Back in the old days of my undergraduate career, as some of you know, I was an active brother in Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed, dry, service fraternity, without a house (we drew in a pretty interesting crowd). It provided what was probably my, and many others’, first real sense of belonging. I was told, and shown, regularly, “We like you, we don’t care if you’re gay.” Partially this was through, affectionate, but decidedly unromantic touch.
My active status in APhiO didn’t even last for a full semester after I initiated, but I still count some of the people I met through it as very dear friends. And I often miss that contact, the touch that doesn’t demand or request, that isn’t sexual, the touch that simply offers affection. It’s a need that I’ve tried to fill through my love/sex life, but it’s not the same. It’s unfortunately rare in my life.