What’s in a hug?

“To clasp (another person or thing) tightly” says an online dictionary. Trust a dictionary to be less than objective.

“A hug is a form of physical intimacy, not necessarily sexual, that usually involves closing or holding the arms around another person or group of persons. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing. There are different variations of hugs” – Trust Wikipedia to tell you anything.

What is in a hug though? Why do we find it in our human nature to want to be held or to embrace another person or thing? What gives us that warm fuzzy feeling in our stomach when we’re mid-hug. I like to think that the closeness we have within our family relationships and friends indicate whether we’re a “hugging” sort of person or not.  I vaguely recall in Psychology class that Freud believes the relationship/bond formed with our primary caregiver throughout our childhood acts as a template for our relationships later on in life. But as ever, a culminating factor of Culture must of course cause an effect on our behaviour.

It’s strange now more than ever that we have this controversy over the acceptance of hugging throughout westernised culture. I can admit to muttering bitterly under my breath “get a room” when I see a couple bordering on just a bit more than hugging in public. But then again I can also admit to getting embarassingly teary whenever I see a couple of family members reunite with a hug on the Jeremy Kyle show.

Apparently a school in Ohio launched a ban on hugging back in April of this year, of which the pupils protested, by hugging of course.

Several cultures showever, such as the Himba in Namibia would think of nothing worse than to embrace each other as a sign of affection or love. I know dogs aren’t exactly just a different culture (to say the least) but according to The Other End of the Leash, dogs tend to enjoy being hugged less than humans and other primates do, as canines interpret putting a limb over another animal as a sign of dominance.

Dominance could be one reason as to why we hug. The strength of how tight you hold that person, like with a handshake? Or possibly to finalise a conversation had, to mask the awkwardness of that coversation and put a facade on the situation so that everything seems ok if you sign it with a hug?

We could just merely want that human contact to feel wanted or to feel close, to just feel that warmth of another.

There are those hugs that you just bundle on top of each other after you’ve won a football game.

There are the hugs at the airport when you’re picking up that family member you don’t want to admit having missed.

Hugs of forgiveness with your best friend after a childish argument neither of you remember the subject of.

There are the hugs that linger just a moment longer, with that special someone who knows nothing of your love for them.

Screaming hugs with your friends when you’ve just caught a glimpse of “that band” walk past you and their other adorning fans.

Hugs when you haven’t seen your loved one since this morning.

And the best hugs are the ones you wanted, just ‘coz.

The next question to ask would be What’s in a Kiss…

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4 responses to “What’s in a hug?

  1. I was asking myself the same question, and wrote a post on that. Then decided to ask Mr. Google “What IS in a hug” and was directed here. Loved your post. Did you answer the next question? 😉

  2. Pingback: Skin Hunger: How important is the human touch? | theocdsquirrel·

  3. Pingback: I like kissing things ok? | theocdsquirrel·

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