In the last few days, the United States Congress passed laws making it a criminal offense for a website to promote prostitution and sex-trafficking. And, while opinions differ on the subject of prostitution, NO ONE is supportive of the horrific victimization that occurs with sex-trafficking.
But, with the passage of this legislation, known as FOSTA and SESTA, one thing that is becoming crystal clear is — our culture does not believe that human beings can engage in consensual physical affection without the physical affection becoming sexual. And, when you think about this sad fact, you realize how much control our society deems is necessary to exert over something as simple as a snuggle between two consenting adults.
Take for example, Craigslist, who recently refused my advertisement in the “Small Business Services” ads section. The title of my ad read: “Snuggle Salon — Snuggle Services ( Strictly NON-SEXUAL )”. And, in big block letters at the top of the ad “********************* THIS SERVICE IS STRICTLY NON-SEXUAL *********************”. Craigslist responded with: “This posting has been removed. Please do not use Craigslist for this sort of posting.”
While, within the current legislative environment, it is somewhat understandable that Craigslist doesn’t want to take a risk — what is telling about Craigslist’s risk aversion is that Craigslist, and probably most Americans, cannot conceive of the following possibilities:
1. that adults who engage in consensual physical affection can choose not to become sexual
2. that only physical affection that includes sex could be gratifying enough for monetary exchange.
These cultural beliefs are shockingly self-limiting, self-defeating, dehumanizing, and demoralizing. As a culture, I would argue, that unfortunately — this is where our beliefs stand. And, it is why Mark Greene, senior editor of the Good Men Project, believes the lack of gentle platonic touch in men’s lives is a killer and that men are suffering from something he calls “touch isolation”. See Mr. Greene’s article here.
Snuggle Salon’s mission is to change these beliefs. These beliefs have no place in a modern society. We need to confront these beliefs and prove to ourselves and our culture that we are adults and we can exhibit self-control. We can control ourselves both physically and emotionally. We are not children and we don’t have to play victims. We need to model this for our children. We can have healthy boundaries and thereby we can have more freedom to express ourselves as physically affectionate adults who have more operational modes than simply sexual / not sexual. We also need to accept that physical affection for human beings is natural and necessary and adults need it just as much as babies do.