or allowing them to experience the warmth of a hug or touch that they have been deprived of for so long.
Many men who seek out my services are simply looking for connection. A deeper connection than what they are afforded in their current relationships with family and friends. They are searching for that intimacy – not of the sexual kind but of being seen and heard. They are looking for a way to be held in all that they are. They are wanting to be held whilst being authentic to their own emotions without fear of judgement or criticism or unwanted advice, a way to get in touch with their own emotions.
To appease their feelings of disconnection.
It is not always an easy job to do although you may think that sharing a hug or holding a hand for an hour or two is a breeze…but it is a beautiful job. The trust it takes between both participants. The vulnerability that can be felt.
For all you parents out there – it is time to assign those above phrases so often said to children (and even adult men) to history.
For all of you men out there I want to tell you that you are worthy.
Worthy of accessing professional mental health support, of crying, of wanting to experience more tenderness and intimacy and to want to be held in a warm, maternal embrace (which, by the way, you can also get from a man).
Worthy of contentment, peace and joy.
Worthy of life.
You are worthy.
You are worthy.
You are worthy.